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  • Nicholas Brealey Publishing
  • Nicholas Brealey Publishing
  • Nicholas Brealey Publishing

The Gilded Chalet: Off-piste in Literary Switzerland

Padraig Rooney

2 Reviews

Rated 0

Switzerland, Biography: literary, Prose: non-fiction, Literary studies: general, Cultural studies

Part detective work, part treasure chest, full of history and scandal, award-winning writer Padraig Rooney takes you on a grand tour of two centuries of great writing by both Swiss and foreign authors and shows how Switzerland has always been at the centre of literary Europe.

In the summer of 1816 paparazzi trained their telescopes on the goings on of poets Byron and Shelley - and their womenfolk - across Lake Geneva. Mary Shelley babysat and wrote FRANKENSTEIN. Byron dieted and penned THE PRISONER OF CHILLON. His doctor, Polidori, was dreaming up THE VAMPYRE. Together they put Switzerland on the map.

Switzerland has always provided a refuge for writers attracted to it as an escape from world wars, oppression, tuberculosis... or marriage. While often for Swiss writers from Rousseau to Bouvier the country was like a gilded prison or sanatorium. The Romantics, the utopians (Wells, D. H. Lawrence) and other spiritual seekers (Hesse), viewed Switzerland as a land of milk and honey, as nature's paradise. In the twentieth century, spying in neutral Switzerland, spawned espionage and detective fiction from Conan Doyle to Maugham, Fleming, and Le Carre.

Padraig Rooney finds the rooms crammed with curios: lederhosen and Lepidoptera, spas and spies, fool's gold and numbered accounts. Literary detective work and treasure chest, history and scandal, THE GILDED CHALET will make you strap on your skis and go off-piste to find out the real Swiss story.

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Praise for The Gilded Chalet: Off-piste in Literary Switzerland

  • There is a mastery in his handling of prose-rhythm which I find exciting. It is in order for an ageing writer, in a valediction to Irish readers, to essay a prophecy about Irish letters. Mr. Rooney will be a credit to them. - Anthony Burgess

  • A fascinating look behind the scenery at how Switzerland has influenced and affected some of the greatest authors and some of my favourite books. - Diccon Bewes, author of Swiss Watching

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