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Desiring Italy

Women Writers Celebrate the Passions of a Country and Culture

Desiring Italy by Susan Cahill
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For centuries Italy has been many things to many people. In this brilliant anthology and traveler's companion, twenty-eight first-rate women writers reveal why the land that is the heart and soul of European civilization is so seductive to women.

Kate Simon walks us through a Siena filled with surprises and luminous beauty. Elizabeth Spencer writes of first coming to Italy and finding "home." Shirley Hazzard explores the mysteries of Naples. Muriel Spark writes on Venice, Edith Wharton on Rome, George Eliot on Florence, Barbara Grizzuti Harrison on San Gimignano, Patricia Hampl on Assisi. Other wonderful writers contemplate the idiosyncratic glories of Italy's architecture, cooking, art, and landscape; its culture; its places and people.

As these writers tell their stories--in fiction, memoir, and essay--of coming to understand Italy, they explore the complexity of their passions for it, mingling affection and ecstasy with intellectual curiosity. Organized geographically--from northern Italy to Rome and on to the south, Desiring Italy offers an enchanting journey for readers and travelers.

Including the following contents:

From Italian Backgrounds: Picturesque Milan by Edith Wharton
“Cauliflower Heads” by Francine Prose
From Rambles in Germany and Italy: Letters from Venice by Mary Shelley
From The World of Venice: On Women by Jan Morris
From The Classic Italian Cookbook: Preface, Italian Cooking: Where Does It Come From?, The Italian Art of Eating, Restaurants, The Bacaro Experience, Gelati
Venice in Fall and Winter by Muriel Spark
From Embassy to Constantinople: To Lady Mar by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
From The Enchanted April: VI, VIII by Elizabeth von Arnim
From Roadside Songs of Tuscany: The Ballad of Saint Zita, A Tuscan Lullaby by Francesca Alexander
From Casa Guidi Windows: Casa Guidi Windows, Bellosguardo by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
From Romola: Proem
From The Stones of Florence: V
From Italy: The Places in Between: Siena
From Images and Shadows: La Foce & from War in Val D’Orcia: An Italian War Diary 1943-1944 by Iris Origo
From A Valley in Italy: The Many Seasons of a Villa in Umbria: I, VI by Lisa St. Aubin de Terán
Umbrian Spring by Patricia Hampl
From Florence Nightingale in Rome: Letter VI
From Dispatches from Europe to the New York Tribune, 1846-1850: Dispatch 14, Dispatch 19, Dispatch 30
From Middlemarch: The Wedding Journey by George Eliot
“Roman Fever” by Edith Wharton
From Rome and a Villa: Fountains by Eleanor Clark
From A Time in Rome: The Smile by Elizabeth Bowen
From The Light in the Piazza: Introduction & “The White Azalea” by Elizabeth Spencer
From Pleasure of Ruins by Rose Macaulay
From The Bay of Noon: I, IV, VIII by Shirley Hazzard
From Torregreca: Life, Death, Miracles: The Setting, A Night at San Fortunato, The Project Realized, Epilogue by Ann Cornelisen
From The Islands of Italy: Sicily, Palermo by Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
From On Persephone’s Island: A Sicilian Journal: Prologue, Winter by Mary Taylor Simeti
Random House Publishing Group; February 2011
384 pages; ISBN 9780307778376
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Title: Desiring Italy
Author: Susan Cahill