Big Trouble in Little Bronte

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Which British hero links Mount Etna and Wuthering Heights? The answer hasn’t any connection with Heathcliff or Catherine Earnshaw, however volcanic their emotional lives, and the violent death of the figure in question occurred 42 years before the novel’s publication. Will it help if I add that but for his demise, its author might nowadays […]

The People Have Spoken

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

While on holiday three years ago in Taormina, Sicily, I found in a souvenir shop swimming trunks in the Italian colours with a picture of Mussolini in full military fig. The bathers bore the caption ‘Benito Mussolini, grande statista Italiano, 1883–1945’ (‘Benito Mussolini, great Italian statesman, 1883–1945’). The recent revival of the Duce’s reputation makes […]

The Poet-King of Fiume

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

There is no decent way of containing the excesses of Gabriele d’Annunzio’s lives. It would astonish his contemporaries to discover that he is now only faintly remembered outside Italy. Even within Italy, though firmly entrenched in the literary canon, he is most commonly recalled with a sort of collective cringe. For once upon a time, […]

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