Rome and a Villa: best Rome book

Old Aug 10th, 2005, 05:03 PM
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Rome and a Villa: best Rome book

I am reading this exquisite piece of travel-writing or rather city-portraiture. The publisher describes it thus:

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....

Rome is life itself - messy, random, anarchic, comical one moment, tragic the next, and above all, seductive.

A maddening, exhilarating must-read for all who know and love Rome.
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Old Aug 10th, 2005, 06:25 PM
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tedgale:

I'll probably sound stupid, but I'm unclear on the title of the book. It is "Rome and a Villa"?
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Old Aug 11th, 2005, 05:06 AM
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The name of the book is indeed "Rome and a Villa" by Eleanor Clark.

It is very well written, but do be aware that much of it is very dated. And as far as I am concerned, there is a little too much about Hadrian's Villa and a Sicilian bandit called Salvatore Giuliano.
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Old Aug 16th, 2005, 06:43 PM
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Dated? It sure is: redolent of Rome right after the war. Period of The Bicycle Thief. A time that is vanished forever.

In the 1974 re-issue of the book, the author (wife of Robert Penn Warren, double Pulitzer winner and US Poet Laureate) updates her writing in light of the transformed Rome of a quarter-century later.

Now, 1974 was my time in Rome and how well she captures it: I even recall those shocking ads she cites: "Chi mi ama, mi segua" -- I remember them still...
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Old Aug 16th, 2005, 07:28 PM
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"Rome and a Villa" is worth reading for a nostalgic look at how things used to be. "A Thousand Bells at Noon" by Franco Romagnoli (a Roman native) and "As the Romans Do" by Alan Epstein (an American expat)- are both good books about Rome today.
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Old Aug 16th, 2005, 07:39 PM
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"The Seasons of Rome" by Paul Hofmann is another good one.
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