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An Innocent Sinner

Author: Laura Mancinelli
ISBN: 9788806213336
Original Region: Italy
Original Language: Italian
Publication Date: 2013
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A legend of double incest in the kingdom of Aquitania and the origins of Pope Gregory the
Great. The story of a child who grew up in sin and was forced to struggle to redeem and
discover himself.
Certain decisions can stain the destiny of the innocent. That’s what happened to the children
of the king of Aquitania: after the death of their parents, brother and sister grow up in an
ambiguous symbiosis that, with the onset of puberty, trasforms itself into incest. When the
princess discovers that she is pregnant, the guardian of the two young people decides to
separate them, conceal the pregnancy, and entrust the newborn infant to the river waters,
like Moses. Gregorius (for this is the child’s name) grows up entirely unaware of his past
with the family of the fisherman who saved him, until one day he discovers the truth and
decides to set out on a quest for his mother. But because his life is marked by sin, another
tragic error awaits him, a new incidence of incest, and a new penitence (seventeen years in
the forests, feeding himself on nothing but dew and berries), which will carry his legend all
the way to the Church in Rome.
In rewriting Hartmann von Aue’s Gregorius, Laura Mancinelli continues to tell us the stories
of the Middle Ages, with fine craftsmanship and a winning light touch. Stories of love affairs,
falls from grace, and redemptions: universal sentiments that cross the ages and captivate
modern readers.
Laura Mancinelli, professor of medieval German literature in the department of literature
at the University of Turin, has done important work as an essayist and translator of such
classics as the Nibelungen and Tristan. She is also a novelist, and we should mention several
of her books, also published by Einaudi: I dodici abati di Challant (1981), Il ‘Signor Zero’ e il
manoscritto medievale (2006), the series, now published in the Tascabili, Il Codice d’Amore
(2008) – which includes Biglietto d’amore, I colori del cuore, and Il ragazzo dagli occhi neri –
and Gli occhiali di Cavour (2009) and Due storie d’amore (2011).
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