Wundervölker, Monstrosität und Hässlichkeit im Mittelalter (German Edition)

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    • Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Purchase one of 1st World Library's Classic Books and help support our free internet library of downloadable eBooks. Visit us online at www. ORG - - As all who are learned in such matters know, the Venetian aristocracy is the first in Europe. Its Libro d'Oro dates from before the Crusades, from a time when Venice, a survivor of Imperial and Christian Rome which had flung itself into the waters to escape the Barbarians, was already powerful and illustrious, and the head of the political and commercial world.

      With a few rare exceptions this brilliant nobility has fallen into utter ruin. Among the gondoliers who serve the English - to whom history here reads the lesson of their future fate - there are descendants of long dead Doges whose names are older than those of sovereigns. On some bridge, as you glide past it, if you are ever in Venice, you may admire some lovely girl in rags, a poor child belonging, perhaps, to one of the most famous patrician families.

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      When a nation of kings has fallen so low, naturally some curious characters will be met with. It is not surprising that sparks should flash out among the ashes. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Original Title. Venice Italy. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Massimilla Doni , please sign up. Lists with This Book.

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      Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. View 2 comments. Balzac has excelled himself in this story with this description of Emilio's garden: The shelving gardens were full of the marvels where money has been turned into rocky grottoes and patterns of shells,--the very madness of craftsmanship,--terraces laid out by the fairies, arbours of sterner aspect, where the cypress on its tall trunk, the triangular pines, and the melancholy olive mingled pleasingly with orange trees, bays, and myrtles, and clear pools in which blue or russet fishes swam. To own sumptuous galleries, and live in an attic above the topmost arabesque cornice constructed of marble brought from the Morea — the land which a Memmius had marched over as conqueror in the time of the Romans!

      To see his ancestors in effigy on their tombs of precious marbles in one of the most splendid churches in Venice, and in a chapel graced with pictures by Titian and Tintoretto, by Palma, Bellini, Paul Veronese — and to be prohibited from selling a marble Memmi to the English for bread for the living Prince Varese! Genovese, the famous tenor, could get in one season, by his warbling, the capital of an income on which this son of the Memmi could live — this descendant of Roman senators as venerable as Caesar and Sylla.

      Genovese may smoke an Eastern hookah, and the Prince of Varese cannot even have enough cigars! He tossed the end he was smoking into the sea. She studied all his caprices, and was happy to gratify them. He made his only meal at her house — his supper; for all his money was spent in clothes and his place in the Fenice.

      I have to sit by her side like ice, while her voice and her looks fire me with heavenly sensations! As I watch her gondola a few hundred feet away from my own I feel as if a hot iron were set on my heart. The Prince lighted another cigar, and watched the curls of smoke as the wind wafted them away, as though he saw in their arabesques an echo of this last thought.

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      In the distance he could now perceive the mauresque pinnacles that crowned his palazzo, and he was sadder than ever. Then he saw the present in its real light: a palace without a soul, a soul that had no effect on the body, a principality without money, an empty body and a full heart — a thousand heartbreaking contradictions. Emilio could not help dreaming of a time when the palazzo Memmi poured out light from every window, and rang with music carried far away over the Adriatic tide; when hundreds of gondolas might be seen tied up to its mooring-posts, while graceful masked figures and the magnates of the Republic crowded up the steps kissed by the waters; when its halls and gallery were full of a throng of intriguers or their dupes; when the great banqueting-hall, filled with merry feasters, and the upper balconies furnished with musicians, seemed to harbor all Venice coming and going on the great staircase that rang with laughter.

      The chisels of the greatest artists of many centuries had sculptured the bronze brackets supporting long-necked or pot-bellied Chinese vases, and the candelabra for a thousand tapers. Every country had furnished some contribution to the splendor that decked the walls and ceilings. But now the panels were stripped of the handsome hangings, the melancholy ceilings were speechless and sad. No Turkey carpets, no lustres bright with flowers, no statues, no pictures, no more joy, no money — the great means to enjoyment!

      Venice, the London of the Middle Ages, was falling stone by stone, man by man. And finally, a great English poet had rushed down on Venice like a raven on a corpse, to croak out in lyric poetry — the first and last utterance of social man — the burden of a de profundis.

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      English poetry! Flung in the face of the city that had given birth to Italian poetry! Poor Venice! There are lights in the windows of the upper floor! Prince Emilio fancied that his dream was realized by the touch of a magic wand. It was dusk, and the old gondolier could by tying up his gondola to the top step, help his young master to land without being seen by the bustling servants in the palazzo, some of whom were buzzing about the landing-place like bees at the door of a hive.

      Emilio stole into the great hall, whence rose the finest flight of stairs in all Venice, up which he lightly ran to investigate the cause of this strange bustle. A whole tribe of workmen were hurriedly completing the furnishing and redecoration of the palace. Splendor worthy of a parvenu sovereign was to be seen even in the smallest details.

      Emilio wandered about without remark from anybody, and surprise followed on surprise. Curious, then, to know what was going forward on the second floor, he went up, and found everything finished. The unknown laborers, commissioned by a wizard to revive the marvels of the Arabian nights in behalf of an impoverished Italian prince, were exchanging some inferior articles of furniture brought in for the nonce.

      Prince Emilio made his way into the bedroom, which smiled on him like a shell just deserted by Venus. The room was so charmingly pretty, so daintily smart, so full of elegant contrivance, that he straightway seated himself in an armchair of gilt wood, in front of which a most appetizing cold supper stood ready, and, without more ado, proceeded to eat.

      And he ate in a way that would have roused the envy of an invalid Croesus, if he could have seen him; and he drank floods of capital port wine. What a fine bed! Quite a Florentine idea! There are some strongly blended natures on which extremes of joy or of grief have a soporific effect. Now on a youth so compounded that he could idealize his mistress to the point of ceasing to think of her as a woman, this sudden incursion of wealth had the effect of a dose of opium. When the Prince had drunk the whole of the bottle of port, eaten half a fish and some portion of a French pate, he felt an irresistible longing for bed.

      Perhaps he was suffering from a double intoxication. So he pulled off the counterpane, opened the bed, undressed in a pretty dressing-room, and lay down to meditate on destiny. At this juncture, a waiting-woman came in, lightly humming an air from the Barbiere. And in fact a few minutes later a young lady came in, dressed in the latest French style, who might have sat for some English fancy portrait engraved for a Forget-me-not , a Belle Assemblee , or a Book of Beauty. The Prince shivered with delight and with fear, for, as you know, he was in love with Massimilla.

      His soul, his heart, his reason, every impulse of his will, revolted at the thought of an infidelity; and yet that brutal, unreasoning infidelity domineered over his spirit. But the woman was not alone. The Prince saw one of those figures in which nobody believes when they are transferred from real life, where we wonder at them, to the imaginary existence of a more or less literary description.

      The dress of this stranger, like that of all Neapolitans, displayed five colors, if the black of his hat may count for a color; his trousers were olive-brown, his red waistcoat shone with gilt buttons, his coat was greenish, and his linen was more yellow than white. This personage seemed to have made it his business to verify the Neapolitan as represented by Gerolamo on the stage of his puppet show. His eyes looked like glass beads.

      His nose, like the ace of clubs, was horribly long and bulbous; in fact, it did its best to conceal an opening which it would be an insult to the human countenance to call a mouth; within, three or four tusks were visible, endowed, as it seemed, with a proper motion and fitting into each other. His fleshy ears drooped by their own weight, giving the creature a whimsical resemblance to a dog.