- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics (29 May 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141442271
- ISBN-13: 978-0141442273
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.3 x 19.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Granite Island: Portrait of Corsica (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 29 May 2008
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More About the Author
From the Publisher
A classic of travel writing -- new to Classics, with an introduction by Rolli Lucarotti. Conjuring a fast-vanishing world of unbroken tradition, bandits, spirits and visionaries in evocative prose, Granite Island is a valuable historical record of a highly individualistic culture and a luminous work of travel writing.
About the Author
Dorothy Carrington (1910-2002) was a gifted travel writer and historian who would not merely describe a place, but would delve into the very core of a people's identity. Having once intended to wander the world and write many books about many places, she was so captivated by Corsica on her first visit to the island, in 1948, that she never left, and after writing a definitive portait of Corsica, Granite Island (1971), she went on to explore the curious family background of the most famous Corsican, in Napoleon and his Parents on the Threshold of History (1988), while her final book, The Dream Hunters of Corsica (1995), examines the mysterious dark side of the Corsican psyche.
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Top Customer Reviews
To my great regret, I never met Dorothy Carrington, though I have met a number of people who knew her personally as a friend or acquaintance. Without exception, all speak warmly of her and some of this warmth radiates from the pages containing Rolli's introductory words. Without giving too much away, she tells us of Dorothy's dramatic early life, leaving university because of "the way English was taught" and also because of "the restrictions placed on women who were not expected to do much more than read". So she eloped with an Austrian aristocrat and went to live in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). It was here that she began writing articles for magazines and where the foundations of her writing career were established.
However, the annexation of Austria by Germany as World War II approached caused her to rethink: finding herself with a German Passport, she divorced her husband and hurried back to England. Her first visit to Corsica did not happen until 1948.
Although Dorothy Carrington's research for Granite Island took place in the years between 1948 and the 1960s, the book is still gripping, still relevant and most important of all, still highly readable (despite being used as a textbook in social anthropology studies, according to Rolli's introduction!Read more ›
The book starts, appropriately enough with the Neolithic people of Filitosa and Dorothy Carrington's role in bringing their menhirs to the attention of the outside world. This was some of the earliest evidence of human occupation of the island, as well as some of Carrington's first experience of Corsica. It is also central to her thesis. The book describes and tries to understand the vendetta system, under which Corsicans could be morally obliged to kill their neighbour, over issues which appear to outsiders as trivial. It describes the traditional marriage, arranged by the family and sealed with a kiss in the bride's living room, before being consummated in her bedroom, without any formal ceremony. None of this is part of the Christian tradition or that of any of the later occupying forces.
Dorothy Carrington believes that these traditions evolved from the Neolithic culture, long protected by the Corsicans' successful resistance to all occupying forces and helped by the very inaccessibility of the island. The Greeks, the Romans, various Germanic tribes and in historical times the Genoese controlled Corsica.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An interesting book indeed. Initially I found it a little drawn out and slow but it picked up quickly and, in general, I found it thoroughly engrossing. Read morePublished 8 months ago by longwalker
If you ever go to Corsica read this first. an amazing book about a very special islandPublished 10 months ago by Liz Taylor
I first discovered Granite Island in a public library back in 1995 and fell in love with Corsica through Dorothy Carrington's remarkable personal journey to the island and her... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was a really indispensable guide during my recent trip to Corsica. It provides much more of an insight than recent guidebooks even though it was published in 1971. Read morePublished on 2 July 2013 by Marand
A heavy read But if you are interested in thedetails of history and rocks of Corsica this is the book with all the details.Published on 18 Jun. 2013 by Martin Adams
Having visited Corsica I was interested to learn more about the Island and its history, it has been quite difficult to get into though and the print is very small, my eyes get... Read morePublished on 13 Jan. 2013 by Lyall47
This is the travel book on Corsica to which other travel books should refer. It wasn't the first signifcant English language book on Corsica, James Boswell and Edward Lear being... Read morePublished on 14 Aug. 2011 by Simba the Lion
Terrific introduction to Corsica even after nearly forty years. Read it while on holiday there and was completley engrossed.Published on 12 July 2011 by jd