When Abraham Lincoln appointed William Dean Howells Consul to Venice, the young writer embarked on a journey that would leave an indelible impression on his life and work. Howells lived in Italy for four years, from 1861, during the pivotal and tumultuous period of Italian reunification. Italian Journeys, Howell's engrossing memoir of this time, describes his adventures across the country - from Genoa, a hotbed of nationalistic fervour and the city from which Garibaldi had led the Expedition of the Thousand only a year before; to the cultural and political powerhouse of Naples, which had only just become part of the Kingdom of Italy and from there to Rome, focus for the hopes of a fractured country. Travelling by land and sea, Howells was inspired at every turn - as much by the fevered events of the time as by the cultural and historical wealth of the country - and his beautifully-rendered portrait has become a classic of travel literature, essential for all those who, like him, have loved Italy.
William Dean Howells (1837-1920). A prolific writer of essays, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoirs, plays, and travel books, Howells was the gold standard of American letters from the Civil War until World War I. For many years he was the influential editor of The Atlantic Monthly, and from that chair befriended the likes of Mark Twain, Henry James, Bret Harte, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, all of whom, if asked, would have listed Howells as among the most influential writers of the age. He is credited with having developed a school of literature around the themes of realism. At his death he was known as the 'Lincoln of literature'. His 'Tuscan Cities' is also available in Tauris Parke Paperbacks.