Paradise of Cities: Venice in the Nineteenth Century

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 18, 2007 - History - 400 pages
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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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User Review  - jcbrunner - LibraryThing

Noted Venice expert and lover John Julius Norwich's portraits of famous 19th century visitors to Venice, outstanding on their own, fail to combine to into a sound gestalt. Venice in the 19th century ... Read full review


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About the author (2007)

John Julius Norwich is the author of histories of Venice and Byzantium, and of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. Among his other works are books on architecture, music, and the history plays of Shakespeare, together with an annual anthology, A Christmas Cracker. He has written and presented some thirty historical documentaries for television and is a regular lecturer on a wide range of subjects. He is a former Chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund, Chairman of the World Monuments Fund in Britain, and a former member of the executive committee of the National Trust. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, the Royal Society of Literature, and the Royal Geographical Society, and a Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana. He lives in London.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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