Book review: A Literary Tour Of Italy
Tim Parks is perfectly placed to give us an armchair tour of Italian literature. But the book feels incomplete
There’s little sense in the English-speaking world of an Italian literary tradition that can stand alongside our vastly more substantial understanding of a French or German one. How did the language of European self-knowledge, of Dante’s sacred (or sacred-ish) poetry and Petrarch’s secular model collapse into a language largely associated with crime fiction and travel-brochure kitsch? Why does Italy’s literature in translation usually say so much more about English than it does Italian?