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Satyr Square: A Year, a Life in Rome by…
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Satyr Square: A Year, a Life in Rome

by Leonard Barkan

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"Poets' voices. I had come to feel, were too easy to hear, which, oddly enough, meant that their voices were being drowned out by too many professors -- my colleagues -- speaking on their behalf. I came to Rome to hear voices hoarse from much longer silence, the voices of material objects, statues of marble and bronze that had lived the public and private life of ancient Rome," (pp 35-36)

This is a memoir of voices, both that of the author and that of the antiquities and that of the Renaissance as well as writers and poets, like Shakespeare. All the voices come together to form the story of a year spent in Rome. But there are also the tastes, for this is as much a culinary journey as an aesthetic travelogue. The combination may prove too much for some readers, but I was at home with the lonely man, Leonard Barkan, at the center and his voices and tastes and experiences were seldom less than interesting. His passions suggested new ideas and thinkers to me and presented his take on those with whom I was already acquainted. All of this within a travelogue with fragments of Italy presented -- fragments and images of places that I enjoyed having shared the author's erudite and humorous views from his year in Rome. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jan 31, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374254052, Hardcover)

The bewitching story of Rome teaching a lonely scholar how to discover himself
 
Satyr Square—part memoir, part literary criticism, part culinary and aesthetic travelogue—is a poignant, hilarious narrative about an American professor spending a magical year in Rome. A scarred veteran of academic culture wars, Leonard Barkan is at first hungry, lonely, and uncertain of his intellectual mission. But soon he is appointed unofficial mascot of an eccentric community of gastronomes, becomes virtually bilingual, and falls in love. As the year progresses, he finds his voice as a writer, loses his lover, and returns definitively to America. His book is the celebration of a life lived in the uncanny spaces where art and real people intersect.

Satyr Square is not just about the Renaissance and ancient statuary, or Shakespeare and Mozart, Charles Bukowski and Paul de Man, eggplant antipasto and Brunello di Montalcino, foot fetishism and sulfur baths. At the heart of the narrative—its surface all irony, humor, and indirection—is a man of genuine ardor, struggling with what it means to be a homosexual and a Jew, trying to rediscover or reinvent his own intellectual passions. Funny, erudite, and lusciously rendered, Satyr Square gives us the whole of a life made up from fragments of Italy, art, food, and longing.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:51 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Satyr Square - part memoir, part literary criticism, part culinary and aesthetic travelogue - is a poignant, hilarious narrative about an American professor spending a magical year in Rome. A scarred veteran of academic culture wars, Leonard Barkan is at first hungry, lonely, and uncertain of his intellectual mission. But soon he is appointed unofficial mascot of an eccentric community of gastronomes, becomes virtually bilingual, and falls in love. As the year progresses, he finds his voice as a writer, loses his lover, and returns definitively to America. His book is the celebration of a life lived in the uncanny spaces where art and real people intersect." "Satyr Square is not just about the Renaissance and ancient statuary, or Shakespeare and Mozart, Charles Bukowski and Paul de Man, egg-plant antipasto and Brunello di Montalcino, foot fetishism and sulfur baths. At the heart of the narrative - its surface all irony, humor, and indirection - is a man of genuine ardor, struggling with what it means to be a homosexual and a Jew, trying to rediscover or reinvent his own intellectual passions. Funny, erudite, and lusciously rendered, Satyr Square gives us the whole of a life made up from fragments of Italy, art, food, and longing."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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