Venice : Pure City

3.56 (757 ratings by Goodreads)
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Peter Ackroyd at his most magical and magisterial--a glittering, evocative, fascinating, story-filled portrait of Venice, the ultimate city. The Venetians' language and way of thinking set them aside from the rest of Italy. They are an island people, linked to the sea and to the tides rather than the land. This lat-est work from the incomparable Peter Ackroyd, like a magic gondola, transports its readers to that sensual and surprising city. His account embraces facts and romance, conjuring up the atmosphere of the canals, bridges, and sunlit squares, the churches and the markets, the festivals and the flowers. He leads us through the history of the city, from the first refugees arriving in the mists of the lagoon in the fourth century to the rise of a great mercantile state and its trading empire, the wars against Napoleon, and the tourist invasions of today. Everything is here: the merchants on the Rialto and the Jews in the ghetto; the glassblowers of Murano; the carnival masks and the sad colonies of lepers; the artists--Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto, Tiepolo. And the ever-present undertone of Venice's shadowy corners and dead ends, of prisons and punishment, wars and sieges, scandals and seductions. Ackroyd's "Venice: Pure City "is a study of Venice much in the vein of his lauded "London: The Biography." Like "London," "Venice "is a fluid, writerly exploration organized around a num-ber of themes. History and context are provided in each chap-ter, but Ackroyd's portrait of Venice is a particularly novelistic one, both beautiful and rapturous. We could have no better guide--reading "Venice: Pure City "is, in itself, a glorious journey to the ultimate more

Product details

  • Hardback | 403 pages
  • 165.1 x 236.22 x 35.56mm | 793.78g
  • Nan A. Talese
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations, maps
  • 0385531524
  • 9780385531528
  • 668,954

About Peter Ackroyd

PETER ACKROYD is the author of "Thames; London: The Biography"; "Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination"; "Shakespeare"; acclaimed biographies of T. S. Eliot, Charles Dickens, William Blake, and Sir Thomas More; several successful novels; and the series Ackroyd's Brief Lives. He has won the Whitbread Book Award for Biography, the Royal Society of Literature's William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the South Bank Award for more

Review quote

“Ackroyd provides a history of and meditation on the actual and imaginary Venice in a volume as opulent and paradoxical as the city itself. . . . How Ackroyd deftly catalogues the overabundance of the city’s real and literary tropes and touchstones is itself a kind of tribute to "La Serenissima," as Venice is called, and his seductive voice is elegant and elegiac. The resulting book is, like Venice, something rich, labyrinthine and unique that makes itself and its subject both new and necessary.” —"Publishers Weekly" Praise from the UK: "Ackroyd is hugely intelligent and formidably industrious; there can be few people, Venetian or foreign, who know Venice better than he." —John Julius Norwich, "The Telegraph " "Ackroyd covers an immense amount of ground with verve and elegance." —"The Independent " "Venice tends to provoke extreme reactions. People love it or hate it. Ackroyd’s response, however, is pleasingly complex. He obsshow more

Rating details

757 ratings
3.56 out of 5 stars
5 22% (168)
4 32% (244)
3 31% (231)
2 10% (79)
1 5% (35)
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