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Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I admit, I should tire more easily than I do of writerly ruminations on expatriation, but I liked this article in, of all places, Travel & Leisure magazine. Skim Michael Gorra's flowerly desciption of Gianbattista Tiepolo's fresco in the Residenz in W├╝rzburg, the stuff of travel magazine writing, and head for the literary bits -- the changing Europe of Henry James, James Baldwin, and Patricia Highsmith.

[I]t struck me that the books that today use a foreign land to probe our [Americans'] peculiar fate tend to choose a different setting and to belong to a different genre.... Perhaps Patricia Highsmith's Ripley books marked the moment of change.
I must say I was disappointed at the conclusion, since I was hoping for a grand literary affirmation of my hunch that somehow the Old World allure (what James called "a superstitious valuation of Europe") is no longer alluring. Then again, maybe that's because I've lived in Europe for six years.

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