Voyage en Italie - François-René de Chateaubriand. A translation into English by A. S. Kline. Published with selected illustrations.
Chateaubriand’s Voyage en Italie, describes his Italian travels in the years 1803-4, during the first of his visits to the country. From France he crossed the Alps to Rome and its environs, from which he subsequently travelled to Naples, where Vesuvius, Baiae, and Pompeii figured amongst the sights he visited. His knowledge of the Classical world informs his wanderings among its ruins, and he enjoys the poetry of the picturesque while reflecting on the grandeur of the past. Rome, for him, represents a meeting of the Classical and Christian worlds, magnificent but in many ways a hollow tribute to human vanity, a theme he will revisit in his later travels to Greece, the Levant and the Holy Land. Naples represents a more picturesque and vibrant Italy. Articulating both cultural quest and voyage for pleasure, Chateaubriand writes of his journey as a ‘tourist’ rather than a scholar or adventurer, penning the work in the form of letters, derived from his travel notes and designed for his interested friends. Here he mingles personal memories with aesthetic and historical perceptions, against the background in which he is most at home, the European heritage, the works of the great poets, landscape and ruins, allowing him to muse freely on transience, the human voyage, and on beauty, found or created.
This and other texts available from Poetry in Translation (www.poetryintranslation.com).