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Sea and Sardinia (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) Paperback – 27 May 1999


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Sea and Sardinia (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) + Lonely Planet Sardinia (Travel Guide) + Sardegna (Michelin Local Maps) (Michelin Regional Maps)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (27 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141180765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141180762
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.4 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 492,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

..".very impressive to read..." Rocky Mountain News --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Sea and Sardinia records Lawrence's journey to Sardinia and back in January 1921. It reveals his response to a new landscape and people and his ability to transmute the spirit of place into literary art. This 1997 edition restores censored passages and corrects corrupt textual readings. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Steven Davies on 11 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Following the First World War, D.H. Lawrence spent much of his life on the road and visited places as far apart as New Mexico, Sri Lanka and Australia, making him one of the most travelled of literary greats. Much of the reasoning behind Lawrence's peripatetic nature was his health: a tuberculosis sufferer, Lawrence was constantly alert to potential threats in the atmosphere and would move locations at the drop off a hat.

'Sea and Sardinia' narrates a short visit to the island in 1921. At the time, Lawrence was living in Sicily and agitated by its crowded atmosphere and commercialisation, its dilettantes and arrogant commercial travellers. Sardinia was therefore sought as a potential antitdote to modernity, and this preoccupation chimes throughout the book with various references to returning to the good old days.

As a travel narrative told in the first person, Lawrence's forceful personality and attitudes naturally command centre stage. Although much of the book is devoted to detailed descriptions of markets, festivals and landscapes, there's a strand of polemic against modern society that some readers may find tedious and brow-beating. However, there is also plenty of humour (unusually so for Lawrence) and self-parody that gives his first person narrative an air of self-reflection and depth.

The key thing for me is that this book contains some of Lawrence's best writing. It's beautiful and intoxicating stuff. There are passages of sustained, descriptive prose that rank with the best of Lawrence's writing and place this book high in the list of early-twentieth century travel writing. There are turns of phrase, witty characterisations and a luscious musicality to the prose.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By niallsop on 20 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
These few innocuous opening words are Lawrence's rationale for taking a short break which, in turn, became the genesis for an extraordinary travelogue.

Unlike others who read `Sea and Sardinia' as part of their academic studies, I did so voluntarily. I came across a reference to it in another book on Sardinia, tracked it down and then became intrigued by what one Lawrence biographer described as one of his two most `accessible' books. (I went on to become a little more than intrigued - others might say `obsessed' - and eventually retraced Lawrence's journey and wrote my own book.)

`Sea and Sardinia' is the story of a nine-day trip that Lawrence and his German wife Frieda made from their home in Taormina on the north-east coast of Sicily, to and through Sardinia and back to Sicily via mainland Italy. The historical setting is post-Great War Europe, a time of economic, political and cultural upheaval that every day was sowing the seeds of the Second World War.

The story, written throughout in the present tense, is no more than a traveller's remembered diary (apparently Lawrence took no notes) of his journey ... but then this particular traveller was an accomplished writer of fiction, an acute socio-political observer and an amateur psychoanalyst.

Generally it is a breathtaking read though, for some, his occasional lapses into tales of classical deities and their place as part of the story of ancient Sicily (once Greek), might be a bit tedious but it must be remembered that, like many independent travellers of the time, Lawrence was well-grounded in Classical themes and he would have expected his audience to share his knowledge, if not his interest.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By perfecthost on 28 Jan. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fully aware that Sea and Sardinia was written nearly a hundred years ago, I downloaded the free Kindle version to help prepare me for a trip to Sardinia.
The exercise was a partial success.
I liked the fact that D H Lawrence focuses more on the people than on things. "Life is life and things are things", as he puts it, though perhaps this makes it even less likely that visitors to the island will find much still of relevance.
But, more than this, many of the opinions did not hit a chord, many of the descriptions felt contrived, the comparisons far-fetched and the language seemed stilted, even by the standards of the day. As time went on, I became distracted by the number of sentences starting with a construction of the type: "Arrived the inevitable meat....".
Eventually a single sentence convinced me that the author had been in league with Yoda: "Beautiful the goats are: and so swift."
I am pleased I read the book and it was worth it for some humorously outrageous views. However, I have not read anything else by D H Lawrence and on this performance, I doubt I will.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 28 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Whilst certainly not one of his most distinguished works, it is certainly an interesting read. His general view of the Italians is rather poor however I guess post-war life would not have been particularly easy for the already impoverished southern Italians. Lawrence's descriptions of travel across Sardinia and the traditional dress of the locals (in which he takes particular interest) is wonderful and this book provides a rather unique snapshot of a rapidly changing Italy. Some of what he describes in terms of attitudes and behaviour persists in the more remote parts of Italy to this day, however I think the modern traveller to Sardinia would be hard pressed to recognise the country or the characters that D.H. Lawrence met on his journey.
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