AXEL MUNTHE THE STORY OF SAN MICHELE PDF

Shelves: own-a-copy , biography-memoirs-letters , favorites , reviewed , ebook , friends-of-my-youth , I had read firstly about The Story of San Michele in some other novel and the image that emerged from it and formed in my mind then was so enticing that I knew I had to get this book. Well, better said than done as it turned out. None of my friends had heard about it or had a copy, I couldnt find it in the library, it was constatly borrowed or maybe lost. Anyway some time passed and I was a student in Cracow and lived with some other students in rented apartament.

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Shelves: own-a-copy , biography-memoirs-letters , favorites , reviewed , ebook , friends-of-my-youth , I had read firstly about The Story of San Michele in some other novel and the image that emerged from it and formed in my mind then was so enticing that I knew I had to get this book.

Well, better said than done as it turned out. None of my friends had heard about it or had a copy, I couldnt find it in the library, it was constatly borrowed or maybe lost. Anyway some time passed and I was a student in Cracow and lived with some other students in rented apartament. We had four rooms there, five I had read firstly about The Story of San Michele in some other novel and the image that emerged from it and formed in my mind then was so enticing that I knew I had to get this book.

We had four rooms there, five in fact, but the fifth one was kind of lumber room with many things stored there by the owners. I remember one day entering this glory hole as we used to name it.

Oh my, there was everything there. A table and chairs and lamps and cabinet and bookcases and who knows what else. It was so packed that you barely could open the door.

So I peeked in there and noticed a pile of books. Automatically I took the first one, it was dirty and awfully dusty, I blew the dust off, I still see this scene like a photograph, I see swirling motes of dust in the light from the window on the opposite side, I see myself opening the book. I read the title. And there it was. Mine for reading. The story of San Michele.

The story of San Michele as a genre is rather difficult to define. Instead of the novel abounds in many well known figures of its times. This half memoir, half collection of anectodets gives us also quite realistic picture of the state of medicine of the XIX century, views that felt quite modern then but also highly conservative views or indications of ignorance and backwardness in the eyes of contemporary readers.

From it pages emerges a picture of, from one hand, a fashionable doctor in Paris, later in Rome, treating rich snobs from imaginary diseases, hysteria seemed to be the favorite ailment of spoiled aristocrats then, frequent stayer of salons, kind of blue-eyed boy for high society.

On the other hand we have a doctor tirelessly wandering through districts of poverty and dirty places inhabited by immigrants to come to help poor families. We see him volunteering in plague ridden Naple in cholera epidimic or in ruined by earthquake Messina. In his person we get to know a man, first of all a humanist, trying to alleviate the suffering of every living creature, no matter human or animal, he was a great advocate of animal rights, but also understanding the need for medical experiments, which he so vividly described in the chapter devoted to treatment for rabies and his visits to Pasteur in his institute.

Sometimes it is very detailed then again quite vague. But whatever Munthe was doing he was motivated by one goal, the image of villa San Michele on Capri that he visited as a very young man.

And so it happened. But there was a price to that dream. These passages on his life on Capri feel the most beguiling to me. And all inhabitants Munthe got acquinted with there and steep path with seven hundred and seventy seven Phoenician steps leading to Anacapri, and old Maria porta lettere, and myths on Timberio, the infamous emperor who departed from his life nearby, and old chapel called San Michele, and Vinzenzo who built here his own house from the stones remaining after ruined villa of Tiberius, and dream of the young Axel to settle there one day and have a stone sphinx to guard the place and so on, so on.

The novel has to me mostly emotional value as a reminder of some wonderful times in my life and pleasure that gave me as a reader. Despite some sentimentality at times, naivety even that I can see now the story felt magical to me. I buy entirely its literary convention and poetic in which it was written, that blend of reality with magic.

And only for the first chapter or the final dream-like sequences I would give the novel the highest rating.

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THE STORY OF SAN MICHELE

Munthe[ edit ] Munthe grew up in Sweden. At the age of seventeen, he was on a sailing trip which included a brief visit to the Italian island of Capri. Hiking up the Phoenician steps to the village of Anacapri , Munthe came across a ruined chapel owned by a nearby resident, Maestro Vincenzo, and fantasized owning and restoring the property. Munthe went to medical school in France and then opened a medical practice in Paris. He later assisted in the cholera epidemic in Naples.

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