“THEY say the air is worse this year at Rome than ever, and that it would be madness to go thither during its malign influence.” William Beckford, Letter XVI, Italy, 22nd October 1780.
William Beckford’s wary words from 1780 (as the author was aware of an outbreak of Malaria in Rome) eerily resonate with our current climate of fear. So it seems apt to retrace the steps of history and link the present with the past, connect Rome with London, and juxtapose Beckford’s life with mine. This is an exercise in memory and imagination, both Beckford’s and mine, and of Rome and London.
These reflections serve as a starting point to travel to Rome and anchor myself at the British School at Rome, from where I will wander as a time traveller, delving into the archives of bygone Rome and unveiling the vestiges left by visitors from the times of the Grand Tour, whilst also searching in the life of present Rome for what hope remains in this new era of ecological dystopia.
Fag Attacks the Country XII
Filles de Dieu