Can’t Spell Rome Without Emo : Stendhal – “Rome, Naples, and Florence”

“I would like, after having seen Italy, to drink the waters of Lethe at Naples, then forget it all so I could restart my journey. That’s how I want to spend the rest of my days.” – Stendhal.

ABOVE: There’s a good chance that’s actually a painting about Greece.

Few writers get a neurological condition named after them. Henri-Marie Beyle gave the world a name for what happens when one is excessively moved by a work of art, (a transcendental painting, a stirring tune, architecture at its finest): The Stendhal Syndrome. Everything shakes Stendhal to the core in “Rome, Naples and Florence,” his travel diary. He’s always half in ecstasy, whether he’s attending long-forgotten operas , growing ponderous about the ruins of Pompey, walking around the urbs aeterna, or simply flirting with the girls in Milan (most of the book takes place there, title be damned.). To stumble upon “Rome, Naples, and Florence” is like being privy to a confessional blog from two centuries ago, one written by an eloquent but decidedly emo young traveler.

RATING: GOOD ENOUGH, read mostly for inspiration, (working on a story partially set in Italy.)


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