On the City of Florence’s Struggle to Get Back Dante’s Body | Literary Hub

Giovanni Boccaccio’s call for Florence to retrieve Dante’s corpse appears in retrospect to have been primarily an elaborate literary conceit. The city’s abusive treatment and subsequent unworthiness of Dante enabled Boccaccio to fulfill the principal aim of his biography—notably titled a “treatise in praise of Dante”—by casting the poet and his work as “divine.” Later [...]

Annual Report 2019 – Union for the Mediterranean – UfM

The UfM is an intergovernmental Euro-Mediterranean organisation that brings together the countries of the EU and 15 countries of the South and East Mediterranean. As a direct continuation of the Barcelona Process, the launch of the UfM in 2008 was a reflection of its 43 member states’ shared political commitment to the enhancement of the Euro-Mediterranean [...]

Ukrainian Railroad Ladies – The Washington Post

When asked about his inspiration for “Ukrainian Railroad Ladies,” a series of portraits of women who work as traffic controllers and safety officers, photographer Sasha Maslov said, “As a photographer I was drawn to the architecture and interiors of these buildings. As a storyteller I was attracted by the anthropological and social roles played by [...]

The Perils of Antoinette | by Hilary Mantel | The New York Review of Books

In Sofia Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette—as in Stephen Frears’s The Queen, about Elizabeth II—there are repeated scenes in which a rumpled royal person wakes up, dazed, and—yawning and rearranging herself—passes from the unreality of dreams to the unreality of a waking life as a queen. Coppola’s film has a beautiful sleepwalker at its center, and [...]

March of the Turanians: how Central Asian horselords shaped the modern world

From the 5th Century AD to the 12th Century AD, wave after wave of nomadic horse lords marched out of their Central Asian homelands, changing, forever, the course of history in Europe, South Asia and India, and, even, China. It all began with Attila the Hun, who, arguably, sounded the death knell of the Western [...]

Italy coronavirus lockdown: Poet Franco Arminio publishes phone number – The Washington Post

The poet was stuck in his house like everybody else in Italy, sleeping too little, buzzed with a sense of emergency and listlessness, and wondering how to fill the time. So over the weekend, he published his cellphone number on social media. He was an "old hypochondriac," he said, and was willing to talk. Anybody [...]

Hanging With the Wits and Dandies of the Belle Époque – The New York Times

Biographers usually tell the life story of a person with strong name recognition. It’s much harder to pull off the story of those who are largely forgotten. Few people today are likely to recognize Count Robert de Montesquiou, or Dr. Samuel Jean Pozzi, two of the principal figures in “The Man in the Red Coat.” [...]

Pablo Neruda Saved Thousands of War Refugees. Isabel Allende Imagines Two of Them. – The New York Times

In January of 1939, after three and a half years of devastating civil war, Francisco Franco defeated Spain’s Republican army at Barcelona, clinching a dictatorship that would last for nearly a half-century and displacing hundreds of thousands of soldiers, activists and Republican supporters. Many fled across the Pyrenees into France thinking they’d escaped the worst, [...]

Marrow and Bone – New York Review Books

West Germany, 1988, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall: Jonathan Fabrizius, a middle-aged erstwhile journalist, has a comfortable existence in Hamburg, bankrolled by his furniture-manufacturing uncle. He lives with his girlfriend Ulla in a grand, decrepit prewar house that just by chance escaped annihilation by the Allied bombers. One day Jonathan receives a [...]