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Edmondo De Amicis
Gabrielle D. Clements, Edmondo De Amicas, 1898, etching
Gabrielle D. Clements, Edmondo De Amicas, 1898, etching
Born (1846-10-21)21 October 1846
Oneglia, Piedmont-Sardinia1
Died 11 March 1908(1908-03-11) (aged 61)
Bordighera, Kingdom of Italy
Occupation novelist, journalist, short-story writer, poet
Genre children's literature

Edmondo De Amicis (Italian pronunciation: [edˈmondo de aˈmiːtʃis]; 21 October 1846 – 11 March 1908) was an Italian novelist, journalist, poet and short-story writer. His best-known book is Cuore, a children's novel translated into English as Heart.

Heart success

Heart was issued by Treves on 17 October 1886, the first day of school in Italy. Its success was immense: in a few months it was printed in 40 Italian editions and translated into dozens of languages. Its praise for the creation of the united Italian state in the previous decade contributed to its reception, but also led to criticism from some Roman Catholic politicians for failing to depict the nature of the Holy See's opposition to the annexation of Rome.

Initiated to the Scottish Rite Freemasonry, possibly in the regular Masonic Lodge Concordia in Montevideo, Uruguay, De Amicis held the public greeting speech in honor of the mason Giovanni Bovio during the first representation of his theatral drama titled San Paolo, interpreted by the Italian actor and mason Giovanni Emanuel. His book Cuore has been considered for decades an educative textbook largely read and studied in the Italian public schools. Some literary critics noted it substituted the traditional Roman Catholic doctrine with a lay civil religion where heroes took the place of Christian martyrs, the Statuto Albertino displaced the Gospels, the Church, its believers and the Ten Commandments were respectively deleted in favour of the State, the figure of the citizen and the protection of the Italian codes of laws. The Grand Orient of Italy recognized De Amicis as one of his most notable past members.

Legacy

Alberto Brambilla of Sorbonne University wrote that "historians of Italian literature consider him a “minor” author" but that the publication of Constantinople was evidence that he was "one best-known Italian authors abroad".

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