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Elements Of Italy

Elements Of Italy

The turnstile into Italy has clicked continually for centuries – Lord Byron loved here and continues to draw romantics in his wake, Stendhal concluded: ‘The charm of Italy is akin to that of being in love’. Yet Italians love their country more than any foreigner ever can, it is a place where labourers do hum Verdi, quote Dante and find their lunch delicious. Italians love of art, architecture and life itself is what drew Lisa St Aubin to this beautiful country. She extracts the work of, among others, Dante, Edith Wharton, Leonardo da Vinci, Rosetta Loy, Mary McCarthy, Goethe, Primo Levi, Turner, Shelley, Claire Sterling, Truman Capote, Cecil Beaton, Elsa Morante, Molly Lefebure and Keats.
‘Italy is mostly an emotion’ – Henry James
‘All the dreams of my youth I now behold realised before me’ – Goethe
‘They make love a great deal – and assassinate a little’ – Byron
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Genre: Lifestyle, Sport & Leisure / Travel & Holiday / Travel Writing

On Sale: 16th May 2002

Price: £7.99

ISBN-13: 9781860499241

Reviews

In Elements of Italy, Lisa St Aubin de Terán has gathered together a cornucopia of writing about Italy, the country she has lived in and loved for the last 17 years. She categorises this anthology according to the classical elements of earth, water, fire and air and these loose divisions work well in showing how Italy has evolved to become a country full of passion and one "which foreigners feel passionate about". St Aubin de Terán moves beyond the aesthetic in the material she has chosen. Her "Fire" section, for example, includes vivid writing about the volcano Vesuvius but also contains pages from Alexander Stille's Excellent Cadavers: Mafia and the Death of the first Italian Republic. And while the "Earth" section covers varying descriptions of Rome, Genoa, Florence and more, it also includes Elizabeth David writing (wonderfully) about Italian food, Carlo Levi proclaiming that "Christ stopped at Eboli" and Anthony Bailey describing the painter Turner's visit to Italy in 1819.
The length of the selected writing varies; there are one-liners--"Very dreamy, and fantastic and most interesting" (Charles Dickens about Siena)--or extracts that run on to a few pages but everything melds together as if it was meant to be. Sometimes, the
Elements of Italy is not a reference book--it should be dipped into for pleasure. Through St Aubin de Terán's carefully selected extracts, the reader gains insight into why "this stilettoed boot, set in two seas, seems to have walked across more hearts th
CHRISTINA MCLOUGHLIN, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW