Item description for Letters from the Palazzo Barbaro by Henry James...
Henry James first came to Venice as a tourist, but was soon fascinated by the city and particularly by the splendid gothic Palazzo Barbaro, home of the expatriate American Curtis family. James frequently returned to the palace, to write, completing The Aspern Papers there. This selection of letters covers the period 1869-1907 and provides a unique record of the work and life of this great writer.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 6.3" Width: 4.8" Height: 0.79" Weight: 0.53 lbs.
Release Date Sep 30, 1998
Publisher Pushkin Press
ISBN 1901285073 ISBN13 9781901285079
Availability 0 units.
More About Henry James
Henry James (1843-1916) is the author of such classic novels as Daisy Miller, The Golden Bowl, and Washington Square. Philip Horne is a professor of English at University College London.
Henry James has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Letters from the Palazzo Barbaro?
Henry James' Italian world Dec 8, 2005
Having just finished Colm Tóibín's novel about James, The Master, I determined to read some of James' work that I hadn't read before. So I was browsing at one of my favorite used bookstores, and came across this little volume. I admit to being attracted first by its physical beauty -- a small paperback with a heavy textured blue outer jacket, very simple typography, and a picture of Palazzo Ducale I by Roger de Montebello on a smooth paper.
Palazzo Barbaro was in James' day (and still was at the time of the publication of this book in 1997) the home of the expatriate American family, the Curtises, who were great patrons of the arts. They were painted by Sargent, and in their home Browning read his poems, and James finished writing The Aspern Papers.
These letters are primarily written by James but there are also some written by members of the Curtis family. James writes to the Curtis', to Isabella Steward Gardner, to Constance Woolson (and we see, in a later letter, the impact of her suicide on James and his view of Venice). The word "from" in the title is a bit misleading, as many are written from other parts of Italy, and a few from England and Switzerland. But to the extent that the Palazzo was a place in the heart, then the title is accurate.
The contrast between James' letters and the Curtis letters is revealing. The latter are pretty much the "today we did this" and "so-and-so's been to visit" type, while James' are full of gorgeous images and his usual insightful observations.
In addition to a foreword by Leon Edel (James' biographer), there is an introduction by Rosella Mamoli Zorzi, who has written extensively about the expatriate colony in Venice. There are end notes after each letter, but I do wish there had been more, as there are intriguing references in the letters to unexplained events (what did happen with Pen Browning's marriage? and what was Mrs. Ralph Curtis' "situation"?).
This lovely little volume provides a delightful glimpse into James' Italian world.