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The Heart Of A Boy
(Edmondo de Amicis)

EDMONDO DE AMICIS was born in 1846, at a time when Italy lay dismembered. A soldier by profession, he spent much of his youth fighting for a united Italy. He was a great admirer of the writer Alessandro Manzoni, who considered that Florentine should be the standard Italian language, he wrote only in Florentine Italian. With the huge success of Cuore he achieved his goal of having had ? through his novel?s central place on the school syllabus? a formative influence on the written language of modern Italy

Cuore was written following the Italian war for independence by a sub-leutenant who had fought in the seige of Rome in 1870, Cuore is the fictional diary of a boy's third year in a Turin municipal school. It was written to foster juvenile appreciation of the newfound Italian national unity, which the author had fought for in the recent war. The book is often highly emotional, even sentimental, but gives a vivid picture of urban Italian life at that time. The narrator Enrico, writes vividly of school life and the bustling city of vegetable-sellers, chimney sweeps, and carpenters all around him. A master, introducing a new pupil, tells the class, "Remember well what I am going to say. That this fact might come to pass--that a Calabrian boy might find himself at home in Turin, and that a boy of Turin might be in his own home in Calabria, our country has struggled for fifty years, and thirty thousand Italians have died." The author established a reputation as a writer in various genres after his experience as a soldier. Cuore was made official book to be included in Italian schools in 1886, and after having been translated into English in 1895 as Heart and then four years later as Enrico's Schooldays, the novel became internationally popular, and has been translated into over twenty-five languages. Cuore has been adapted into just about every conceivable medium - there are films, major TV series, radio adaptations, plays and comic books. From Henry Miller who wrote a glowing monograph on the book, to world-famous tenor. Andrea Bocelli, who wrote a song about it this simple tale of childhood has inspired all kinds of people and continues to do so today.
Few of these adaptations are as follows.

?A moving account of childhood.? ? Le Monde
?An Italian classic.? ? Book Report
?Oh, the power, the beauty, the fervour and the pathos of that book!?
? Charles Warren Stoddard
The essentially simple language of the child provides insights into family life and education in a provincial town. His journals are interspersed with letters from his parents encouraging him to be industrious, kind, honest, loyal and respectful. These exhortations are reinforced by stories about children whose selfless deeds demonstrate the patriotism, sense of duty and love of family to which the young Italian citizen should aspire. In my view this book really portrays the true picture of half of a century of Italians from 1850 to 1900.

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