Italian Hours (Penguin Classics)
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"The charm of certain vacant grassy spaces, in Italy, overfrowned by masses of brickwork that are honeycombed by the suns of centuries, is something that I hereby renounce once for all the attempt to express; but you may be sure that whenever I mention such a spot enchantment lurks in it." —Henry James
In these essays on travels in Italy written from 1872 to 1909, Henry James explores art and religion, political shifts and cultural revolutions, and the nature of travel itself. James's enthusiastic appreciation of the unparalleled aesthetic allure of Venice, the vitality of Rome, and the noisy, sensuous appeal of Naples is everywhere marked by pervasive regret for the disappearance of the past and by ambivalence concerning the transformation of nineteenth-century Europe. John Auchard's lively introduction and extensive notes illuminate the surprising differences between the historical, political, and artistic Italy of James's travels and the metaphoric Italy that became the setting of some of his best-known works of fiction. This edition includes an appendix of James's book reviews on Italian travel-writing.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
there grander, smoother walls of laurel and myrtle. The Doria, the Ludovisi, the Medici, the Albani, the Wolkonski, the Chigi, the Mellini, the Massimo, ... the Borghese. See the Introduction, page xvii, for the status of the first eight villas James names. The Villa Borghese has been preserved. It now belongs to the Comune of Rome and since 1902 has been known as the greatest Roman public park; the Casino Borghese houses the famous Galleria Borghese, closed for major restoration early in 1984
I am perhaps more struck now with the enormous amount of padding—the number of third-rate, fourth-rate things that weary the eye desirous to approach freshly the twenty and thirty best. In spite of the padding there are dozens of treasures that one passes regretfully; but the impression of the whole place is the great thing—the feeling that through these solemn vistas flows the source of an incalculable part of our present conception of Beauty. Villa Albani ... Winckelmann’s ... Antinous. Johann
opposition (see also page 99 and note); a significant group of legitimist exiles settled near him during his Venice exile. Eventually the house went to the heirs of his mother’s morganatic husband, Sicilian Count Enrico Lucchesi-Palli, who in September 1882 let fifteen rooms of the garden wing to Richard Wagner; Wagner died there on 13 February 1883. Writing in 1892, James makes no mention of this last fact. See Letters, n, 283, and Edel, Henry James: The Conquest of London, 404—7, for James’s
question. At the end of the nineteenth century, partly in emulation of the modernization—and imperialization by Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann—of aspects of Paris, many European cities began to lay thoroughfares through ancient quarters that were considered sacred, at least by many foreigners; Rome, and particularly Florence, was at the heart of the controversies that developed. See James’s earlier remarks (1873) on the new boulevards and new squares of Florence; page 240 and note. Corsini
still blue eyes, the Roman sky peering through lidless loopholes, and there is nothing but white dust in the road and solitude in the air, I might take myself for a wandering Tartar touching on the confines of the Celestial Empire. The wall of China must have very much such a gaunt robustness. The colour of the Roman ramparts is everywhere fine, and their rugged patchwork has been subdued by time and weather into a mellow harmony that the brush only asks to catch up. On the northern side of the