Alessandro Manzoni was born in Milan, the son of wealthy aristocratic parents who separated while he was still a child. His early years were spent in religious schools where he studied Catholic theology, philosophy, history, and the Latin and Italian classics. During the time of his formal education, which ended when he was sixteen, Manzoni also began to write poetry. After he left school, he lived with his father for several years in Milan, where his interest in literature, history and politics was stimulated by the vivid cultural life of the city. In 1805 he joined his mother in Paris. There he continued to write, composing poems that were influenced in form and diction by 18th century Neoclassicism. In Paris he also met artists and intellectuals who introduced him to the literary trends of the age, particularly Romanticism. Two years later, Manzoni returned to Italy, and in 1810 he experienced a strengthening and renewal of his Catholic faith that was to form the basis for his major literary works. He moved to an inherited estate in the countryside, and established the sedate and retiring lifestyle he maintained for the rest of his life. During the next fifteen years, he produced his principal works of poetry, drama, and criticism. In 1827 Manzoni published the first edition of his masterpiece "I promessi sposi" (The Betrothed). Popular and critical response in Italy was almost unanimously favorable, earning Manzoni a respected position in Italian letters and society. During the next few years, prompted by his concern that prose Italian should more closely reflect the language of the common people, Manzoni revised the novel according to the dialect of Tuscany, which he felt was nearer to an ideal Italian idiom. A second version of the novel was published in 1840, know with the name "Quarantana". Thereafter, Manzoni primarily wrote essays on various subjects, including linguistics, literature, and politics. His life of quiet study and contemplation was interrupted in 1860, when, as a result of his revered public status, he was made a member of the Senate of the Reign. Manzoni died in 1873.
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