chapter
1 Pages

century-is thus,

Having posed these criticisms, Manzoni eagerly acknowledges their justice. Next he works toward successive and increasingly subtle restatements of each case, establishing by this means both that the readers whom he has mimicked have naive (and selfcontradictory) expectations and that the historical novel, by its nature, is a shifting field of unities and disunities, continually readjusting the balance between invention and fact. (Along the way he skillfully dismisses the argument that history is just as fictional as fiction itself.) In conclusion, as long as the genre of historical fiction remains a narrative form working with heterogeneous materials, it can satisfy neither the historical purist nor the adherent of formal unity. "The historical novel does not have a logical purpose of its own; it counterfeits two, as I have shown. " Thus, books such as Manzoni's The Betrothed are intrinsically unstable; the compound they presume to sustain can on no account last.