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For Hazzard and her husband, both insatiable readers, the Naples of Pliny, Gibbon, and Auden is constantly alive to them in the present. And in "The Ancient Shore", Hazzard is our guide, as we encounter Henry James, Oscar Wilde, and of course Goethe, but her concern is primarily with the Naples of our own time -- often violently unforgiving to innocent tourists, but able to transport the visitor who attends patiently to its rhythms and history. A town shadowed by both the symbol and the reality of Vesuvius can never fail to acknowledge the essential precariousness of life -- nor, as the lover of Naples discovers, the human compassion, generosity, and friendship that are necessary to sustain it.
At once a classic of travel literature and a penetrating portrait of a 'sensibility on tour', Flaubert in Egypt wonderfully captures the young writer's impressions during his 1849 voyages. Using diaries, letters, travel notes, and the evidence of Flaubert's travelling companion, Maxime Du Camp, Francis Steegmuller reconstructs his journey through the bazaars and brothels of Cairo and down the Nile to the Red Sea.
For daring to peer into the heart of an adulteress and enumerate its contents with profound dispassion, the author of Madame Bovary was tried for "offenses against morality and religion." What shocks us today about Flaubert's devastatingly realized tale of a young woman destroyed by the reckless pursuit of her romantic dreams is its pure artistry: the poise of its narrative structure, the opulence of its prose (marvelously captured in the English translation of Francis Steegmuller), and its creation of a world whose minor figures are as vital as its doomed heroine. In reading Madame Bovary, one experiences a work that remains genuinely revolutionary almost a century and a half after its creation.
The story of the friendship between Madame d'Epinay, a high-spirited intelligent Frenchwoman, and the Abbe Galiani, a diminutive and brilliant Neapolitan, this book presents a portrait of a golden age in European history.
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