Trieste Full Of Dolours Essay Research Paper

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Trieste, Full Of Dolours Essay, Research Paper Trieste, full of doloursTrieste and the Meaning of NowhereJan MorrisFaber ?16.99, pp194For more than 50 years Jan Morris has captured the genius loci of cities. Her books on Venice, Oxford, Manhattan, Hong Kong and Sydney are remarkable evocations of those places. Her latest work is a fan-letter to one of her favourite places. Since she first visited it as a soldier at the end of the Second World War Trieste has haunted Morris and she has written widely about it. In Fifty Years Of Europe (1997), she used the city as a leitmotif. The book started and ended there and each of her five thematic sections had its starting-point in the city. Morris wrote then that she never did finish her maudlin essay about the place. She has now

finally produced a more detailed exploration of this ‘hallucinatory city’. Tracing its tangled history from its rise to wealth and fame under the Hapsburgs, through the years of Fascist rule to the Cold War, she paints a vivid portrait. In the best Morrisian tradition she delves into the city’s street life, describing the atmosphere (both past and present) along the waterfront and surrounding sea as well as the architecture and public monuments. Morris likes attributing human characteristics to cities; for her, Trieste, is full of ’sweet melancholy’. She associates the city with nowhereness and feels alone there – even when with friends. Trademarks of the Morris literary style – the use of sound effects to bring out the ambience, anecdotes laced with humour, and,

above all, an affectionate enthusiasm – run through the book. Another trick she employs is looking at the past through the eyes of the present. Her research and knowledge is thorough. She always travels with a finely tuned antenna and has a well-furnished mind. Morris invokes the work of other writers. Not surprisingly, Joyce looms large, as he was inspired to write Ulysses in Trieste; quotations from him are sprinkled throughout the text and there are references to many other writers, including Ivan Bunin, Claudio Magris and Italo Svevo.Morris delights in sharing many Triestine experiences and slips in appealing nuggets of information which she has gleaned over the years: there is a street in the Old City named after the bora, the ferocious wind that blows through it in

winter; the former mayor, Riccardo Illy, ‘never wears a tie with his beautiful modish suits’; a poll in 1999 claimed that 70 per cent of Italians did not know Trieste was in Italy at all. Morris happily admits that her book is self-indulgent. As she wanders aimlessly around the city streets so too her mind wanders. She goes off at a tangent exploring themes and preoccupations in her life. This brings an extra edge to her writing and allows her to discuss subjects that interest her such as Jewishness, exile, nationalism, cities, ships and kindness. Each chapter is preceded with a black and white photograph that perfectly suits the mood. But for anyone not familiar with the topography of the place, a map in the preliminary pages or on the end papers to check the layout of the

streets would have been extremely useful. Like so many of Morris’s other atmospheric works, reading Trieste makes you want to book a flight straight away (although, as she points out, at the start of the twenty-first century Munich was the only city outside Italy that had direct scheduled flights to Trieste, Ryanair now flies daily from London); on arrival the first coffee-port of call would be the Caffe San Marco. Morris has long been a connoisseur of European coffee houses and this one still maintains its high bourgeois tradition.Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere throbs with love for the place. It is neither guide book, travel memoir, nor a chronological history but is a relaxing, reflective essay written from a personal perspective by someone who clearly knows the place