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Italian Hours by Henry James

Italian Hours (1909)

by Henry James

Other authors: John Auchard (Editor), Joseph Pennell (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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This was hard work. To be fair to James, I don't think it's really intended as a cover-to-cover sort of read, which is how I approached it, but it's been a long time since I've struggled this much with a book. Some of James' descriptive prose is beautiful, and very evocative, but much of the time I was left with the impression that he was trying too hard to impress with his intelligence - studying too hard for words of four syllables perhaps.

If you're a fan of James' prose, you'll probably like this, but I'd recommend reading it in small doses. ( )
  cazfrancis | May 30, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henry Jamesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Auchard, JohnEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pennell, JosephIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pennell, JosephIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It is a great pleasure to write the word; but I am not sure there is not
a certain impudence in pretending to add anything to it.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140435077, Paperback)

'The charm of certain vacant grassy spaces, in Italy, overfrowned by masses of brickwork that are honeycombed by the suns of centuries, is something that I hereby renounce once for all the attempt to express; but you may be sure that whenever I mention such a spot enchantment lurks in it.' —Henry James

In these essays on travels in Italy written from 1872 to 1909, Henry James explores art and religion, political shifts and cultural revolutions, and the nature of travel itself. James's enthusiastic appreciation of the unparalleled aesthetic allure of Venice, the vitality of Rome, and the noisy, sensuous appeal of Naples is everywhere marked by pervasive regret for the disappearance of the past and by ambivalence concerning the transformation of nineteenth-century Europe. John Auchard's lively introduction and extensive notes illuminate the surprising differences between the historical, political, and artistic Italy of James's travels and the metaphoric Italy that became the setting of some of his best-known works of fiction. This edition includes an appendix of James's book reviews on Italian travel-writing.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:01 -0400)

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Henry James was born on 15 April 1843 and is regarded as one of the great literary figures of 19th Century writing. Born in New York, he moved between there and Europe, being tutored in Geneva, London, Paris, Bologna, and Bonn. At the age of 19 he briefly attended Harvard Law School, but preferred reading literature to studying law and settled the next year in England. As well as an outstanding author he was also a dramatist, travel writer and most passionately, a literary critic. He advocated that all writers should be allowed the greatest possible freedom in presenting their view of the world. Here, he shows his skill as a travel writer. He became a British subject in 1915, a year before his death on 28th February 1916.… (more)

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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