July 27, 2007

Mornings In Florence

by John Ruskin

This little book was meant to be carried in the hand, along with a guidebook, by British travelers in Florence. I'm musing on a book chapter about the hypertextuality of travel writing — the way the travel book links to other books, to sidebars and lists and maps, and to artifacts and locations. This one is an early, and fascinating, example of the species. Ruskin moves neatly from instructing his readers on the quality of 14th century sculpture to the vacuity of dinner parties abroad where everyone talks sentimentally of Italy and exchanges the latest news from London and New York.