1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Amicis, Edmondo de

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AMICIS, EDMONDO DE (1846-1908), Italian writer, was born at Oneglia, in Liguria, on the 21st of October 1846. After some schooling at Cuneo and Turin, he was sent to the Military School at Modena, from which he was appointed to a lieutenancy in the 3rd regiment of the line in 1865. He fought at the battle of Custozza in 1866. In 1867 he became director of the Italia Militare, Florence. In the following year he published his first book, La Vita Militare, which consisted of sketches of military life, and attained wide popularity. After the overthrow of the pope's temporal power in 1870, De Amicis retired from the army and devoted himself to literature, making his headquarters at Turin. Always a traveller by inclination, he found opportunity for this in his new leisure, and some of his most popular books have been the product of his wanderings. Several of these have been translated into English and the other principal languages of Europe. The most important of these are his descriptions of Spain (1873), Holland (1874), Constantinople (1877) and Morocco (1879). These gained him a well-deserved reputation as a brilliant depicter of scenery and the external aspects of life; solid information is not within their sphere; and much of their success is owing to the opportunities they afford for spirited illustration. Subsequently De Amicis greatly extended his fame as a writer of fiction, especially by Il Romanzo d' un Maestro, and the widely read Il Cuore (translated into English as An Italian Schoolboy's Journal); later volumes from his pen being La Carozza di tutti (centring round an electric tram), Memorie, Speranze e glorie, Ricordi d' infanzia è di scuola, L' Idioma gentile, and a volume of short stories, Nel Regno dell' Amore. He died suddenly of heart disease at Bordighera on the 12th of March 1908.