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What struck me most about DH Lawrence's travelogue through Italy? The seemingly casual interactions with fascism. The leisurely, unhurried pace (to avoid saying "slow") of life in these small towns which were once Etruscan strongholds. That nomadic spirit that allows two companions to travel across a foreign land, truly exploring, asking locals for services and obtaining it. The simpler times such images evoke now. But most certainly not the Etruscans themselves.
Indeed, just as history has provided us very little information about their civilization, in this text they stay distant, even as Lawrence praises their assumed virtues. The tombs become a cavalcade of itemized art descriptions, a succession of rising and descending. While Lawrence is willing to make much of what these people may have been, we still have no better understanding. Perhaps this is the purpose, though. The description of the art's simplicity and complexity makes me want to do nothing more than see it. The vision of the networks of tombs make me want to go there. I should be in Italy myself this coming spring... why shouldn't I try to make similar explorations? By piquing the interest, the reader wants to know more, which is always the first step. With more people searching, we can potentially learn more about these vanquished people. Lawrence suggests, through his discomfort of museums as well as his excitement over these off the beaten path sites, that we should do it firsthand.
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