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Sicily: A Literary Guide for Travellers (The…
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Sicily: A Literary Guide for Travellers (The I.B.Tauris Literary Guides…

by Andrew Edwards

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2017 (1) guide (1) history (1) Italian (1) literature (2) Sicily (1) survey (1) travel (2)

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A fascinating guide that links Sicilian literature with its history.
  ccatalfo | Aug 5, 2017 |
“Sicily” is an alternative travel guide. It does not contain street maps, does not highlight day trips, rate transportation or list restaurants. Instead, it traces the major villages and towns of Sicily, through writers who have toured them. Many have passed through as soldiers, some were natural travelers, and some were escaping home pressures. All had a lot to say about their environs. And some got actively involved in it.

What Andrew and Suzanne Edwards have leveraged is this remarkable attraction of Sicily for writers. They have tracked down seemingly every writer who visited for three thousand years. They trace visits from ancient Greece and Rome, up to modern America and Britain. The name dropping is impressive, but the research is what is really impressive. Beyond the writer’s name, details from trips, and passages of their writings bring out Sicily in a very different and far more exuberant manner.

The book starts in Palermo in the northwest and works its way clockwise all the way around the island, with abundant tales told by the writers as well as about them, and descriptions of where they stayed and who they met. At the back there are one paragraph profiles of the writers mentioned in the book, like actors in a play. Which is appropriate, since so many of them were storytellers.

There are of course disappointments. Photos are few, even then black and white. There is very little on food, one of the pillars of Sicily’s reputation. There is only one map, at the front, which just pinpoints the villages the book refers to. There is no topography, roads or waterways on it. This is a book to be read with an online map service close by.

It is remarkable that it is even possible to write a literary tour of Sicily. It is even more remarkable that it has been done and is enjoyable. ( )
  DavidWineberg | Jul 8, 2014 |
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Rising up from the heart of the Mediterranean, Sicily has a rich and ancient history spanning over 2,000 years. A bounty prized by invaders from the Greeks, Romans, and Vandals to the Byzantines, Arabs, and Normans, Sicily's violently beautiful landscapes are haunted by a vibrant mix of cultures, and her soil has always been fertile ground for the literary and artistic imagination. This compelling guide uncovers the island's multifaceted personality through the experiences of those literary figures who have managed to get under her skin, including Pindar, Cicero, Aeschylus, Shakespeare, Cervantes, DH Lawrence, Coleridge, Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Ezra Pound, and Lawrence Durrell; as well as local writers who have defined the modern Italian novel, including Giuseppe di Lampedusa and Leonardo Sciascia. Through their words and lives we witness the beauty, pain, and power of the Sicilian cultural landscape and discover how the potent mix of influences on the island's society have been preserved forever in literature.… (more)

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