Images and Shadows: Part of a Life

Images and Shadows: Part of a Life

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Overview

An extraordinary memoir by Iris Origo, who chronicled political life in A Chill in the Air and War in Val d'Orcia, and now turns inward to describe her own family, the work of writing, and the transcience of memory.

Images and Shadows, Iris Origo’s autobiographical account of her early life, is as perceptive and humane and beautifully written as her celebrated memoir War in Val d’Orcia. Origo’s father came from an old and moneyed American family, her mother was the daughter of an Irish peer, and Iris grew up in the most privileged of circumstances. Her father died of tuberculosis when he was only thirty, and her mother moved to Fiesole, Italy, where she and Iris developed a close friendship with the great connoisseur and art historian Bernard Berenson. Later, Origo and her Italian husband transformed a desolate and deforested Tuscan property into a flourishing estate, and it was there that she discovered her true calling as a writer. In Images and Shadows, Origo paints portraits of her shy, loving father and her headstrong mother, and describes beloved places, the books that formed her sensibility, and how she grew up and made her way in the world. She reflects on the pleasures and challenges of writing and evokes the persistence and fragility of memory. Images and Shadows is an autobiography that is as thoughtful as it is profoundly touching.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681373652
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 10/15/2019
Pages: 392
Sales rank: 352,738
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Iris Origo (1902–1988) was a British-born biographer and writer. She lived in Italy and devoted much of her life to the improvement of the Tuscan estate at La Foce, which she purchased with her husband in the 1920s. During the Second World War, she sheltered refugee children and assisted many escaped Allied prisoners of war and partisans in defiance of Italy’s fascist regime and Nazi occupation forces. She is the author of A Chill in the Air: An Italian War Diary, 1939–1940 and War in Val d’Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943–1944 (both NYRB Classics); Leopardi: A Study in Solitude; and The Merchant of Prato, among others.

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