"I Promessi sposi" as a "hypotext": "continuations" in prose and adaptations for opera libretti

Project Details


This research project primarily focuses on those historical novels which are commonly defined as mere "continuations" of Manzoni's I Promessi sposi. Although these novels were influenced in a significantly more direct way than other texts of that same period, literary critics have so far insufficiently attended to this influence. Considering that they received unanimous critical acclaim upon publication, it is surprising at the very least that modern researchers have shown hardly any interest in the thematic and linguistic aspects of these texts. Usually, they only pay attention to minor references to these "continuations" found in literary encyclopaedia (only Giovanni Rosini's La Monaca di Monza has invited specific attention). The authors of Manzoni's "continuations" intended to highlight one or more specific episodes of the novel by creating a new narrative context around that same episode or by offering the reader a proleptic or an analeptic narration which provided them with supplementary information on Manzoni's novel. As in the case of I Promessi sposi, we are looking at historical novels: Giovanni Rosini's La Monaca di Monza (1829), Luigi Gualtieri's L'Innominato (1860) as well as Antonio Balbiani's I Figli di Renzo Tramaglino e di Lucia Mondella and Lasco il bandito della Valsassina (1870 and 1872-73). In spite of some evident paratextual indications, which clearly demonstrate the aspirations of the authors of the "continuations" to juxtapose their works to the hypotext, no study of these linguistic and thematic links between those novels has been published. By downplaying their literary aspects and classifying them as mere "continuations" of I Promessi sposi, one would, without a doubt, underestimate their intrinsic value.

The second part of this project studies both the formal and thematic aspects of the interpretations of I Promessi sposi for opera. In contrast to the historical novels mentioned above, almost all of these interpretations were written in verse. But their goals, too, differ: whereas the "continuations" in prose highlighted specific aspects of the plot, the opera libretti sought to present Manzoni's novel to a larger public by showing on stage a selection of central episodes.
Effective start/end date1/01/07 → 31/12/10


  • opera lirica
  • letteratura italiana
  • intertestualità
  • Ottocento
  • romanzo storico
  • italian literature
  • 19th century
  • intertextuality
  • historic novel
  • opera

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Languages and literary studies


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