Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Italian Journey - ( Item 113699 )
Published in London by Folio Society. 2010. First Thus. Near Fine Quarter-Leather Hardback. Page edges very slightly marked. No inscriptions or bookplates. Very Good+ slipcase. Some marks to panels of slipcase. Quarter-bound in buckram. Front board printed with an engraving of the Colosseum. Set in Bembo. 536 pages. Frontispiece and 32 pages of colour and black & white plates. 11 x 7 1/4 ins. In 1786, the great German writer Johann von Goethe took a lightning decision to leave his work, friends and family. Catching the first mail coach, Goethe set off to visit Italy, the setting of his beloved classics: 'the goal by which I have been so long obsessed that it has almost gone stale in my mind'. It was a personal and artistic quest: Goethe gloried in the ruins of classical Rome, thrilled to the masterpieces of the Renaissance and was soon infected by the gaiety and light of a southern clime, finding much to marvel at, from the humble olive tree to his first sighting of the sea at Venice. For those familiar with Goethe and the Sturm und Drang literary movement, his Italian Journey will prove a delightful surprise. He reveals his intimate thoughts on matters ranging from the leaning tower of Pisa to the future Lady Hamilton posing in Greek costume. Often slyly comic ('It is my habit, as you know, to keep trying the patience of my friends'), Goethe includes some irresistibly funny anecdotes – such as the day he was nearly arrested as a spy for sketching the fort of Malcesine – as well as fascinating insights into the writer's process of composition. On his Grand Tour, Goethe met the leading figures of his day, from Neapolitan royalty to artists like Angelica Kauffmann and J. H. W. Tischbein. With restless curiosity and a keen eye for observation he muses on everything from the way farmers deterred passers-by from eating their grapes to the volcanic eruption which occurred while he was visiting Vesuvius. Writing in beautifully cadenced prose, Goethe is an ideal companion, his journey a privilege to share.
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