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A Brief History of Venice

By Elizabeth Horodowich

Venice grew out of the swamps of Italy and became one of the great mercantile and cultural centers of the world. Elizabeth Horodowich, one of the leading historians of the city, tells the whole story, showing that Venice, alongside Florence and Rome, was one of the great Renaissance capitals.

The book will also investigate the history of Venice + Read More..
Venice grew out of the swamps of Italy and became one of the great mercantile and cultural centers of the world. Elizabeth Horodowich, one of the leading historians of the city, tells the whole story, showing that Venice, alongside Florence and Rome, was one of the great Renaissance capitals.

The book will also investigate the history of Venice as a multicultural trading city where Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived together at the crossroads between East and West. The narrative runs all the way to the present to the current problems with the sinking island.
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A Traveller’s Companion to Venice

By John Julius Norwich

Bringing to life Florence's glorious history in first-hand accounts.

Reactions to Venice have been, throughout the ages, astonishingly different. Henry James wrote passionately: "You desire to embrace it, to caress it, to possess it..." whereas Mark Twain found St. Mark's "so ugly...Propped on its long row of thick-legged columns, its back knobbed with domes, it seem like a vast, + Read More..
Bringing to life Florence's glorious history in first-hand accounts.

Reactions to Venice have been, throughout the ages, astonishingly different. Henry James wrote passionately: "You desire to embrace it, to caress it, to possess it..." whereas Mark Twain found St. Mark's "so ugly...Propped on its long row of thick-legged columns, its back knobbed with domes, it seem like a vast, warty bug taking a medieval walk."

In this dazzling anthology, James and Twain along with the writings of Byron, Goethe, Wagner, Casanova, Jan Morris, Robert Browning, and Horace Walpole, among many others, are all featured. Ranging from the days of the sixth century, when the early lagoon-dwellers lived "like sea-birds, in huts built on heaps of osiers" to the exquisite city of eighteenth-century revelers and nineteenth-century art lovers-the city's many different guises are revealed as its inhabitants and visitors saw them.

This favorite volume from the Traveller's Companion series also contains maps, engravings, and notes on history, art and architecture, and everyday city life. Highly entertaining and informative.
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A Venetian Affair: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in the 18th Century

By Andrea Di Robilant

In the waning days of Venice’s glory in the mid-1700s, Andrea Memmo was scion to one the city’s oldest patrician families. At the age of twenty-four he fell passionately in love with sixteen-year-old Giustiniana Wynne, the beautiful, illegitimate daughter of a Venetian mother and British father. Because of their dramatically different positions in society, they could not marry. + Read More..
In the waning days of Venice’s glory in the mid-1700s, Andrea Memmo was scion to one the city’s oldest patrician families. At the age of twenty-four he fell passionately in love with sixteen-year-old Giustiniana Wynne, the beautiful, illegitimate daughter of a Venetian mother and British father. Because of their dramatically different positions in society, they could not marry. And Giustiniana’s mother, afraid that an affair would ruin her daughter’s chances to form a more suitable union, forbade them to see each other.

Her prohibition only fueled their desire and so began their torrid, secret seven-year-affair, enlisting the aid of a few intimates and servants (willing to risk their own positions) to shuttle love letters back and forth and to help facilitate their clandestine meetings. Eventually, Giustiniana found herself pregnant and she turned for help to the infamous Casanova–himself infatuated with her.

Two and half centuries later, the unbelievable story of this star-crossed couple is told in a breathtaking narrative, re-created in part from the passionate, clandestine letters Andrea and Giustiniana wrote to each other.
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Alibi: A Novel

By Joseph Kanon

Winner of the Hammett Prize

It is 1946, and Adam Miller has come to Venice to visit his widowed mother and try to forget the horrors he has witnessed as a U.S. Army war crimes investigator in Germany. But when he falls in love with Claudia, a Jewish woman scarred by her devastating experiences during World War II, he + Read More..
Winner of the Hammett Prize

It is 1946, and Adam Miller has come to Venice to visit his widowed mother and try to forget the horrors he has witnessed as a U.S. Army war crimes investigator in Germany. But when he falls in love with Claudia, a Jewish woman scarred by her devastating experiences during World War II, he is forced to confront another Venice, a city still at war with itself, haunted by atrocities it would rather forget.

Everyone, including his mother's suave new Venetian suitor, has been compromised by the occupation, and Adam finds himself at the center of a web of deception, intrigue, and unexpected moral dilemmas. When is murder acceptable? What are the limits of guilt? How much is someone willing to pay for a perfect alibi?

Alibi is at once a murder mystery, a love story, and a superbly crafted novel about the nature of moral responsibility.
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Brunetti’s Venice: Walks with the City’s Best-Loved Detective

By Toni Sepeda

Follow Commissario Guido Brunetti, star of Donna Leon’s internationally best-selling mystery series, on over a dozen walks that highlight Venice’s churches, markets, bars, cafes, and palazzos
In Brunetti’s Venice, tourists and armchair travelers follow in the footsteps of Brunetti as he traverses the city he knows and loves. With his acute eye for change in his native city, his + Read More..
Follow Commissario Guido Brunetti, star of Donna Leon’s internationally best-selling mystery series, on over a dozen walks that highlight Venice’s churches, markets, bars, cafes, and palazzos
In Brunetti’s Venice, tourists and armchair travelers follow in the footsteps of Brunetti as he traverses the city he knows and loves. With his acute eye for change in his native city, his fascination with the past, his ear for language and his passion for food and drink, and his familiarity with the dark realities of crime and corruption, Brunetti is the perfect companion for any walk across La Serenissima.

Over a dozen walks, encompassing all six regions of Venice as well as the lagoon, lead readers down calli, over canali, and through campi. Important locations from the best-selling novels are highlighted and major themes and characters are explored, all accompanied by poignant excerpts from the novels. This is a must-have companion book for any lover of Donna Leon’s wonderful mysteries.
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City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas

By Roger Crowley

“The rise and fall of Venice’s empire is an irresistible story and [Roger] Crowley, with his rousing descriptive gifts and scholarly attention to detail, is its perfect chronicler.” The Financial Times

The New York Times bestselling author of Empires of the Sea charts Venice’s astounding five-hundred-year voyage to the pinnacle of power in an epic story that stands + Read More..
“The rise and fall of Venice’s empire is an irresistible story and [Roger] Crowley, with his rousing descriptive gifts and scholarly attention to detail, is its perfect chronicler.” The Financial Times

The New York Times bestselling author of Empires of the Sea charts Venice’s astounding five-hundred-year voyage to the pinnacle of power in an epic story that stands unrivaled for drama, intrigue, and sheer opulent majesty.

City of Fortune traces the full arc of the Venetian imperial saga, from the ill-fated Fourth Crusade, which culminates in the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, to the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1499–1503, which sees the Ottoman Turks supplant the Venetians as the preeminent naval power in the Mediterranean. In between are three centuries of Venetian maritime dominance, during which a tiny city of “lagoon dwellers” grow into the richest place on earth. Drawing on firsthand accounts of pitched sea battles, skillful negotiations, and diplomatic maneuvers, Crowley paints a vivid picture of this avaricious, enterprising people and the bountiful lands that came under their dominion.

From the opening of the spice routes to the clash between Christianity and Islam, Venice played a leading role in the defining conflicts of its time—the reverberations of which are still being felt today.

“[Crowley] writes with a racy briskness that lifts sea battles and sieges off the page.”The New York Times
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Dead Lagoon: An Aurelio Zen Mystery

By Michael Dibdin

Book 4/11 in the Aurelio Zen Series

Among the emerging generation of crime writers, none is as stylish and intelligent as Michael Dibdin, who, in Dead Lagoon, gives us a deliciously creepy new novel featuring the urbane and skeptical Aurelio Zen, a detective whose unenviable task it is to combat crime in a country where today's superiors may be + Read More..
Book 4/11 in the Aurelio Zen Series

Among the emerging generation of crime writers, none is as stylish and intelligent as Michael Dibdin, who, in Dead Lagoon, gives us a deliciously creepy new novel featuring the urbane and skeptical Aurelio Zen, a detective whose unenviable task it is to combat crime in a country where today's superiors may be tomorrow's defendants.

Zen returns to his native Venice. He is searching for the ghostly tormentors of a half-demented contessa and a vanished American millionaire whose family is paying Zen under the table to determine his whereabouts-dead or alive. But he keeps stumbling over corpses that are distressingly concrete: from the crooked cop found drowned in one of the city's noisome "black wells" to a brand-new skeleton that surfaces on the Isle of the Dead.

The result is a mystery rich in character and deduction, and intensely informed about the history, politics, and manners of its Venetian setting.
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Death at La Fenice: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery

By Donna Leon

Book 1/24 in the Commissario Brunetti Series

Death at La Fenice is the first novel in Donna Leon’s internationally best-selling Commissario Guido Brunetti series. During intermission at the famed La Fenice opera house in Venice, a notoriously difficult conductor is poisoned, and suspects abound. Brunetti, a native Venetian, sets out to unravel the mystery behind the high-profile murder. To + Read More..
Book 1/24 in the Commissario Brunetti Series

Death at La Fenice is the first novel in Donna Leon’s internationally best-selling Commissario Guido Brunetti series. During intermission at the famed La Fenice opera house in Venice, a notoriously difficult conductor is poisoned, and suspects abound. Brunetti, a native Venetian, sets out to unravel the mystery behind the high-profile murder. To do so, he he calls on his knowledge of Venice, its culture, and its dirty politics. Revenge, corruption, and even Italian cuisine play a role. The novel that started it all, Death at La Fenice is an entrancing mystery, rich in atmosphere.

“Few detective writers create so vivid, inclusive and convincing a narrative as Donna Leon, the expatriate American with the Venetian heart. . . . One of the most exquisite and subtle detective series ever.” The Washington Post
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Death in a Strange Country: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery

By Donna Leon

Book 2/24 in the Commissario Brunetti Series

Early one morning Commissario Guido Brunetti of the Venice Police confronts a grisly sight when the body of a young man is fished out of a fetid canal. All the clues point to a violent mugging, but for Brunetti the motive of robbery seems altogether too convenient. When something is discovered in + Read More..
Book 2/24 in the Commissario Brunetti Series

Early one morning Commissario Guido Brunetti of the Venice Police confronts a grisly sight when the body of a young man is fished out of a fetid canal. All the clues point to a violent mugging, but for Brunetti the motive of robbery seems altogether too convenient. When something is discovered in the victim’s apartment that suggests the existence of a high-level conspiracy, Brunetti becomes convinced that somebody is taking great pains to provide a ready-made solution to the crime.

Rich with atmosphere and marvelous plotting, Death in a Strange Country is a superb novel in Donna Leon’s chilling Venetian mystery series.

“What makes Leon’s work especially unnerving is the sense that corruption is a continuing process. . . . The characters of Brunetti and his family continue to deepen throughout this series.” The Times (UK)
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Death in Venice

By Thomas Mann

One of the most famous literary works of the 20th century, the novella "Death in Venice" embodies themes that preoccupied Thomas Mann (1875–1955) in much of his work; the duality of art and life, the presence of death and disintegration in the midst of existence, the connection between love and suffering, and the conflict between the artist and + Read More..
One of the most famous literary works of the 20th century, the novella "Death in Venice" embodies themes that preoccupied Thomas Mann (1875–1955) in much of his work; the duality of art and life, the presence of death and disintegration in the midst of existence, the connection between love and suffering, and the conflict between the artist and his inner self.

Mann's handling of these concerns in this story of a middle-aged German writer, torn by his passion for a Polish youth met on holiday in Venice, resulted in a work of great psychological intensity and tragic power. It is presented here in an excellent new translation with extensive commentary on many facets of the story.
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Don’t Look Now: Selected Stories

By Daphne Du Maurier

John and Laura have come to Venice to try and escape the pain of their young daughter's death. But when they encounter two old women who claim to have second sight, they find that instead of laying their ghosts to rest they become caught up in a train of increasingly strange and violent events.

The four other haunting, evocative + Read More..
John and Laura have come to Venice to try and escape the pain of their young daughter's death. But when they encounter two old women who claim to have second sight, they find that instead of laying their ghosts to rest they become caught up in a train of increasingly strange and violent events.

The four other haunting, evocative stories in this volume also explore deep fears and longings, secrets and desires: a lonely teacher who investigates a mysterious American couple, a young woman confronting her father's past, a party of pilgrims who meet disaster in Jerusalem and a scientist who harnesses the power of the mind to chilling effect.
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Dressed for Death: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery

By Donna Leon

Book 3/24 in the Commissario Brunetti Series

Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti’s hopes of escaping the sweltering heat of Venice in August for a refreshing family holiday in the mountains are dashed when a gruesome discovery is made in a field in Marghera—a body so badly beaten the face is completely unrecognizable.

The victim appears to be a transsexual prostitute. + Read More..
Book 3/24 in the Commissario Brunetti Series

Venetian Commissario Guido Brunetti’s hopes of escaping the sweltering heat of Venice in August for a refreshing family holiday in the mountains are dashed when a gruesome discovery is made in a field in Marghera—a body so badly beaten the face is completely unrecognizable.

The victim appears to be a transsexual prostitute. Brunetti searches Venice--including the red-light district--for someone who can identify the corpse, but he is met with a wall of silence. Then he receives a phone call promising tantalizing information, provided he meets with the caller under a bridge outside of town in the middle of the night.

This dangerous rendezvous leads to more senseless murders, but despite the danger, Brunetti remains determined to uncover the truth. Dressed for Death, the third novel in this international best-selling series is classic Brunetti.

“[One of] the real charms of this series [is] the endearing character of Brunetti and his compassionate insights into the heart of Venice and the soul of its people. Here is a man so decent that he reads the Annals for bracing blasts of Tacitus’ ‘fierce, uncompromising morality,’ but so un-sanctimonious that he is perpetually on the lookout for ‘the ugliest Christ Child in Western art.’ Truly, a refreshing hero.” The New York Times
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Falling in Love: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery

By Donna Leon

Book 24/24 in the Commissario Brunetti Series

Donna Leon’s Death at La Fenice, the first novel in her beloved Commissario Guido Brunetti series, introduced readers to the glamorous and cutthroat world of opera and one of Italy’s finest living sopranos, Flavia Petrelli—then a suspect in the poisoning of a renowned German conductor. Years after Brunetti cleared her name and + Read More..
Book 24/24 in the Commissario Brunetti Series

Donna Leon’s Death at La Fenice, the first novel in her beloved Commissario Guido Brunetti series, introduced readers to the glamorous and cutthroat world of opera and one of Italy’s finest living sopranos, Flavia Petrelli—then a suspect in the poisoning of a renowned German conductor. Years after Brunetti cleared her name and saved the life of her female American lover in Acqua Alta, Flavia has returned to Venice and La Fenice to sing the lead in Tosca, and Brunetti has tickets to an early performance.

The night he and his wife, Paola, attend, Flavia gives a stunning performance to a standing ovation. Back in her dressing room, she finds bouquets of yellow roses—too many roses. Every surface of the room is covered with them. An anonymous fan has been showering Flavia with these beautiful gifts in London, St. Petersburg, Amsterdam, and now, Venice, but she no longer feels flattered. A few nights later, invited by Brunetti to dine at his in-laws’ palazzo, Flavia confesses her alarm at these excessive displays of adoration.

Brunetti promises to look into it. And when a talented young Venetian singer who has caught Flavia’s attention is savagely attacked, Brunetti begins to think that Flavia’s fears are justified in ways neither of them imagined. He must enter in the psyche of an obsessive fan before Flavia, or anyone else, comes to harm.

“Donna Leon’s first love is opera. . . . So choosing Teatro La Fenice for the setting of Falling in Love, her latest mystery featuring the erudite and oh-so-sympathetic Commissario Guido Brunetti, makes this elegant novel something of a mash note to a longtime lover. . . . The audacious investigation, conducted by Brunetti’s confederate Signorina Elettra, into the psychology of stalkers is thorough and illuminating. But for opera buffs, going backstage at Teatro La Fenice is the real treat.” New York Times Book
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Invisible Cities

By Italo Calvino

“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.” From Invisible Cities

In a garden sit the aged Kublai Khan and the young Marco Polo — Mongol emperor and Venetian traveler. Kublai Khan has sensed the end of + Read More..
“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.” From Invisible Cities

In a garden sit the aged Kublai Khan and the young Marco Polo — Mongol emperor and Venetian traveler. Kublai Khan has sensed the end of his empire coming soon. Marco Polo diverts his host with stories of the cities he has seen in his travels around the empire: cities and memory, cities and desire, cities and designs, cities and the dead, cities and the sky, trading cities, hidden cities. As Marco Polo unspools his tales, the emperor detects these fantastic places are more than they appear.

“Invisible Cities changed the way we read and what is possible in the balance between poetry and prose . . . The book I would choose as pillow and plate, alone on a desert island.” Jeanette Winterson
$10.00
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Italian Journey: 1786-1788

By Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Goethe's account of his passage through Italy from 1786 to 1788 is a great travel chronicle as well as a candid self-portrait of a genius in the grip of spiritual crisis.
Goethe's account of his passage through Italy from 1786 to 1788 is a great travel chronicle as well as a candid self-portrait of a genius in the grip of spiritual crisis.
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Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi

By Geoff Dyer

A New York Times Notable Book

In Venice, at the Biennale, a jaded, bellini-swigging journalist named Jeff Atman meets a beautiful woman and they embark on a passionate affair.

In Varanasi, an unnamed journalist (who may or may not be Jeff) joins thousands of pilgrims on the banks of the holy Ganges. He intends to stay for a few + Read More..
A New York Times Notable Book

In Venice, at the Biennale, a jaded, bellini-swigging journalist named Jeff Atman meets a beautiful woman and they embark on a passionate affair.

In Varanasi, an unnamed journalist (who may or may not be Jeff) joins thousands of pilgrims on the banks of the holy Ganges. He intends to stay for a few days but ends up remaining for months.

Their journey—as only the irrepressibly entertaining Geoff Dyer could conjure—makes for an uproarious, fiendishly inventive novel of Italy and India, longing and lust, and the prospect of neurotic enlightenment.
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Moleskine City Notebook Venezia (Venice)

By Moleskine

The first guidebook you write yourself.

Whether traveling by foot, boat or gondola, you can trace your way through this historic city with the Moleskine City Notebook Venice, with the official trademark of the Municipality of Venice. The Key Map summarizes the overall city layout, showing the sequence and location of the 16 zone maps. Map of the waterbus + Read More..
The first guidebook you write yourself.

Whether traveling by foot, boat or gondola, you can trace your way through this historic city with the Moleskine City Notebook Venice, with the official trademark of the Municipality of Venice. The Key Map summarizes the overall city layout, showing the sequence and location of the 16 zone maps. Map of the waterbus system and list of stations, plus the alphabetical street index of the zone maps. Blank pages for jotting down notes and recording your thoughts, stories and memories. 32 removable sheets for loose notes and exchanging messages. 12 translucent sticky sheets for tracing your routes and sharing itineraries. A 96-page tabbed archive for collecting everything that matters most and keeping it at your fingertips. The first 6 tabs are printed; the others await your personalization with the enclosed adhesive labels.

Each pocket sized Moleskine City Notebook is thread bound and has a cardboard bound cover with rounded corners, acid free paper, three bookmarks, an elastic closure and an expandable inner pocket that contains the Moleskine history.
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My Venice

By Harold Brodkey

Harold Brodkey's haunting, lyrical portrait of his most beloved city.

Venice is a separate country," Harold Brodkey wrote of the fabled city that became his literary muse. "It floats at anchor inside its own will, among its domes and campanili, independent and exotic at its heart."The author's love of Venice--its churches and vaporetti, its capacity to bewilder and seduce--brought + Read More..
Harold Brodkey's haunting, lyrical portrait of his most beloved city.

Venice is a separate country," Harold Brodkey wrote of the fabled city that became his literary muse. "It floats at anchor inside its own will, among its domes and campanili, independent and exotic at its heart."The author's love of Venice--its churches and vaporetti, its capacity to bewilder and seduce--brought him back time and again to the shores of the Adriatic in search of fresh inspiration.

Brodkey's Venice is marked by powerful contrasts: pride beside humility, the sacred alongside the profane, solemn tradition coexisting with exuberant mercantile optimism.

Illustrated with eleven stunning black-and-white portraits by the legary Italian photographer Giuseppe Bruno, My Venice combines passages from several of Brodkey's great works with previously unpublished notes and essays to create a text as rich, subtle, and beguiling as the city itself.
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Paradise of Cities: Venice in the Nineteenth Century

By John Julius Norwich

John Julius Norwich’s A History of Venice has been dubbed “indispensable” by none other than Jan Morris. Now, in his second book on the city once known as La Serenissima, Norwich advances the story in this elegant chronicle of a hundred years of Venice’s highs and lows, from its ignominious capture by Napoleon in 1797 to the dawn + Read More..
John Julius Norwich’s A History of Venice has been dubbed “indispensable” by none other than Jan Morris. Now, in his second book on the city once known as La Serenissima, Norwich advances the story in this elegant chronicle of a hundred years of Venice’s highs and lows, from its ignominious capture by Napoleon in 1797 to the dawn of the 20th century.

An obligatory stop on the Grand Tour for any cultured Englishman (and, later, Americans), Venice limped into the 19th century–first under the yoke of France, then as an outpost of the Austrian Hapsburgs, stripped of riches yet indelibly the most ravishing city in Italy. Even when subsumed into a unified Italy in 1866, it remained a magnet for aesthetes of all stripes–subject or setting of books by Ruskin and James, a muse to poets and musicians, in its way the most gracious courtesan of all European cities.

By refracting images of Venice through the visits of such extravagant (and sometimes debauched) artists as Lord Byron, Richard Wagner, and the inimitable Baron Corvo, Norwich conjures visions of paradise on a lagoon, as enduring as brick and as elusive as the tides.
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Stones of Venice

By John Ruskin

The Stones of Venice is a three-volume treatise on Venetian art and architecture by English art historian John Ruskin, first published from 1851 to 1853.

The Stones of Venice examines Venetian architecture in detail, describing for example over eighty churches. He discusses architecture of Venice's Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance periods, and provides a general history of the city. As + Read More..
The Stones of Venice is a three-volume treatise on Venetian art and architecture by English art historian John Ruskin, first published from 1851 to 1853.

The Stones of Venice examines Venetian architecture in detail, describing for example over eighty churches. He discusses architecture of Venice's Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance periods, and provides a general history of the city. As well as being an art historian, Ruskin was a social reformer. In the chapter "The Nature of Gothic" (from volume 2), Ruskin gives his views on how society should be organised.

"We want one man to be always thinking, and another to be always working, and we call one a gentleman, and the other an operative; whereas the workman ought often to be thinking, and the thinker often to be working, and both should be gentlemen, in the best sense. As it is, we make both ungentle, the one envying, the other despising, his brother; and the mass of society is made up of morbid thinkers and miserable workers. Now it is only by labour that thought can be made healthy, and only by thought that labour can be made happy, and the two cannot be separated with impunity."

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