IN 1947 A YOUNG AMERICAN woman named Eleanor Clark went to Rome on a Guggenheim fellowship to write a novel. But Rome had its way with her, the novel was abandoned, and what followed was not a novel but a series of sketches of Roman life written mostly between 1948 and 1951. This new edition of the essential classic Rome and a Villa includes an evocative introduction by the preeminent translator William Weaver, who was close friends with the author and often wandered the city with her during the years she was working on the book.
Once in Rome, the foreign writer or artist, over the course of weeks, months, or years, begins to lose ambition, to lose a sense of urgency, to lose even a sense of self. What once seemed all-consuming is swallowed up by Rome itself; by the pace of life, by the fatalism of the Roman people, to whom everything and nothing matters, by the sheer historic weight and scale of the place. Rome is life itself - messy, random, anarchic, comical one moment, tragic the next, and above all, seductive.
Clark pays special attention to Roman art and architecture. In the book's midsection she looks at Hadrian's Villa - an enormous, unfinished palace - as a meta-phor for the city itself: decaying, imperial, shabby, but capable of inducing an overwhelming dreaminess in its visitors. The book's final chapter, written for an updated edition in 1974, is a lovely portrait of the so-called Protestant cemetery where both Keats and Shelley are buried, along with other foreign notables.
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ELEANOR CLARK is the author of the National Book Award winner The Oysters of Locmariaquer, Eyes, Etc., and the novels The Bitter Box, Baldur's Gate, and Camping Out. She was married to Robert Penn Warren.Review:
"A brilliant piece of traveler's impressionism, written with verbal polish." -- Time Magazine, April 14, 1952
"You are transported . . . as if conducted by a genie, one who knows where he is going and why." -- The New York Times Book Review, April 13, 1952
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Book Description Pantheon Books, 1975. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110394494466
Book Description Pantheon Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0394494466 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0135654