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Venice: Pure City (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – Rauer Buchschnitt, 2. November 2010

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  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 416 Seiten
  • Verlag: Nan A. Talese (2. November 2010)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0385531524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385531528
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 16,9 x 3,3 x 24,4 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 780.417 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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“Ackroyd — the marvelously erudite and staggeringly industrious English writer — [has compiled] an encyclopedic amount of general and arcane factual information and then [arranged] it less chronologically than thematically — much as one might encounter it in the course of a long walk over fascinating terrain in the company of a knowledgeable but never pedantic companion. It's an experience rendered all the more agreeable by the independent turn of Ackroyd's critical imagination and lapidary quality of his prose.”
Los Angeles Times

"Peter Ackroyd fully explores one of the world’s most undeniably glorious cities.... Like his acclaimed London, Ackroyd’s account isn’t a chronological history of this charming Italian metropolis. The structure and style of Venice is engagingly impressionistic and digressive.... Magnificently crafted."
The Boston Globe

"[Venice: Pure City] is a swarm - a storm - of dazzling details that coalesce into an artful picture.... Ackroyd's is a glittering introduction to Venice. There is not much new that can be said about the city, but Ackroyd says it with ripeness - like those Venetian pears, only now it is the reader's appetite that is whetted. Godspeed."
San Francisco Chronicle

"Ackroyd's marvelous book certainly adds to the allure of this magical metropolis."
Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Peter Ackroyd understands Venice, perhaps even better than modern Venetians. Venice: Pure Cityis a grand biography of a subject that is as complicated and labyrinthine as Venice’s tiny alleyways. It is impossible not to get lost there, and that is why Ackroyd may have been the best person to write such an insightful book.... He approaches Venice the way a scholar would a historical figure, because that’s what Venice is. Yet he isn’t locked into a timeline: He enjoys pushing the tides of history back and forth. It’s an engaging technique."
Newark Star-Ledger

"Thoughtful, thorough and insightful, [Ackroyd] is at least as much interpreter as historian. He brings this iconic city to vivid life ... While Venice is by no means an orthodox traveler's guide, it's a wonderful introduction to a city that has cast a particular spell since the fifth century ... A portrait so vivid it's aromatic ... Intoxicating."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"In an effortless style, [Ackroyd] seamlessly stitches the storied city's crazy quilt of past and present. The watery origins, the architecture that rises and seams to float on a sea of glass, the early settlers and the key players are all rendered with a historian's curiosity and a novelist's feel for plot."
The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA)

“Ackroyd provides a history of and meditation on the actual and imaginary Venice in a volume as opulent and paradoxical as the city itself. . . . How Ackroyd deftly catalogues the overabundance of the city’s real and literary tropes and touchstones is itself a kind of tribute to La Serenissima, as Venice is called, and his seductive voice is elegant and elegiac. The resulting book is, like Venice, something rich, labyrinthine and unique that makes itself and its subject both new and necessary.”
Publishers Weekly

Praise from the UK:

"Ackroyd is hugely intelligent and formidably industrious; there can be few people, Venetian or foreign, who know Venice better than he." —John Julius Norwich, The Telegraph

"Ackroyd covers an immense amount of ground with verve and elegance." —The Independent

"Venice tends to provoke extreme reactions. People love it or hate it. Ackroyd’s response, however, is pleasingly complex. He observes his subject with a forensic yet morally neutral eye. You can tell he is fascinated by the place; but he is not blind to its many flaws."  —The Times

"Irresistible, entrancing, occasionally weird but undeniably grand." —Literary Review


Peter Ackroyd at his most magical and magisterial - a glittering, evocative, fascinating, story-filled portrait of Venice: ultimate city. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.

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Wollten Sie schon immer mal wissen, wie Venedig entstanden ist, wie die Regierung funktioniert hat, warum Venedig immer besonders war. Und das alles in einer wunderschönen angenehmen Sprache. Dann haben Sie das richtige Buch gefunden.
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Von Detlev Hammann am 23. Dezember 2012
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Ich hatte vor drei Jahren Venedig besucht. Das Buch lässt den damaligen Besuch noch einmal Revue passieren und macht Lust auf einen weiteren Besuch, Sehr empfehlenswert.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 Rezensionen
54 von 58 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Shimmering, bejewelled account - and yet.... 24. September 2009
Von Anonymous - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Yes, this is magisterial, beautifully written - but, typically of Ackroyd, too many questionable sweeping assertions sometimes impede the flow of what should be a rollicking good read. For every "wow!" there is a corresponding "huh?" It can be argued this is what makes Ackroyd unique.

If you know and love Venice, you'll enjoy this. If you don't, it will pique your curiosity. And you might agree with Shakespeare's Holofernes: "Venetia, Venetia, chi non ti vede, non ti pretia!" (Venice - whoever doesn't see you, doesn't esteem you.)

Let's start with the "wow!" Wide-ranging, learned and instructive. As with his London: The Biography, Ackroyd dives headfirst into the water surrounding Venice's 117 islands, fishing for primal origins and finding it an elemental metaphor for the city. Chapter 2, "City of St Mark," deals with the refugees who settled there. Then comes the golden age of state power, commerce and trade. This also embraces the merchants of the Rialto and the Jews in the Ghetto.

By Chapter 6, Ackroyd is back in rhapsodic mode, with "Timeless City," including ruminations on the bells. The next section, "Living City," humanises the city, with fascinating subsections on Body and Buildings; Learning and Language; Colour and Light (fabulous work with the artists including Bellini, Tintoretto and Titan); and Pilgrims and Tourists. Then Ackroyd moves on to carnival and carnal aspects, including the "Eternal Feminine" (virgin and whore). Similarly, Sacred City considers heavenly and hellish aspects - which seem to win out in "Shadows of History" with its Death in Venice theme.

And now for the "huh?" factor. There's a lingering suspicion about some of the connections: is the mirror-like surface of the Lagoon like glass, which, conveniently made in Murano, stands as a metaphor for the City? Does Venetian satin, conveniently called watered silk, like the watery and "undulating" floor of St Mark's, echo the water surrounding the whole city? Are the pinky green stones of the buildings the colours of flesh and bone, thus personifying the entire urban building fabric? And is watery Venice a place of "liminal fantasies of death and rebirth?"

Some will be inspired, others irritated. But there's no denying Ackroyd's learning, creativity, gusto and grace.
33 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Inaccurate & Extremely Disappointing 23. September 2011
Von fuwanna - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I was really looking forward to reading this book, received it as a gift, and have been hugely disappointed in it. Contrary to what some published reviews have claimed, I think it's generally a very poorly written book: a hodegpodge of assertions without a hint of support, banal generalities, and inaccuracies.

Its scatter-shot style, along with the outdated nature of many of its observations, lead me to believe it was written over a long period of time: a piece of work the writer returned to in his spare time, rather than one coherent effort. Though published in 2009, Ackroyd's book is no more up-to-date than Mary McCarthy's classic VENICE PRESERVED (publ. 1963) and infinitely less informative and historically accurate.

For example, Ackroyd writes about the sacred place of the pigeon in Venice and the way in which a number of families still earn their living from selling pigeon feed in Piazza San Marco. You don't have to live in Venice, as I do, to know this is completely wrong. Simply read John Behrendt's CITY OF FALLING ANGELS (published a few years before Ackroyd's) to learn how the city actually rounds up pigeons for extermination and feeding pigeons--much less selling pigeon feed in San Marco--has been illegal for years.

Ackroyd also writes of Venice's huge population of cats. This was true in McCarthy's time, it was even true when I was here for a time in the early '90s, but I can tell you from firsthand observation that the vast--or even small--tribes of cats that Ackroyd evokes as a contemporary reality of Venice simply do not exist. You will generally be lucky to see 1 or 2 lolling on window ledges of some apartments.

I honestly have a hard time imagining who this book is intended for. If you know Venice well--or even just fairly well--you can't help but be annoyed by its many historical and contemporary inaccuracies. If you are new to the city, it will do little to provide a coherent or reliable historical background and its presentation of the contemporary life of the city is simply absurd. (I love Ackroyd's typically vague and purely anecdotal suggestion that the city drives its inhabitants mad--he refers to "insane cries" from a house in Castello. I live in Castello, my son attends school in Castello, and while there are plenty of oddities in the city (both in terms of local beliefs and inhabitants), you can take my word for it that Ackroyd has no actual clue what or who they are.)

There are many many fine books on Venice. My strong suggestion is to avoid this one.
20 von 22 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Solid and Interesting 13. Dezember 2010
Von Dancing Bear - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This was a very pleasant read. He gets right down into the dialect and persona of the Venetian citizen and makes a pretty convincing argument that their City and its history molded their character and world-view. There is a good overview of how the city was built over time. Their amazingly successful political structure is explained. He comes pretty close to capturing and expressing the mystique of Venice. When I go there, it is always a chameleon. Sometimes as old, filthy and smelly as a destitute subway platform. Sometimes, as charming, and ageless as a dreamscape that unfolds before your eyes. It's a unique city. If you've been there yourself, this book will add to your understanding of what you've experienced; and if you haven't been there, the book will introduce you to a fascinating people and place.
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
'Venice and Venice's Image are inseparable.' 10. August 2011
Von Grady Harp - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
The variations in response to this book VENICE: PURE CITY by Peter Ackroyd are puzzling at best. Perhaps the history of the writer's output has polarized the readers. Perhaps the integration of emotional and intellectual responses in the history of the rise and present sate of Venice makes the book uncomfortable for some. This reader became immersed in the mysteries that surround the history, the socialization of a swamp, the creation of a city on water, the ingredients that create the flavor of Venice visually, aurally, the particular types of influences of art (painting and music and architecture et al) and the interaction of this city with the great minds of our time such as Wagner, Proust, Henry James, Freud, Thomas Mann, Benjamin Britten, John Singer Sargent and on and on and on -it is simply a feast for the mind in Ackroyd's brilliant prose and in the many drawings and photographs and reproductions of the art and the city that grace this book.

Yes, there are likely more focused and accurate history books that take the reader on a chronological voyage through the rise and development of Venice, and if that is what the reader desires there are many books available that do just that. But what Ackroyd does that is so fascinating is to relate the history thematically, bouncing back and forth with contemporary knowledge of the Venice we know as played against the Venice of the past - all smoke and mirrors and delectable commentary. There is more to discover about the blend of society and the church and the wars and the peculiar aspects of a part of Italy that is actually not joined physically to that country. Ackroyd gives fine insights to the immigrant status of the sectors of Venice that few others have the courage to define.

But perhaps the true appeal of this book is that it feels to be written for the same passionate reason that many of us, past and present, feel about La Serenissima. It is a difficult response to define much less to put into written book form. It is a feeling, a magnetic draw that once instilled in the mind and heart is very difficult to sever. As a critic in the LA Times comments '"Ackroyd -- the marvelously erudite and staggeringly industrious English writer -- [has compiled] an encyclopedic amount of general and arcane factual information and then [arranged] it less chronologically than thematically -- much as one might encounter it in the course of a long walk over fascinating terrain in the company of a knowledgeable but never pedantic companion. It's an experience rendered all the more agreeable by the independent turn of Ackroyd's critical imagination and lapidary quality of his prose." Perhaps then this book is for Romantics who love history - but who love Venice even more. Grady Harp, August 11
10 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Sloppy thinking and sloppy writing from an author way out of his depth 15. Oktober 2011
Von Adriano Hundhausen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I bought this book after having read Ackroyd's impressive "Life of Thomas More" (published 1991), and have now been left wondering what happened to Ackroyd in the meantime. His book on More is tight and compelling, whereas this one is as sloppy as they come. The most infuriating thing about "Pure City" is that in this book, at least, Ackroyd enjoys a good over-generalization just as much as the Marquis de Sade enjoyed a good spanking.

Let me give you one of the most egregious examples. The last chapter of "Pure City" is supposedly about Venetian music, its character, and its part in the life of the city. But the chapter is essentially about one particular composer, Vivaldi, and mentions - in passing - but one other Venetian composer (Galuppi). Vivaldi may indeed be the best-known Venetian composer, but can we generalize from him to ALL of Venetian music? Ackroyd does exactly that, and claims not only that Vivaldi was the "acme" of Venetian music, but that Venetian music is marked by a "ferocious gaiety", and "provokes astonishment and admiration, rather than contemplation. Yet it could also be unruly and abrupt, with sudden and unexpected turns both in melody and harmony. It is often eccentric or extravagant. It sometimes relishes strangeness, or what were known as bizzarria. It has an eastern flavour." Now anyone with a deeper knowledge of Venetian music than that which comes from owning a recording of the Four Seasons will see the problem here. To give just the easiest of counter-examples: Giovanni Gabrieli was surely more "Venetian" in his musical education, and had more influence on later musicians both in Venice and in the rest of Europe, than Vivaldi. And yet if, when listening to Gabrieli, you are struck by anything resembling "ferocious gaiety" or "bizzarria", then you will need to get your head checked. Why did Ackroyd insist on including this chapter in the book, when it appears that he has never bothered to listen to music by more than one Venetian composer?

At least Ackroyd's over-generalizations about music can be disputed. Other statements in "Pure City" are so vague as to lose all possible meaning. Try this paragraph: "From the 14th to the 18th centuries Venice became the city of luxury goods. Luxury may be defined as a form of erotic display, a deep response to the refinements of sensation. It suggests delicacy and rarefied pleasure. One need hardly add that it encourages further and further consumption. We need many things as the staples of life, but we desire even more. Desire lies in the open mouth of the consumer. Venice has always been known as a sensual city, whether in the ubiquity of its courtesans or in the lush canvases of its painters" etc. Perhaps the wine I drink is not as airy-fairy good as Ackroyd's, because for me, the only information contained in this paragraph is: Venice had something to do with luxury goods. Can YOU see what Ackroyd means when he writes that "desire lies in the open mouth of the consumer?" Or how about these two gems, from captions for the book's illustrations: "Glass is material sea." "In Venice oil paint can be liquid music."

Even when Ackroyd's thinking in "Pure City" is not as sloppy as the above examples, he often compensates with sloppy prose. Describing Venetians' devotion to the Virgin, he writes that "There were artists who did nothing else but execute cheap images of the Madonna known disparagingly as madonnieri." Ackroyd's placement of "madonnieri" in this sentence would lead you to believe that the images were called by this name, while in reality the word - with its "iere" ending - refers to the artists who created them. A simple change in word order would eliminate the ambiguity, and I bet Ackroyd is old enough to remember the days when a sentence as slipshod as this one would never have made it past a Year 10 English teacher.

Or for just one final example, look at this passage about collecting: "Private collecting was a Venetian phenomenon of the 16th and 17th centuries. It created new forms of demand, and new methods of accumulation; it made the act of possession intrinsically worthwhile. The consumer could pose as the connoisseur. The sybarite could become a humanist saint. He was called a virtuoso. The first known collections were Venetian, dating from the 14th century. But the obsession with studioli or curiosity shops just grew and grew." What could Ackroyd possibly be trying to achieve by putting the 14th century after the 17th century here? Did this book even have an editor?

In short, if you are in prison and your keeper offers you nothing to read but "Venice: Pure City," then by all means open it up. Otherwise save your money for books whose authors take their work seriously.
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