September 26, 2013

"A height of some fifty feet above the roofs of Rome gives me all the advantages that I could get from fifty miles of distance."

"The air so exhilarates my spirits, that sometimes I feel half inclined to attempt a flight from the top of my tower, in the faith that I should float upward," said Hilda.
"O, pray don’t try it!" said Miriam laughing. "If it should turn out that you are less than an angel, you would find the stones of the Roman pavement very hard; and if an angel, indeed, I am afraid you would never come down among us again.” 
This young American girl was an example of the freedom of life which it is possible for a female artist to enjoy at Rome. She dwelt in her tower, as free to descend into the corrupted atmosphere of the city beneath, as one of her companion doves to fly downward into the street;— all alone, perfectly independent, under her own sole guardianship, unless watched over by the Virgin, whose shrine she tended; doing what she liked without a suspicion or a shadow upon the snowy whiteness of her fame. The customs of artist life bestow such liberty upon the sex, which is elsewhere restricted within so much narrower limits; and it is perhaps an indication that, whenever we admit women to a wider scope of pursuits and professions, we must also remove the shackles of our present conventional rules, which would then become an insufferable restraint on either maid or wife.
From Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Marble Faun."


Carter Wood said...

NBC University Theater did an hour-long radio adaptation of the Marble Faun in 1949. Well done:

The entire series is worthy of note. Early distance education:

Ann Althouse said...

@Carter Wood

Thank you. "The Marble Faun" is one of my favorite books, and I thought it would make a great movie, to the point where my desire to see it as a movie caused me to rewrite it as a screenplay (not in its entirety, but just as an aid to visualizing the movie).

Ann Althouse said...

The great documentary movie "Grey Gardens" has a number of references to "The Marble Faun," so anyone who's a fan of that movie should want to read that book.