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International Journal of the Classical Tradition

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 336–339 | Cite as

Review of Remembering Parthenope: The Reception of Classical Naples from Antiquity to the Present, ed. Jessica Hughes and Claudio Buongiovanni (Classical Presences)

Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 2015, £80, US $129.95, ISBN 978 0 19 967393 3
  • William Stenhouse
Book Review

Famously, the historiography of Naples has provided much grist to the scholarly mill. How should historians explain the city’s ostensible failure? Should they blame institutions like the Church or, more recently, the Camorra? Did the city’s early modern Spanish monarchs lay the seeds of decline, exploiting a unwilling populace? Or are the people themselves the problem, lazy, chaotic and devious? (As Annalisa Marzano reminds us here, Goethe pointed out to his Northern European readers that it was not the case that Neapolitans did not work; instead, he noted, ‘they are intent on enjoying themselves even while at work’ [p. 273].) Naples’s ‘failure’, of course, is relative; but the fierce debates, the destruction of many archival records in the Second World War and the city’s feudal-monarchical past, anomalous in comparison with the northern Italian communal norm, have all tended to encourage historians who are less interested in this teleological question to turn their attentions...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yeshiva UniversityNew YorkUSA

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