In addition to how easily Manzoni’s political motives can be discerned after the initial “Lightbulb Moment” of the reader, one can also see that social disorder is an important and all-too-familiar matter when it comes to the changes that Italy was undergoing during the times in which the novel was set, written, and even across the world today.

Throughout history and especially in I Promessi Sposi, political and moral allegiances changed with the tide, many people (especially the noblemen around Don Rodrigo’s table) running to support the newest and greatest leader – the one with the most money, the biggest army, the best manipulating power, and the most social connections. Is this really what comprises humanity – completely forgetting moral obligations, disrespecting people as esteemed as Padre Cristoforo, blaming others for times of hardship (famine, disease, etc.) and acting as though the “right” to stomp all over those of lower classes actually makes them lower people? The question here is, "Why?" Why is it that this vicious cycle never seems to end? We have seen this happening in our lifetimes as well as in literature and history books, yet attempts at different forms of equality (or at least stability) immediately blow away with any breeze of uncertainty for one’s own “top dog” status. Are Manzoni’s depictions, several Revolutions, and our own measures all for naught?

I Promessi Sposi was first published almost 200 years ago, and the uncanny prevalence of his main topics led me to pose a second question: with this recent realization (at least on my part), how can we accurately represent the passion, the sadness, and the struggles – the human element – of his novel with digital formats? These issues have been around for so long; is it enough to create timelines with pop-up blurbs explaining the story of Lucia and Renzo, or to assemble pictures, videos, and intricately manipulated word clouds depicting our impression of Manzoni’s words on today’s audience?

The societal woes that Manzoni illustrates are not new, and most likely will continue long past you or I have moved on to, let’s say, greener pastures. It is the duty of our generation to determine if the influence of literature can be transposed onto the digital age, or, like Manzoni’s portrayal of social confusion and inequality, if literature in its written form will continue on in the way that it has been. Let the pioneering commence!

 


Kevin
03/07/2013 9:45am

Certainly interesting about this "lightbulb moment" when comparing the historical symbolism and the societal issues that continue today. You pose the question as to why this vicious cycle for control of power must continue and I agree that we see this same process today. I wonder how many other relevant topics we can draw from I Promessi Sposi that would fit into our political, social, and cultural framework of today?

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