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Italian Hours

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  205 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Of all James' travel writings, this volume holds the most pleasure for the reader -- as a warm, careful introduction to a beloved country, as a happy experience shared, and as one of the world's great examples of expository writing.
Published July 30th 1999 by Ecco (first published 1909)
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Oct 20, 2013 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published slightly more than a century ago and containing essays written over a period of forty years, this collection reveals Henry James at his fondest, his love affair with Italy being everywhere evident, even when he is not shy about revealing the shortcomings and flaws of the country and its people. He opens the volume with essays about Venice, and his perceptive vision and fine ear for language conjure such a faithful picture of the city that those who have been there in person are immedia ...more
Dec 14, 2011 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you love HJ's style and are charmed by Italian cities and towns, this is a must read. But, if you find James' writing unbearable, regardless of how much you adore Italy, don't bother -- he's as fusty, complex, and interminable as ever here. And I was smiling on every page.
Stuart Fail
Sep 06, 2008 Stuart Fail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This man was an unbelievably good writer. His descriptions were poetic and simple and precise. Wonderful book for lovers of Italy.
May 18, 2014 Mindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I set out to make my reading list for our Italy trip and really liked some of the snippets I came across when flipping through Italian Hours. I'll admit that it sometimes read like Italian Hours ... and Hours .. and Hours, but those little bits that so captured the sights and experiences that we were also having in Italy kept me going. I gathered some quotes throughout that I'm planning on putting in our photo album. I liked the witty and humourous moments, especially James's description of t ...more
Jen Holman
Feb 21, 2014 Jen Holman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally got this book with the intention of reading James' memoirs of his time in Italy from front to back. For those who managed to do so, kudos. However, as you may expect from James, it is quite wordy and after a while you can find yourself feeling quite swamped - and so I have found it much more pleasant to use the section headings and index to find the relevant passages and read them as a I travel to those places myself. Since it was not written chronologically in the first place and i ...more
Andrew Ives
This book irritated me in the extreme and I had to give up after 20% after reading the parts about Venice, then some later parts about Milan. To say this book was overly verbose would be an understatement. Reading Henry James is somewhat reminiscent of reading a long-winded Google translation of some prosaic Japanese in English. Almost all direction and meaning is hidden behind a flurry of adjectives and the kind of wishy-washy twaddle that only art critics can concoct. In addition to this, the ...more
Kelly Hevel
Mar 23, 2016 Kelly Hevel marked it as gave-up  ·  review of another edition
I tried, I really tried. And while the first few pages were lovely eventually the endless rambling descriptions wore me down and I had to give this one up.
Aug 04, 2012 Davidm rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I began reading this while in Italy this year. . .and then had to finish. . . if you don't like James. . .well, it's all James all the time in this nonfiction collection of James' Italian memories. . . there are beautiful paragraphs, even gorgeous pages, but there are dry spots as well. . .and James' patronizing attitude can at times be annoying.
Joe Gande
Nov 03, 2012 Joe Gande rated it it was ok
Though this book was very interesting...I loved the subject matter....and it contained many beautifully written descriptions, personal thoughts an thought provoking moments..I do have to say I found it a bit boring, longwinded and very pretentious..I found myself skipping around a lot trying to find sections that I could enjoy...
Grindy Stone
Feb 09, 2013 Grindy Stone rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I Frisbeed this to the ground after about 40 pages. The literary equivalent of watching your neighbors' home movies from the month they spent in Europe. This is only recommended for the most hardcore of Henry James fans.
Feb 05, 2012 Jamie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
aside from the fact that James felt the poverty of Venetians at the time was a good thing because it gave the place its ambience, it was just so repetitive...I felt sea-sick after awhile.
Mowena Glunch
Old-fashioned travelogue by a great writer. I read various portions of before and during a return trip to Italy-git the texture, depth, and context I wanted.
Marie Bouteille
Aug 03, 2011 Marie Bouteille rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the atmosphere as described by Henry James, as usual.
Cecília Martins
Lindo, mas um tanto denso.
Impossible to review.
I read it primarily for description of the places I was living in and visiting. Some of it is lovely, some amusing, much is art review of a rather precious sort. Skimmed large sections, enjoyed others. Would not read again, unless research.
Feb 20, 2012 Tim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
travel writing
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Henry James, OM, son of theologian Henry James Sr., brother of the philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James, was an American-born author, one of the founders and leaders of a school of realism in fiction. He spent much of his life in England and became a British subject shortly before his death. He is primarily known for a series of major novels in which he portrayed the ...more
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“It takes a great deal to make a successful American, but to make a happy Venetian takes only a handful of quick sensibility. The” 0 likes
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