Doctor Antonio: A Tale of Italy

 
9780956903808: Doctor Antonio: A Tale of Italy
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First published in 1855, this completely re-formatted edition of Doctor Antonio, published in the year of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, has over 75 original illustrations by a Ligurian based artist and an afterword introducing the Riviera of Giovanni Ruffini.

“I shall love you to my grave. But my country has claims on me prior to yours, [···] I must go and do my duty to my country!"

Stranded by a coach accident in a small Osteria on the Italian Riviera, Sir John Davenne and his beautiful, delicate daughter Lucy come to terms with this strange land, its people and their customs. Under the guidance of the mysterious Doctor Antonio they slowly grow to love the country and its people; even as it is being torn apart by the unification struggle. Reaching an explosive climax against the back drop of the uprisings of 1848, this tale of love and loss on the Riviera presents a rich tapestry of Ligurian life and English society in the mid nineteenth century.

Writing from exile in England, Ruffini combined a keen eye for the quirks and mores of the English aristocracy with an exile's longing for his homeland. Both are drawn with skill and affection and he adds contemporary commentary on the many injustices of the age. Today it gives us a window into the past and is a wonderful example of classic writing from the golden age of Victorian fiction.

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About the Author:

GIOVANNI DOMENICO RUFFINI, was born in 1807 in Genoa, and studied at Genoa University, were he graduated as an advocate (lawyer) in 1830. He was a keen supporter of the 'Young Italy' party which was campaigning for the unification of Italy. This brought him into conflict with the ruling powers and he moved to the south of France in 1833 and then on to Switzerland. During his time in exile, like many of his fellow 'Unificationists' he was sentenced to death in absentia. In 1836 he moved to England, and learnt English. His health suffered in the English climate and he moved to Paris. In 1848, the promulgation of the new Sardinian constitution allowed him to return to Italy. He was elected as a deputy to the Sub-Alpine Parliament, representing Taggia; a town near San Remo where some members of his family were landowners. He took a prominent part in the affairs of Sardinia, (then the ruler of Liguria), and in 1849 he received the appointment of Sardinian minister in Paris. He had only held this post for a few weeks, when the battle of Novara resulted in the abdication of his patron, King Charles-Albert, and Ruffini once more sought refuge in London. Here he started writing, and in 1852 Lorenzo Benoni was published, and in 1855, his most popular work, Doctor Antonio. was published. In 1875 he retired to Taggia, the district that he had described so glowingly in Doctor Antonio, where he spent the last few years of his life. Ruffini died in September 1881 and is buried, with his mother Elenora, and brother Agosto, in the Taggia cemetery.

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Giovanni Ruffini
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