A CITY AND A WORLD: A Roman Sketchbook by Bernard Wall

A CITY AND A WORLD: A Roman Sketchbook

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Bernard Wall is an Englishman, and a Roman Catholic, and a sometime Editor of The Twentieth Century, who has lived in Rome, off and on, for thirty-five years. His book is properly entitled a ""sketchbook"", for it is a potpourri of reminiscences about Rome and its people and in no sense a guide book to churches and ruins. He has included some appreciations of Italian writers he has known, including Alberto Moravia, and even a few of his own poems. He is at his best, however, when he is talking about Roman people and customs and the different parts of the city -- the modern suburban slum of the Borgate; Trastevere; the Cafe Greco, where expatriates gathered before the war; the Roman Campagna, past and present, where highwayen survived into the 19th century, modern Roman marriage; an evening with his friend Giorgio, an impecunious nobleman with an enormously fat and literary brother; an excursion to a sense at an outlying village. The late Pope's funeral is the occasion for a brilliant piece of reportage on the Romans' morbid fascination with dead bodies, and the popular resentment against the papal inner circle. A nagging feeling tat even such disparate material could have been a little better organized (what is ""in conclusion"" should have come first, etc.) is the only thing to spoil his enjoyable book.

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 1962
Publisher: Norton