Modern and Post-Modern Rome in Irish Travel Writing
Rome, after being an inescapable stopover on the European Grand Tour for centuries, has changed its iconic physiognomy attracting a different public and awakening different emotions. Irish travellers of the past had visited Rome mostly because of its classical associations and religious significance. The palimpsest of antiquity and modernity that Rome is nowadays, instead, offers a glittering surface of globalisation reminiscent of the Celtic Tiger to modern Irish visitors such as Elizabeth Bowen, Colm Tóibín, Sean and Julia O’Faolain. Yet, all four writers in their search for a fixed point that might allow them to grasp the contemporary essence of the city also preserve some remnants of an earlier, colonial approach.