Antonio Fogazzaro (foh-gaht-TSAH-roh) was born of devout Catholic parents and grew up in a moral climate that influenced him to varying degrees throughout his life. He was first educated to the law at Turin and Milan; however, he made a poor clerk and later declared that he would have preferred death to the legal profession. Instead, he turned to literature. His poetic romance Miranda, published at his father’s expense in 1874, justly received little favorable notice, however, and Valsolda, a collection of lyrics, showed even less promise. Fogazzaro’s religious faith had earlier left him; now he saw his literary hopes dying. Then one November day in the Euganean hills his belief flooded back, giving him a new sense of confidence and of dedication./}
Shortly after, at thirty-nine, Fogazzaro published his first novel, Malombra, in which he sounded what became a major theme in all his work, the attempt of a man with a passionate nature to lead the religious life. The novel was well received, and from this time Fogazzaro’s career was determined.
Next came Daniele Cortis, which was even more enthusiastically reviewed. The story concerns two characters, Daniele and Elena, who are in love, though she is married to a worthless husband. Ultimately they mutually agree, on moral grounds, no longer to see each other or even to correspond. The renunciation, judging by Fogazzaro’s letters, parallels one in his own...
(The entire section is 552 words.)