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Venice, A Travellers Companion: A Traveller's Reader

John Julius Norwich

2 Reviews

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Italy, Prose: non-fiction, Travel & holiday

An indispensable literary companion, vividly evoking the life of Venice in the voices of both residents and visitors through the centuries.

Henry James wrote of Venice: 'You desire to embrace it, to caress it, to possess it . . .' whereas Mark Twain found St Mark's 'so ugly . . . propped on its long row of thick-legged columns, its back knobbed with domes, it seems like a vast, warty bug taking a meditative walk'.

Reactions to Venice have been, throughout the ages, astonishingly different. John Julius Norwich has put together a dazzling anthology, drawing on the writings of Byron, Goethe, Wagner, Casanova, Jan Morris, Robert Browning and Horace Walpole, among many others.

The pieces range from the sixth century, when the early lagoon-dwellers lived 'like sea-birds in huts, built on heaps of osiers' to the exquisite city of eighteenth-century revellers and nineteenth-century art lovers. The city's many diferent guises are shown as both its citizens and visitors saw them.

This wonderful volume from the Traveller's Reader series also contains maps, engravings and notes on history, art, architecture and everyday city life.

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Praise for Venice, A Travellers Companion: A Traveller's Reader

  • A brilliant historical anthology . . . which I read from cover to cover, relishing the author's witty selection of writings. - Spectator

  • Another excellent volume in the Traveller's Reader series. - Times

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John Julius Norwich

After National Service, John Julius Norwich (1929-2018) took a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. In 1952 he joined the Foreign Service serving at the embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and with the British Delegation to the Disarmament Conference at Geneva. His publications include The Normans in Sicily; Mount Athos (with Reresby Sitwell); Sahara; The Architecture of Southern England; Glyndebourne; and A History of Venice. He was also the author of a three-volume history of the Byzantine Empire. He wrote and presented some thirty historical documentaries for television, and was a regular lecturer on Venice and numerous other subjects. Lord Norwich was chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund, Co-chairman of the World Monuments Fund and a former member of the Executive Committee of the National Trust. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Geographical Society and the Society of Antiquaries, and a Commendatore of the Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana. He was made a CVO in 1993.

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