Some books enlighten and disappoint at the same time. This is how I felt having read Oleg Tarasov’s book. Originally Tarasov’s doktorskaia dissertatsiia (the second PhD), the book was first published in Russian and has now been painstakingly translated by Robin Milner-Gulland and lavishly published by Reaktion Books.
The narrow streets of ancient Naples are like the bottoms of chasms that meet at right angles.
The later 16th century in Italy was a period of 'mental stagnation' wrote G. R. Elton.(1) This highly questionable statement apparently set in motion the entire research project from which the present group of essays emerged (p. 76, n. 64); they contest its validity.
In his New Year’s address for 2012 the British Prime Minister sought to rally a demoralized people saddled with debts, recession, and unemployment in the face of a continuing policy of wholesale transfer of assets from public to private, by reminding them of the forthcoming Olympic Games and the Queen’s Jubilee.
This is a self-consciously old-fashioned treatment of an unaccountably neglected chapter in the history of travel which should be placed alongside such classics as John Stoye’s English Travelers Abroad, 1604–1667, whose first edition was published as long ago as 1952, rather than more recent treatments by Chloe Chard and Rosemary Sweet.(1) Indeed, one might go
Guido Ruggiero’s new social and cultural history of Italy between 1250 and 1575 begins at the end of the world and ends at the beginning of the ‘Great Social Divide’.
I do not know whether the Italian title of this book (Vita di casa) is an allusion to Mario Praz and his autobiography La casa della vita (Milan, 1958), but it would be fitting. In that book Mario Praz guides the reader through his Roman house and tells his life during the tour.