Prague Pictures: Portraits of a City

Prague Pictures: Portraits of a City

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by John Banville
     
 

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From one of the foremost chroniclers of the modern European experience, a panoramic view of a city that has seduced and bewitched visitors for centuries.
The fourth book in Bloomsbury's Writer and the City series.
Prague is the magic capital of Europe. Since the days of Emperor Rudolf II, "devotee of the stars and cultivator of the spagyric art", whoSee more details below

Overview

From one of the foremost chroniclers of the modern European experience, a panoramic view of a city that has seduced and bewitched visitors for centuries.
The fourth book in Bloomsbury's Writer and the City series.
Prague is the magic capital of Europe. Since the days of Emperor Rudolf II, "devotee of the stars and cultivator of the spagyric art", who in the late 1500s summoned alchemists and magicians from all over the world to his castle on HradÁ¨any hill, it has been a place of mystery and intrigue. Wars, revolutions, floods, the imposition of Soviet communism, and even the depredations of the tourist boom after the Velvet Revolution of 1989 could not destroy the unique atmosphere of this beautiful, proud, and melancholy city on the Vltava. John Banville traces Prague's often tragic history and portrays the people who made it: the emperors and princes, geniuses and charlatans, heroes and scoundrels. He also paints a portrait of the Prague of today, reveling in its newfound freedoms, eager to join the European Community and at the same time suspicious of what many Praguers see as yet another totalitarian takeover. He writes of his first visit to the city, in the depths of the Cold War, and of subsequent trips there, of the people he met, the friends he made, the places he came to know.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Part of Bloomsbury's "The Writer and the City" series, which also features excellent volumes on Paris, Sydney, and Florence, this collection of personal recollections is richly laced with the history of Europe's most haunting, melancholy city. Novelist Banville (Shroud) began his relationship with Prague in a bright January winter during the last years of the Cold War, when he agreed to help smuggle works of art out of Czechoslovakia. Banville's Prague includes his friends, many of whom found themselves at odds with the Communists and suffered for it, as well as larger-than-life historical figures such as astronomers Tycho Brahe and his sometime colleague Johannes Kepler. Banville presents a Prague of secrets and suspicion, an intellectual and artistic capital with a long history of political turmoil. Gracing the cover-and as haunting as the city itself-are two evocative photographs of Prague by Josef Sudek (whose works Banville smuggled to the West); more images like this would have been welcome. Nevertheless, this book is highly recommended for all travel and writing collections.-Linda M. Kaufmann, Massachusetts Coll. of Liberal Arts Lib., North Adams Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596917132
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
12/10/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
596,414
File size:
19 MB
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