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Italian Hours

James, Henry; edited by John Auchard

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ISBN 10: 0271007265 / ISBN 13: 9780271007267
Published by Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA, 1992
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

Hardcover in dust jacket. 8vo. Crisp and clean, a handsome hardcover edition of James's famous essays of his travels in Italy, written between 1872 and 1909. A touch of sunning to spine. Includes some photos, suggestions for further reading, updated information by the editor, extended textual notes, an extensive bibliography, a collation of the first English and American editions, and more. 376 pp. Bookseller Inventory # 72919

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Italian Hours

Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA

Publication Date: 1992

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Edition: First edition thus

About this title


Despite the fact that Henry James visited Italy fourteen times and set much of his best-known fiction in Venice, Florence, and Rome, his complex Italian Hours essays have never received the attention they deserve. These absorbing essays provide far-reaching comment on artistic production, on religion, on social upheaval and the movement into the modem age, as well as on the power of reminiscence and the nature of travel itself. Furthermore, they reveal a sometimes surprising Henry James who was fascinated by papal politics, by the aftermath of the risorgimento, by upper-class Roman in Naples, rampant Venetian commercialism, and by persistent concerns about the elusive and yet resilient essence of civilization.

Written from 1872 to 1909, the twenty-two Italian Hours essays represent a genre of travel writing that provides a journey through time as much as over terrain, and they reveal James's uniquely sensitive reactions to the rapid transformations of nineteenth century Europe. By establishing their historical, political, literary, and artistic context, John Auchard makes these essays more accessible both to the general reader and to the scholar, and his overview helps modem readers appreciate that the Italy they envision when they read The Portrait of a Lady or The Wings of the Dove is not necessarily the same Italy that fascinated Henry James.

Furthermore, this edition supplies practical as well as contextual information that will allow greater appreciation of James's impressions, of the changes he observes, and of those that have taken place since the 1909 publication of Italian Hours. The editor notes when crumbling frescoes have been restored, when piazzas have been redesigned, when, for example, a renowned villa has been mutilated, destroyed, or turned into an astronomical observatory. This edition therefore helps define the changes in both the fact and the metaphor of Italy, and it should send readers back to James's novels, and perhaps back to Italy itself, with richer understanding. Aside from extensive annotations of the corrected Houghton Mifflin text of 1909, this edition includes an introduction, an extended textual note, a collation of the first English and American editions, suggestions for further reading, an extensive bibliography, and a listing of sources for period photographs. Included in an appendix are the texts of James's reviews of Italian travel books by Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Dean Howells, Augustus J. C. Hare, Auguste Laugel, and Hippolyte Taine.

About the Author:

Henry James was born in 1843 in new York, with Scottish and Irish ancestry. Having studied in New York and Europe, he became a lawyer, and started writing in 1865. Spending time in Paris he knew Flaubert and Turgenev, before moving to London and then Sussex. John Auchard is Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of Silence in Henry James: The Heritage of Symbolism and Decadence (Penn State), and co-editor, with Lewis Leary, of Articles on American Literature: 1968-1975 (Duke), and American Literature: A Guide to Research and Study (St. Martin's). From 1985 to 1986 he was Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Milan.

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Warwick Books, is an Internet-only bookseller that specializes in hard-to-find books for avid readers and collectors. Many of our books are out of print. Specialties include literature, signed firsts, art and photography, design, illustrated books, cookbooks, field guides, children's books, needlecraft books, and Americana. We recently acquired a large private collection of books on military history. The focus is on World War II as well as aviation history. Warwick Books is a member of IOBA, the Independent Online Booksellers Association.

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