Paradise of Cities: Venice in the 19th Century

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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The greatest living chronicler of Venetian history brings to life the city's magical charm in a beautifully illustrated and captivating book. John Julius Norwich, the author of the acclaimedA History of Venice, traces the transformation of Venice from a proud independent state into a dazzling dreamscape that attracted artists, writers, and composers from around the world. In a strikingly effective departure from straight narrative history, he tells the story of Venice through the experiences and reactions of such famous nineteenth-century visitors as Napoleon Bonaparte, Lord Byron, John Ruskin, Henry James, Richard Wagner, James Whistler, and Robert Browning. Written with brio and humor, the profiles capture the incomparable charms of Venice--and the quirks of these historic figures as they discover (or fail to discover) them. Napoleon, having achieved the conquest that had thwarted other forces for a thousand years, was totally indifferent to the glories of his prize. The almost comically lascivious Byron seduced nearly every woman in Venice until he had the misfortune of falling in love with one of them, and the prim Ruskin obsessively sketched every architectural detail for his seminal book,The Stones of Venice, even as his comely wife grew weary of his celibacy. Wagner worked onTristan und Isoldein Venice, and Whistler painted his greatest masterpieces there. Like Peter Ackroyd's much-praisedLondon, Paradise of Citiesis at once a fascinating history, a matchless travel guide, and a wonderful gift book. Filled with vintage photographs and full-color reproductions of period paintings, it conveys both the misfortune of Venice's decline and the magnificence of its eternal beauty. It is as magical, as colorful, and as irresistible as its subject.
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Grouped Work ID 3adeabd4-7bdb-5d40-acd4-8ed5a288a830
Grouping Title paradise of cities venice in the 1ninth century
Grouping Author norwich john julius
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2019-02-17 04:37:02AM
Last Indexed 2019-02-17 04:56:17AM

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author John Julius Norwich
author_display John Julius Norwich
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John Julius Norwich's A History of Venice has been dubbed "indispensable" by none other than Jan Morris. Now, in his second book on the city once known as La Serenissima, Norwich advances the story in this elegant chronicle of a hundred years of Venice's highs and lows, from its ignominious capture by Napoleon in 1797 to the dawn of the 20th century.

An obligatory stop on the Grand Tour for any cultured Englishman (and, later, Americans), Venice limped into the 19th century--first under the yoke of France, then as an outpost of the Austrian Hapsburgs, stripped of riches yet indelibly the most ravishing city in Italy. Even when subsumed into a unified Italy in 1866, it remained a magnet for aesthetes of all stripes--subject or setting of books by Ruskin and James, a muse to poets and musicians, in its way the most gracious courtesan of all European cities. By refracting images of Venice through the visits of such extravagant (and sometimes debauched) artists as Lord Byron, Richard Wagner, and the inimitable Baron Corvo, Norwich conjures visions of paradise on a lagoon, as enduring as brick and as elusive as the tides.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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title_display Paradise of Cities
title_full Paradise of Cities Venice in the 19th Century
title_short Paradise of Cities
title_sub Venice in the 19th Century
topic_facet History, Nonfiction, Sociology