In 2013, novelist Edgardo Franzosini published a harsh lampoon against cardinal and archbishop Federico Borromeo. He aimed at counteracting the myth built by Alessandro Manzoni in the XIXth century: after the Promessi sposi (1827), Borromeo embodies the perfect patron of the arts and prelate in Modern Italy. According to Franzosini, far from being forgiving and generous, the Milanese cardinal used a ghostwriter for his «own» books, priest Giuseppe Ripamonti, and put him in jail in order to reduce him to silence. This review focuses on the sources used by Edgardo Franzosini to base his accusation. My point is to show how the task of history is represented by a novelist at the present time. This neopositivist book makes we think about the current return of documentary history inspired by ninenteenth-century scholarship.
Keywords: Novel, history, truth, man of letters, Federico Borromeo, Alessandro Manzoni.