Venice, the city of the soul. In the two centuries since its political extinction, this shabby relic of a despised tyranny has become one of our greatest modern icons. As American consul Edmund Flagg wrote in 1853, in words that hold true today, "To one weary of the world...there is not a spot in all Italyin all the world perhapsas beautiful as Venice."
In Venice Rediscovered, historian John Pemble traces the development of our modern passion for the city of canals, charting its evolution from a forgotten oddity in the 18th century to a celebrated center for the arts, a city that saw its glory in the years before World War I as home for a great expatriate community and host to a golden age in literature. He begins his history in 1797, when Venice, still accessible only by sea, ceased to be a sovereign republic and saw its captains and the kings depart. A viaduct across the lagoon would not be opened until a half century later, and in 1857 a railway was completed to Milan. For the first time, Venice was within reach of the travelling public of Europe and the United States. By 1881, Henry James could write of tour guides "leading their helpless captives through churches and galleries in dense, irresponsible groups," but Pemble maintains that it was the development of the Lido beach resort that finally put Venice on the map for the chic international clientele. The combination of architectural wonder, literary associations, and seaside sophistication built a scene that led Ezra Pound to wryly remark in 1913 that Venice "seemed yesterday like one large Carlton Hotel."
Drawing on an international range of published and unpublished sources, Pemble links this transfiguration of Venice to the larger current of social and intellectual changes sweeping Europe and North America. Evoking the enduring appeal of Venice to novelists, historians, and other apostles of culturePound, James, Ruskin, Proust, Mann, and Nietzche among themPemble explains how their perceptions of the city gradually changed, and how they created the language and the imagery that shaped one of the most potent paradoxes of modern cultureVenice as a paragon of a timeless but fading elegance, constantly worshipped yet forever dying, sinking daily into the canals that define it.
Though the famed literary center has given way to museum tours and moonlit gondoliers, Venice remains a destination of distinction for travellers from around the world. A searching exploration of our eternal fascination with a city that continues to inspire artists, writers, and lovers alike, Venice Rediscovered is an important contribution to our understanding of modern culture and will captivate anyone who has ever visitedor dreamed of visitingVenice itself.
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.59(d)|
About the Author
About the Author:
John Pemble is a Reader in History at the University of Bristol. Educated at Cambridge, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Paris, he has travelled extensively. Pemble's last book, The Mediterranean Passion, won the Wolfson Literary Award for History.
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