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The Saint

by Antonio Fogazzaro

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1906. From the Introduction: Senator Fogazzaro, in The Saint, has confirmed the impression of his five-and-twenty years' career as a novelist, and, thanks to the extraordinary power and pertinence of this crowning work, he has suddenly become an international celebrity. The censors of the Index have assured the widest circulation of this book, by condemning it as heretical. In the few months since its publication, it has been read by hundreds of thousands of Italians; it has appeared in a French translation in the Revue des Deux Mondes and in German in Hochland. It has become the storm centre of religious and literary debate. Now it will be bought be a still wider circle, eager to see what the doctrines are, written by the leading Catholic layman in Italy, at which the Papal advisers have taken fight. Time was when it was the books of the avowed enemies of the Church-of some mocking Voltaire, some learned Renan, some impassioned Michelet-which they thrust on the Index; now they pillory the Catholic layman with the largest following in Italy, one who has never wavered in his devotion to the Church. Whatever the political result of their action may be, they have made the fortune of the book they hoped to suppress, and this is good, for The Saint is a real addition to literature.

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This was one reason why--when she was called to him, and entreated by her sister to show him much affection--she resolved, for once, to be unfaithful to Jeanne. Of what Jeanne had written to her under the seal of secrecy she had told Maria only as much as was absolutely necessary. Jeanne, still suffering both physically and mentally, had heard of the "Saint of Jenne," who was healing bodies and souls, and she besought Noemi to go to Jenne and see this Saint, and then to write to her about him. Now Noemi could not go to Jenne alone, she must ask Giovanni to accompany her. Her first confidence had stopped here. Now she broke all the seals of secrecy her friend had imposed, and spoke freely.



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