The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Italies of British Travellers : an Annotated Anthology

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Manfred Pfister
Rodopi, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 554 pages
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This is the first anthology of British travel writing on Italy which traces the development of the genre and the history of the British perception of Italy from the Renaissance to the present. As an anthologie raissonn eit presents the texts in thematic clusters and chronological order, providing commentary and annotations for each of them and their nearly hundred authors (some of them, like Smollett, Byron, Dickens or Huxley, well-known, others virtually unknown, amongst them many unduly neglected women writers). Further features are a substantial introduction to the travelogue and the writing of Italy, more than thirty illustrations visualizing the British experience of Italy, and an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources.

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Contents

To Go Abroad to See the World
3
Surveying the Anthology
15
Descriptive List of Illustrations
58
Multiple Civilizations
104
The Hazards of Travelling
118
The Perception of Otherness
142
as Cavaliere Servente
269
Domestic Economy
291
Lady Hamiltons Attitudes
383
Off the Beaten Tracks and the Mezzogiorno
395
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Page 71 - This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
Page 223 - On foreign mountains may the sun refine The grape's soft juice, and mellow it to wine, With citron groves adorn a distant soil, And the fat olive swell with floods of oil: We envy not the warmer clime, that lies In ten degrees of more indulgent skies, Nor at the coarseness of our heaven repine, Though o'er our heads the frozen Pleiads shine: Tis liberty that crowns Britannia's isle, And makes her barren rocks and her bleak mountains smile.
Page 290 - God ! that thou wert in thy nakedness Less lovely or more powerful, and couldst claim Thy right, and awe the robbers back, who press To shed thy blood, and drink the tears of thy distress...
Page 76 - When I was preparing to pass over into Sicily and Greece, the melancholy intelligence which I received of the civil commotions in England made me alter my purpose ; for I thought it base to be travelling for amusement abroad, while my fellow-citizens were fighting for liberty at home.
Page 75 - If some yet do not well understand what is an Englishman Italianated, I will plainly tell him. He that by living, and travelling in Italy, bringeth home into England out of Italy the religion, the learning, the policy, the experience, the manners of Italy. That is to say, for religion, Papistry or worse. For learning, less commonly than they carried out with them ; for policy, a factious heart, a discoursing head, a mind to meddle in all men's matters ; for experience, plenty of new mischiefs never...
Page 378 - ... ie a sort of religious opera) they make fire-works almost every week out of devotion ; the streets are often hung with arras, out of devotion , and (what is still more strange) the ladies invite gentlemen to their houses, and treat them with music and sweetmeats, out of devotion : in a word, were it not for this devotion of its inhabitants, Naples would have little else to recommend it beside the air and situation.
Page 373 - This Poem was chiefly written upon the mountainous ruins of the Baths of Caracalla, among the flowery glades, and thickets of odoriferous blossoming trees, which are extended in ever winding labyrinths upon its immense platforms and dizzy arches suspended in the air.
Page 8 - A man who has not been in Italy is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see. The grand object of travelling is to see the shores of the Mediterranean.
Page 378 - The fields in the northern side are divided by hedge-rows of myrtle. Several fountains and rivulets add to the beauty of this landscape, which is likewise set off by the variety of some barren spots and naked rocks.
Page 80 - After a sleepless night, I trod, with a lofty step, the ruins of the Forum ; each memorable spot where Romulus stood, or Tully spoke, or Caesar fell, was at once present to my eye ; and several days of intoxication were lost or enjoyed before I could descend to a cool and minute investigation.

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