Vintage £9.99 (498pp) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Venice: Pure City, By Peter Ackroyd
Friday 23 July 2010
Having drained London dry, Ackroyd has found a juicy new topic on the Adriatic. In this ironically titled study, La Serenissima gains an Ackroydian gloss, familiar to the many fans of his London: A Biography. Ackroyd's Venice is "the home of the dispossessed and the deracinated".
He stresses the metaphoric significance of water, so ubiquitous that the city is "a hydropic body" yet so rare in potable form that Venetians filled barrels at mainland rivers.
He suggests that this fluid situation, which gave employment to 10,000 gondoliers in the 16th century, creates "psychopathic tendencies. It has always been a city in a state of high anxiety."
His dark tapestry, replete with "venereal practices", "death and pestilence", deserves a place in every visitor's luggage with James Morris's Venice.
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 2 City traders pay £200 for a quick hangover cure
- 3 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gorillaz Phase 4: Cartoon supergroup is back as new artwork is unveiled
Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
As Better Call Saul launches, here are the other spin-off shows we need to see
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
President Putin is a dangerous psychopath - reason is not going to work with him