Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere

Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere

Book - 2001
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"One hundred years ago, Trieste was the chief seaport of the entire Austro-Hungarian empire, but today many people have no idea where it is. This Italian city on the Adriatic, bordering the former Yugoslavia, has always tantalized Jan Morris with its moodiness and melancholy. She has chosen it as the subject of this, her final work, because it was the first city she knew as an adult - initially as a young soldier at the end of World War II, and later as an elderly woman. This is not only her last book, but in many ways her most complex as well, for Trieste has come to represent her own life with all its hopes, disillusionments, loves and memories." "Jan Morris evokes Trieste's modern history - from the long period of wealth and stability under the Habsburgs, through the ambiguities of Fascism and the hardships of the Cold War. She has been going to Trieste for more than half a century and has come to see herself reflected in it: not just her interests and preoccupations - cities, empires, ships and animals - but her intimate convictions about such matters as patriotism, sex, civility and kindness. Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere is the culmination of a singular career."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, c2001
ISBN: 9780743201285
Characteristics: 203 p. : 1 map ; 23 cm


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Feb 03, 2017

It took me a long time to read this modestly sized volume because it constantly sent me scurrying down side-alleys to further explore a fantastic array of topics, people, events; some of them delightfully obscure. Who knew that two monks had invented an alphabet known as Glagolitic Script in order for Croats to be able to read the scriptures -- or even that such an alphabet exists at all? Morris treats the reader to fragments of Welsh romanticism, exploration of underground rivers, anecdotes about a fascinating cast of characters who appear in Trieste over the years -- Joyce, Stendhal, Baron Revoltella, Sir Richard Burton, Italo Svevo, Freud, and the list goes on. She examines the economics of the Habsburg empire, the aspirations of Risorgimento Italy, the cultural overlapping of Teutonic, Latin and Slav cultures, the intermingling of peoples to be found in a port city, the polyglot character of the Balkans, the shifting tides of war. And the geographic setting alone, a backwater at the far corner of the Adriatic, can lead to hours of poring through maps.
Finally, my sincere thanks to Jan Morris for introducing me to the works of Umberto Saba, a wonderful poet I had never known before.


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