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book, boys and story

CUORE, kfi-o're, *a book for boys,* by Edmondo de Amicis, which, as he says In the brief preface to the story, is dedicated to the boys between 9 and 13 years of age in the elementary schools, and might well be entitled: *Story of a school year written by a third grade pupil in an Italian elementary school," —meaning that the child noted the incidents and his father wrote the book, conforming, however, both in matter and manner, to the spirit of his little boy's version. The story which first ap peared in 1886 had an extraordinary success, 785 editions (of a thousand each) having ap peared up to 1917, a literary event hitherto un paralleled. in Italy. Moreover outside of Italy the success of the book was likewise very not able, no less than 22 translations of it appear ing in the various world languages. As the name Cuore (Heart) indicates, the mainspring of what is told of the daily events of school life or in the stories supplementing them has its origin in the noblest and finest of sentiments that spring spontaneously from the heart, re vealing that personality toward which sympathy is immediately attracted and which throughout life possesses a charm second to no other. The

difference between Mantegazza's book for boys, 'Testa' (Head) and of de Amicis, both of which aim to edify, is that in the former, which reminds the English reader of the *Rolla* books, the reader is conscious of the author's object, while in the latter he is not. Therein lies much of its success. In (Cuore the author extols love for one another, fraternity, equality and solidarity, all sterling democratic virtues, yet that in itself and for itself is not the pur pose of the book, as A. Maurizio and Italian Socialists of his class attempt unsuccessfully to prove, implying that 'Cuore' is a work defend in the privileges of the humble bourgeois class. 'Cuore' is the work of a sincere patriot uphold ing the traditional humanitarian virtues.