Monthly Archives: May 2017

Italy – inspiring writers, exciting readers


Italy in translation

Italy has inspired paintings, music, opera, literature.

Its cities have been said to offer a “charm of existence that words cannot picture.” [Charles Lever, 1870]

Dostoevsky wrote, “When the sun shines, it is almost Paradise. Impossible to imagine anything more beautiful than this sky, this air, this light.”  He was in Italy when he completed The Idiot and also when he began The Possessed and The Brothers Karamazov.

Aldous Huxley said of his time in Italy, that “the greatest luxury of this existence is the feeling of being well,” (although he did change his mind somewhat about Florence afterwards, likening it to, “a third-rate provincial town, colonized by English sodomites and middle-aged Lesbians!”)

Whether good or bad, Italy always inspires a reaction!


Italian stories inspiring readers

Deborah Hallford at Outside In World wrote that, “translated literature should break down the barriers of geography <>, teach us about other cultures, and be an enriching experience as it opens up new horizons and stimulates ideas.” [Children’s Books in Translation, by Deborah Hallford and Edgardo Zaghini, 2005, Milet Publishing Ltd]

A three-book series I recently read in Italian does all this and more, combining the irresistible Italian mystique cited by literary greats of past and present with a part-mystical, part-magical detective adventure tour of Venice, Padova and Verona. As required, the books open up fascinating worlds, take readers to “strange lands”, and introduce them to places or things they may not be familiar with. Philip Pullman described his childhood experience of Emil and the Detectives, translated from the German by Margaret Goldsmith, in just the same way. Read the rest of this entry