2023 Italian Studies Library Group (ISLG) Annual Lecture | ICI London

18 May, 6.30pm | Italian Cultural Institute, London
2023 marks the 150th anniversary of Alessandro Manzoni’s death. With the occasion, the ISLG – Italian Studies Library Group – presents The Mario Casalini Lecture 2023:

Don Rodrigo in Purgatory. Gothic patterns in Alessandro Manzoni’s I promessi sposi. By Prof. Fabio Camilletti

A damsel in distress, a dissipated nobleman, and a bandit secluded in his gloomy castle; murders, nightmares, a cloister full of secrets, the shadow of the Devil… This could be a perfect abstract of Manzoni’s I promessi sposi, which appropriates and bends – to the limits of unrecognizable – some of the most stereotyped situations of the Gothic genre.

The Gothic genre is not only a repertoire of clichés. In the age of the Revolutions, the Gothic is perhaps the genre most effectively challenging secret facets of modernity, such as the problem of evil, deceiving nature of language, ghosts of history, limits of reason, and elusiveness of truth. In this light, I promessi sposi is arguably the most intimate Gothic novel of Italy’s literary history, distancing itself from the ‘hodgepodge of witches and spectres’ of coeval literature.

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