Books & Literary Travel

This category focuses on books about Italy, including novels, Italy memoirs, and guidebooks.

The Roman Spring of Tennessee Williams

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In the late winter/early spring of 1948, American playwright Tennessee Williams arrived in Rome in need of a change of scenery. Williams, of course, is known for his writing set in the American South, including “A Streetcar Named Desire” (written in 1947) and “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” (1955), both of which earned him Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. But few people know – or, perhaps, they have forgotten – that Tennessee Williams was also inspired by his short stay in the Eternal City.

“As soon as I crossed the Italian border, my health and life seemed to be magically restored. There was the sun and there were the smiling Italians,” Williams wrote in his Memoirs.

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The Real Pinocchio

Last November, the New York Review of Books released Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio under its NYRB Classics imprint. The tale, as reviewed by Tim Parks in the latest issue, is much darker than the Disneyfied version.

After the jump is Parks’ full review. As always, I urge you to subscribe to NYRB; they often review books on Italy and even have an Italian version, La Rivista dei Libri.

By the way, if you’re visiting Tuscany with kids, you may be interested in venturing to the Parco di Pinocchio in the author’s hometown of Collodi (Carlo Lorenzini adopted the town’s name for his nom de plume).

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