Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Italian Hours Essay Example for Free
Italian Hours EssayItalian Hours, Henry jams close acclaimed order of run stories written mingled with 1882 and 1909, is a very interesting piece of travel literature. However, it does much more than than a typical practise in the genre would do, that is describing authors visits in a foreign, usually exotic, dry land. Instead, Italian Hours can be seen as an important document from a historic and anthropological perspective, since it catalogues living conditions, attitudes, customs and traditions of Italian flock at the curio of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. There be opposite prominent examples of travel literature, such as Tocquevilles Journey to America, which provide in-depth explorations of cultural idiosyncrasies and affectionate organization of different societies Italian Hours should be seen as unity of the works in the latter category. packs opinions on mingled matters are all more interesting for the reason that his perspective, as of an American source and tourist, is an embodiment of contemporaneousness by definition (Manolescu-Oancea 2010, para. 1), while Italy is conventionally regarded to be a country that has entered the period of modernity posterior than other major European powers.In the subsequent paragraphs, a number of examples of the aforementioned will be presented. It is necessary to grip in mind that Jamess work touches upon a wide concoction of philosophical topics, which are all very intriguing yet unfortunately cannot be covered in this essay due to space constraints. This essay will focus primarily at Jamess interpretation of social conditions, developments, and debates in Italy of the aforementioned period. The concluding section will briefly discuss the manoeuvre of Italian Hours among other works of travel literature set in Italy.Along with describing natural beauties and historical sites of Italy, James devotes significant attention to analyzing peoples daily lives, which allows for a deduction about social structures that existed in Italy of those times. For instance, when describing Sienna, James (2008) talks of it as of a metropolis that is still in the 14th century, with legion(predicate) and rich nobility that is perfectly feudal and uplifted and separate (p. 242). There is no middle class, or bourgeoisie instead immediately after the aristocracy come the low people, who are very poor indeed (James 2008, p. 42). A great divide mingled with rich and poor has been very characteristic of Italy of the former(a) 19th and early 20th century. The miserable situation of poorer Italians is exacerbated by the government that wields unreasonably high taxes. up social mobility is a rare phenomenon, and most Italians born outside of the upper classes were expecting a lifetime of get by and destitution. When recollecting his time in Venice, James writes that Italians habitations are decayed their taxes heavy their pockets light their opportunities few (James 2008 , p. 13).It is necessary to keep in mind that the unification of Italy occurred quite late(a) in the 19th century. A lot of problems remained undefended following the unification, ranging from economic deprivation to epidemics of fatal disease. Most researchers name the huge material gulf between north and south (p. 168) as one of the most pressing problems of the time previously Austrian provinces of Lombardy and Venetia were more developed then southern provinces like Sicily. The following statistics give a fairly comprehensive depicting of the level of economic development in the immediate aftermath of the unification In 1870s the primary area agriculture, mining and forestry accounted for 62 percent of total employment against less than 50 percent for France, Germany and the USA. For the UK the figure was unless 22. 7 percent. Most of the industrial development was concentrated in very few areas, namely Lombardy, Piedmont and a few firms in the region of Naples (Faini Vent urini 1994, p. 74). Yet the disparities in life quality between different provinces of Italy are not salient in Jamess writings.Keen on noticing regional differences, the author of Italian Hours speaks of Italian people as generally poor, although income gap becomes more and more extreme as one moves southwards. Poor economic conditions have resulted in mass emigration of Italians to other country, mostly to the United States, which seems specially ironic in the context of Jamess observations about Italy and America. James (2008) describes Italians as simple and modest he writes of them as of people that have at once the good and the evil fortune to be conscious of few wants (p. 3). However, early modernity has already associated sophistication with having a variety of needs that are hard to satisfy. In accordance with these criteria, Italians might come across as being less fine-tune than other peoples, although such view is definitely misguided. Enjoying simple pleasures can b e a sign of erudition and contemplative salute to life although many of the pleasures Italian cities offer might seem to be facile pastimes (James 2008, p. 14), they are no less pleasurable from it.Enjoying works by great masters of the past or magnificent nature are some of the activities Italians often indulge in. One of the issues that have been heatedly debated at the times of Jamess travels was the question of whether to restore or preserve ancient ruins, and how to do it. In Italian Hours, the author presents his negative assessment of the results of renovation in Italian cities and in his criticism of the intrusions of modernity in the cityscape (Manolescu-Oancea 2010, para. 1). In his opinion, buildings should be seen as humans, having their own lifecycles and histories, and therefore mortal.Moreover, buildings have a unique mogul to tell stories of people who have once inhabited them and sometimes even have to atone for their sins Houses not only look like ageing bodies , they also seem to be permeated with the life of their former inhabitants, which lends them a dark human aura, a psyche (Manolescu-Oancea 2010, para. 6). As with cityspaces, natural landscapes for James are not further a picturesque backdrop for romantic adventurebut areendowed with some of the richness of exemplary value inherited from great historical events (Mariani 1964, p. 42).Since the richness of Italian history and nature are so impressive, James notes with regret that so many Italians live in poverty. On the other hand, he believes that being unceasingly surrounded by breathtaking beauty is a fair compensation moreover, the peculiarly lighthearted approach to life Italians have helps them cope with daily problems. Although a lot of criticism of social reality of the late 19th century and early 20th century is present in Jamess text, a comparison with his own country, America, is usually to the disadvantage of the latter.In Monte Mario outside Rome, James (2008) observes the idle cultivation and grace of Italy alone, the natural stamp of the land which has the singular privilege of making one love her unholy beauty all but as well as those features of ones own country toward which natures small allowance doubles that of ones own affection (p. 166). In comparing American and Italian cuisine, the author recollects Grotta Ferrata, a rather insignificant and unkempt village, yet al fresco food for its fair couldnt fail to suggest romantic analogies to a pilgrim from the land of no cooks (James 1995 cited in Collister 2004, p. 95). When James expresses dissatisfaction with new developments in the centre of Florence, he thinks of America again, fearful of the ancient city being disfigured under the treatment of enterprising syndics, into an ungirdled organism of the type, as they viciously say, of Chicago (James 2008, p. 257). notwithstanding in term of attitudes, James (2008) appreciates the fact that Italians are more down-to-earth and relaxed than his fellow men when he fears that a day may come when people rush about Venice as furiously as people rush about new-sprung(prenominal) York (p. 57).Thus, while modernity and speed become synonymous with the wise World, Jamess observations unmistakably point to cultural wrong-headedness and impoverishment of the America (Collister 2004, p. 196). At the same time, Italy is to James literally picturesque real life composes itself into art at every turn (Collister 2002, p. 340). Constant reminiscences of the New World serve several particular functions in Jamess writing. First of all, it appears to be symbolic of his attempts to establish an emotional data link with his readers and through his personal perspective to help establish a connection between his readers and Italy.This device is frequently employed in travel literature the reader can observe overwhelmed with descriptions of faraway places and strange cultures that bear no resemblance to their own it is therefore the ro le of a writer to create a minimum level of comfort by recalling familiar places and phenomena. In such a way, readers can comprehend the mode of life in distant lands building on their own experience in their home countries. On the other hand, such reminiscences serve another purpose, as Manolescu-Oancea (2010) argues Jamess constant references to America and to his Americanness introduce a special kind of alienated perspective, both geographical and temporal, which is by all odds American in outlook (para. 20).Jamess fascination with Italy has been enduring, yet there were moments in his life when the writer has expressed a significant degree of dissatisfaction with living conditions there. Rome is the city that has come is for the most criticism in his private letters in one of them he even writes the following I feel that I shouldnt care if I never saw the perverted place again (James 1907 cited in Lubbock 2008, p. 2). This perhaps can be attributed to the fact that his brother , William, has contracted malaria while in Rome and had to move southwards to Florence to improve his health (Gale 1959). It is indeed interesting to observe how both Jamess life and writings create a rather accurate account of what it was like to live in Italy at the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century. Jamess Italian Hours is one among many other literary travelogues of Italy Sternes Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy (1768) and Dickens Pictures from Italy (1845) are perhaps the most cognise of them.What distinguishes Italian Hours, however, is that it follows no chronology and even the geographical ordering much dwelling upon Venice and a movement southwards as far as Naples with a return to Tuscany is (unlike Goethes Italienische Reise) arbitrary (Collister 2004, p. 194). At the same time, the specialisation of the narrators style gives a powerful and overarching sense of organization to this seemingly odd collection of stories.