In 1864 he got a law degree in Turin. In Milan he followed the scapigliatura movement.
In 1869 he was back in Vicenza to work as lawyer, but he left this path very soon to write books full time.
In his works one finds a constant conflict between sense of duty and passions, faith and reason. In some cases this brings the tormented soul of characters into mystic experiences. Arguably his masterpiece was Piccolo Mondo Antico (variously titled in English translations as The Patriot or as Little World of the Past). This well written novel is set in his beloved Valsolda on Lake Lugano, Italy, in the 1850s. It has delightful evocations of the landscape, and strong characterizations which reveal the inner psychological conflicts of the characters.
Fogazzaro was a deeply religious man but supported reform in the Catholic Church and toured Italy proposing to reconcile Darwin's theory of evolution with Christianity. He found new interpretations in positivist and evolutionist theories, but because of this in 1905 the Roman Catholic Church banned the novels Il santo and Leila. He died six years later in his birthplace, Vicenza.
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