Elizabeth Bowen: A Time in Rome Penguin Travel Library



Of great swathes of Rome Difficult to get into and maybe not everyone s cup of tea but I d be ying if I said I didn t enjoy it A wonderful blend of history travel writing and biography all blended into one To me it brought my favourite city in the world to Scruples Two life perfectly non fiction An Irish woman spends a month in Rome and writes about it Some history some practical advice some walking toursI think that it s possible that this book will be interesting immediately after or while one is in Rome I didn t have the picture of the city in my head vividly enough in order to follow what she was saying aot of the time A bit rambling but in a way I found pleasant as if I were inside the writer s mind This is the kind of book that makes me want to be friends with the author She has the wonderful ability to imagine a place as it once must have been A guidebook can tell you where to go and even give you some history but it doesn t transport you back in time Highly recommended for What Janie Found (Janie Johnson, leisurely reading before a trip to Rome This was a huge slog barely making it through 2 or 3 pages at a time If ever something was going to put me off returning to Rome it will be this book I was hoping there would be some historical context she s writing in the 1950s that might contrast with my own memories of the city but there s just endless paragraph after endless paragraph of descriptions of what direction all the roads run in and how the Palatine was expanded by X emperor and I can t even remember what most of those 200 pages were filled with it was just mind numbingly tedious I m sorry to not be able to ateast appreciate what is considered a classic even if I don t enjoy it but I was so happy to finish this one and it s going straight to the charity shop This is emphatically NOT a guidebook of Rome it is a personal response to Rome together with some interesting historical and cultural details It is beautifully written and a pleasure to read. Mans' dining posture and the Roman temperament She evokes the city's moods by day when it is characterised by golden sunlight and at night when the blaze of the moon 'annihilates history'.

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Very dated And not entirely convincing She wrote this about Rome with a nominally authoritative voice after staying in a hotel in the city for a few months over Easter in the 1950s Come on A strange stream of consciousness combination of tedious descriptions of her daily wanderingshotel roomrestaurant visits dull descriptions of her reading a description of the Forum from a guide book and various historical essays and musings I believe it s considered a classic in some uarters but I found it a real struggle Not my cup of tea dear This one is away from my usual reading genre but was a ast minute grab off the ocal Silver Tower / Strike Force / Shadow Command library shelf for holiday reading Relevant only as my holiday destination was RomaElizabeth Bowen s A Time in Rome is a travelogue of the eternal city where the author spent some considerable time in 1958 Her book was published in 1959Bowen was of AngloIrish descent who wrote novels from the 1920 s through to theate 1960 s The writing is very dated now with it s terribly terribly upper class clipped BBC style that one doesn t hear much today darling However the subject matter is still uite alive I read this during my journey to Rome and did gain some ideas of places to visit what is the book is certainly written with intimate detail and provides a personal portrait of the city that is not attainable from contemporary travel guides It s fine enough but Bowen is no Eleanor Clark Read Rome and a Villa instead There was a time when I considered moving to Rome A friend of mine needed a roommate and I had been in Florence five years I decided to put it on trial for a week However I never managed to strike up a bracing intimacy with the eternal city no matter how many Explosive Acts long walks I took Often Rome felt to meike a scrapbook of history Or else a ot of provincial towns meshed together a sensation perhaps brought about by the small town nature of the river The Tiber isn t a big city river Crossing the river at night. Elizabeth Bowen's account of a time spent in Rome is no ordinary guidebook but an evocation of a city its history its architecture and above all its atmosphere She describes the famous cl.

Or in the early hours of the morning in London Paris Prague or even Florence is to feel all the confusion within oneself ift is to be given for a moment wings On the other hand it s possible to cross the Tiber without even noticing Early on Bowen takes exception to the concept of the siesta This surprised me To my mind the siesta plays a big part in making Italian cities the Academia de Rowan (A Tapeçaria least neurotic in all of Europe The siesta often compels you to find nourishment from within If all the shops are closed you reikely to be creative in your time keeping Siesta for me is often a time of intimacy not east of all with oneself Many of the frivolous distractions of contemporary ife are closed When I first arrived in Italy the siesta made me realise how neurotic I was Probably it had the same effect on Bowen except she didn t stay Two Reels And A Crank long enough to realise the fault was hers and not the culture s Another oddity was she doesn t mention Caravaggio once Neither does she mention Michelangelo One of my top five attractions of Rome was coming across a Caravaggio in a dark dusty church especially the Madonna in Sant Agostino Though Caravaggio hadong since been out of favour when Bowen wrote her book here was an opportunity to take issue with one of history s damning and erroneous decrees That said neither Keats nor Shelley recognised Caravaggio s wild genius either We Queens Gambit (The Tudor Trilogy, learnittle about Bowen herself in this book A shame Instead she strives to be scholarly which mostly bored me Rome is a place to share with a best friend not a tour guide There was a great eight page magazine article in this book but Bowen was a ong way short of inspiration to fill 230 pages Lovely but challenging read Having been to Rome myself I enjoyed this evocation of it s atmosphere However this is not a story or even a journal It is simply descriptive prose ranging from retelling stories or ives of notable individuals history of Roman society and Bowen s own impressions. Assical sites conjuring from the ruins visions of former inhabitants and their often bloody activities and speculates about the immense noise of ancient Rome the problems caused by the Ro.

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Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen CBE was an Anglo Irish novelist and short story writer