Florence: The Writer and the City [NOOK Book]

Overview

The third in the critically acclaimed Writer and the City Series - in which some of the world's finest novelists reveal the secrets of the cities they know best - Florence is a lively account of expatriate life in the 'city of the lily'.

Why has Florence always drawn so many English and American visitors? (At the turn of the century, the Anglo-American population numbered more than thirty thousand.) Why have men and women fleeing sex scandals ...
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Florence: The Writer and the City

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Overview

The third in the critically acclaimed Writer and the City Series - in which some of the world's finest novelists reveal the secrets of the cities they know best - Florence is a lively account of expatriate life in the 'city of the lily'.

Why has Florence always drawn so many English and American visitors? (At the turn of the century, the Anglo-American population numbered more than thirty thousand.) Why have men and women fleeing sex scandals traditionally settled here? What is it about Florence that has made it so fascinating - and so repellent - to artists and writers over the years?

Moving fleetly between present and past and exploring characters both real and fictional, Leavitt's narrative limns the history of the foreign colony from its origins in the middle of the nineteenth century until its demise under Mussolini, and considers the appeal of Florence to figures as diverse as Tchaikovsky, E.M. Forster, Ronald Firbank, and Mary McCarthy. Lesser-known episodes in Florentine history - the moving of Michelangelo's David, and the construction of temporary bridges by black American soldiers in the wake of the Second World War - are contrasted with images of Florence today (its vast pizza parlors and tourist culture). Leavitt also examines the city's portrayal in such novels and films as A Room with a View, The Portrait of a Lady and Tea with Mussolini.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596918436
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 12/1/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 898,218
  • File size: 540 KB

Meet the Author

David Leavitt's fiction has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Prize, the National Book Critics' Circle Award and the LA Times Fiction Prize, and shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Award. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Harper's and Vogue, among other publications. He lives in Gainesville, Florida, where he is Professor of English at the University of Florida and edits the literary magazine Subtropics.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2002

    Not Impressed

    As someone who has spent a lot of time in Florence, over the past 20 years, I am not impressed with this book. It doesn't say anything new. Other non-fiction books by other foreigners, writing about Florence, have covered most of the topics that Leavitt writes about. Much of his book is a re-hashing of literary criticism. He talks about the literary figures from other countries who spent time in Florence and he discusses how they felt & what they said about the city. This has been well-covered by other writers. It is nothing new. It strikes me that Leavitt doesn't even mention Florentines themselves, leaving me wondering if, as an ex-pat living in Florence, if he even knows any Florentines at all. Of course he must, but the total lack of a Florentine in his book strikes me as odd. Isn't that a large part of what readers enjoy, when reading about a foreign place? The sense that they're actually getting to know the locals through reading the book? Look how much readers enjoyed Peter Mayle's books on Provence. This was due, in large part, to the way the author introduced the reader to the local people. It brought a lot of flavor to the book. Leavitt's book lacks flavor in my opinion. For me, most of his discussions have a tired energy to them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2002

    jacket synopsis hyperbole

    As the previous reviewer, I, too spent years living in Italy and spent much time in Florence. I was so looking forward to reading it and reigniting the excitement of the city and its people seen through the eyes of an expatriot. This book didn't do it. However, "Paris to the Moon", by Adam Gopnik, was thoroughly enjoyable. More along the lines of my expectation of the "Delicate Case".

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