Saturday, January 27, 2018
A wood which has become the extension
Once the woods around here were cultivated for their various uses: brush for fires and ovens, wood for fuel, tools and farmwork and to make charcoal.
Friends of ours near Panzano in Chianti have spent endless hours clearing the brush, brambles, stunted trees and bushes from the wood above their house.
Monday, January 15, 2018
George Eliot and the Passage of Time in Florence
"...a world-famous city, which has hardly changed its outline since the days of Columbus, ...seeming to stand as an almost unviolated symbol...to remind us that we still resemble the men of the past more than we differ from them..."
|Florence in 1490: bird's eye view from the west|
In her novel Romola (1862-63) George Eliot (or Mary Anne Evans) offers a vision of Florence which, besides displaying her deep grasp of the history, language and culture of the city during the Renaissance, regales the modern reader with a vivid portrait of the town at the height of its glory.
But it is her Proem which interests me here. Eliot begins her preamble to Romola by underlining how little many world-famous cities have changed over the centuries, at least at their historical hearts. Her assertion held truer in the 19th century than it does in the 21st, but in the case of historical Florence, it is arguably still - miraculously - the case.