banks of the Thames! May I book yournthe journey?rnItaHans respect intellectuals, providedrnthey can afford the wine. Their respect,rnwhich is truly continental, is the sort ofrnthing that is endlessly described inrnNabokov’s emigre stories of Paris andrnBerlin: it is essentially the homage paidrnby an innkeeper to a guest whose eccentricrnways are both valuable subjects of localrngossip and welcome opportunities forrnenrichment in the community. The English,rnto say nothing of the Americans,rnhave all but lost this notion of hospitalityrnwhere intellectuals are concerned. Tellrnthem you are writing about love, andrnthey will think you a child molester. Sayrnit’s money, and they will decide you arerndangerously poor, but if it’s poverty thatrnfascinates you, they will despise you as arnshady moneybags with republican leanings.rnWhat can a writer legitimately sayrnhe is interested in, then? Small wonderrnthere are so many biographies in thernbookstores.rnTo escape the social consequences,rnone must have rank, accreditation, position.rnIf I could announce, in an anglophonerndrawing-room, that I am a universityrnprofessor, in all likelihood myrnDangerfieldesque gripe would be nornmore, no matter how queer my actual orrnprofessed inclinations. Well, here inrnItaly nobody needs to announce thatrnkind of thing. If you can pay for dinner,rnyou are a professor.rnWhich brings me back to my feelingsrnof displacement. Gastronomy and respectrnfor intellectuals aside, I am obviouslyrnmissing London with its 22 casinos.rnRome has none. The other day, walkingrnthrough a little piazza in the center of therncity, I found myself in a small roomrnpacked with at least 500 people elbowingrntheir way to happiness. “Que casino, marnguarda que casinol” one could hear exasperatedrncries here and there. With thernstress on the middle syllable, unfortunately,rnmeaning what bedlam. Bedlam,rnconfusion, casino because the most unforgettablernthimbleful of coffee in civilizationrnis to be had in this room forrnabout 60 cents, and it’s a sure bet, too.rnWas I happy at the famous Gaffe Sant’rnEustachio? No. The smoke of Tuscanrncigars, the misleading semantics, thernpushing crowd had awaked my appetiternfor the hazards of Mayfair, and I almostrnburst into sentimental tears from Dostoyevskianrnfrustration. “Portatemi sullernrive brumose del Tamigi,” I wanted tornthunder, whereupon all the imaginaryrninnkeepers of Europe past and presentrnwould duly bow and, scurrying like micernthrough the stage set representing arncrooked stoeet, would run to book me anrnoverpriced flight to Heathrow. “Stanotternvoglio giocare d’azzardol” I would bellowrnafter them. Nothing but respect for thernhero in my Italian melodrama.rnAndrei Navrozov, formerly Chronicles’rnpoetry editor and London correspondent,rnis now Ghronicles’ European correspondent.rnThe Antipodeanrnfor A. D.Hopernby Alan SullivanrnWorthy to stand with Johnson, Swift or Pope,rnYou offer young successors more than Hope;rnBut soon the work which you refused to quitrnWhen niggling numbats deconstructed itrnMust pass in trust to your unworthy heirsrnMounting their death-watch on Parnassian stairs.rnOften you felt your countrymen disdainedrnWhat vestiges of culture they retained,rnPreferring bards who plotted Marxist coupsrnOr ran with wallabies and kangaroos.rnOnce their descendants tire of shearing sheep.rnThey’ll find their past securely in your keep.rnWe foreigners who glimpsed your Isle Of AvesrnOr heard your bamboo flute across the wavesrnExplored the wandering islands of your mindrnWhere art and nascent science intertwinedrnAs grave Gasserius dissected nervesrnAnd Herschel plotted planetary curves.rnNo existential vagaries for you —rnYou always kept Voltaire and Locke in view.rnSkeptical though you never lost your faithrnThat somewhere in the background, like a wraith.rnHovered an esoteric Absolute —rnThe true numen for which we substihiternDivinities too like the human race.rnFinding in grief an unimagined grace,rnYou blessed the tongues of all humanity.rnBlessed Babel’s curse—the gift which set us freernBy breaking words and making them igniternAs a prism makes a rainbow of the light.rnIf one tongue threatens now to tiump the rest,rnWho would begrudge a prophet his bequest?rnJULY 1998/43rnrnrn