Saturday, May 28, 2016

Venice as Seen and Described by Famous Writers

Esther Singleton - Venice as Seen and Described by Famous Writers (1905) direct link
Open Library main page

Esther Singleton (1865-1930) did an entire series of these "Seen and Described by Famous Writers" books: paintings, portraits, buildings, Japan, Germany, London, Paris, Russia.  I chose this one not only because it's the first I encountered but because Venice is fascinating on so many levels.  This is, after all, the city that simply ignored when its entire population was excommunicated by Pope Julius II in a power struggle.

Ruskin is here of course but also Dickens, Taine, Gautier, Symonds and several writers unfamiliar to me.  Topics cover not just the usual historical background and architecture but also night, summer, paintings, carnival, floods, mosaics, holidays, gondolas, melancholy.

Singleton was a remarkably prolific writer.  In addition to this series she wrote books on opera, dolls, cities, the White House, collecting, furniture and at least one novel (Daughter of the Revolution).  Surprisingly I can't find much about her except that she was a violinist at one point.