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The Marchesa Colombi (1840-1920) was born Maria Antonietta Torriani in the town of Novara. At thirty she moved to Milan and became a journalist, a novelist, a translator, and an active feminist who taught English in a Milanese liceo founded to offer women an alternative education. She produced popular works like In risaia and Prima morire but had been forgotten until A Small-Town Marriage was reprinted in Italy in 1973.