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Italian Hours   By: (1843-1916)

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ITALIAN HOURS

BY

HENRY JAMES

PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 1909

PREFACE

The chapters of which this volume is composed have with few exceptions already been collected, and were then associated with others commemorative of other impressions of (no very extensive) excursions and wanderings. The notes on various visits to Italy are here for the first time exclusively placed together, and as they largely refer to quite other days than these the date affixed to each paper sufficiently indicating this I have introduced a few passages that speak for a later and in some cases a frequently repeated vision of the places and scenes in question. I have not hesitated to amend my text, expressively, wherever it seemed urgently to ask for this, though I have not pretended to add the element of information or the weight of curious and critical insistence to a brief record of light inquiries and conclusions. The fond appeal of the observer concerned is all to aspects and appearances above all to the interesting face of things as it mainly used to be.

H. J.

CONTENTS

VENICE THE GRAND CANAL VENICE: AN EARLY IMPRESSION TWO OLD HOUSES AND THREE YOUNG WOMEN CASA AL VISI FROM CHAMBÉRY TO MILAN THE OLD SAINT GOTHARD ITALY REVISITED A ROMAN HOLIDAY ROMAN RIDES ROMAN NEIGHBOURHOODS THE AFTER SEASON IN ROME FROM A ROMAN NOTE BOOK A FEW OTHER ROMAN NEIGHBOURHOODS A CHAIN OF CITIES SIENA EARLY AND LATE THE AUTUMN IN FLORENCE FLORENTINE NOTES TUSCAN CITIES OTHER TUSCAN CITIES RAVENNA THE SAINT'S AFTERNOON AND OTHERS

ILLUSTRATIONS

THE HARBOUR, GENOA (Frontispiece) FLAGS AT ST. MARK'S, VENICE A NARROW CANAL, VENICE PALAZZO MOCENIGO, VENICE THE AMPHITHEATRE, VERONA CASA ALVISI, VENICE THE SIMPLON GATE, MILAN THE CLOCK TOWER, BERNE UNDER THE ARCADES, TURIN ROMAN GATEWAY, RIMINI SANTA MARIA NOVELLA, FLORENCE THE FAÇADE OF ST. JOHN LATERAN, ROME THE COLONNADE OF ST. PETER'S, ROME CASTEL GANDOLFO ENTRANCE TO THE VATICAN, ROME VILLA D' ESTE, TIVOLI SUBIACO ASSISI PERUGIA ETRUSCAN GATEWAY, PERUGIA A STREET, CORTONA THE RED PALACE, SIENA SAN DOMENICO, SIENA ON THE ARNO, FLORENCE THE GREAT EAVES, FLORENCE BOBOLI GARDENS, FLORENCE THE HOSPITAL, PISTOIA THE LOGGIA, LUCCA TOWERS OF SAN GIMIGNANO SAN APOLLINARE NUOVO, RAVENNA RAVENNA PINETA TERRACINA

VENICE

It is a great pleasure to write the word; but I am not sure there is not a certain impudence in pretending to add anything to it. Venice has been painted and described many thousands of times, and of all the cities of the world is the easiest to visit without going there. Open the first book and you will find a rhapsody about it; step into the first picture dealer's and you will find three or four high coloured "views" of it. There is notoriously nothing more to be said on the subject. Every one has been there, and every one has brought back a collection of photographs. There is as little mystery about the Grand Canal as about our local thoroughfare, and the name of St. Mark is as familiar as the postman's ring. It is not forbidden, however, to speak of familiar things, and I hold that for the true Venice lover Venice is always in order. There is nothing new to be said about her certainly, but the old is better than any novelty. It would be a sad day indeed when there should be something new to say. I write these lines with the full consciousness of having no information whatever to offer. I do not pretend to enlighten the reader; I pretend only to give a fillip to his memory; and I hold any writer sufficiently justified who is himself in love with his theme.

I

Mr. Ruskin has given it up, that is very true; but only after extracting half a lifetime of pleasure and an immeasurable quantity of fame from it. We all may do the same, after it has served our turn, which it probably will not cease to do for many a year to come. Meantime it is Mr. Ruskin who beyond anyone helps us to enjoy. He has indeed lately produced several aids to depression in the shape of certain little humorous ill humorous pamphlets (the series of St... Continue reading book >>




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