[ Read ] ➫ Queen Bee of Tuscany: The Redoubtable Janet Ross Author Ben Downing – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk


Queen Bee of Tuscany: The Redoubtable Janet Ross Quite Simply One Of The Best Books Of The Year Michael Dirda, The Washington PostBen Downing S Queen Bee Of Tuscany Brings An Extraordinary Victorian Back To Life Born Into A Distinguished Intellectual Family And Raised Among Luminaries Such As Dickens And Thackeray, Janet Ross Married At Eighteen And Went To Live In Egypt There, For The Next Six Years, She Wrote For The London Times, Hobnobbed With The Developer Of The Suez Canal, And Humiliated Pashas In Horse Races In She Moved To Florence, Italy Where She Spent The Remaining Sixty Years Of Her Life Writing A Series Of Books And Hosting A Colorful Miscellany Of Friends And Neighbors, From Mark Twain To Bernard Berenson, At Poggio Gherardo, Her House In The Hills Above The City Eventually She Became The Acknowledged Doyenne Of The Anglo Florentine Colony, As It Was Known Yet She Was Also Immersed In The Rural Life Of Tuscany An Avid Agriculturalist, She Closely Supervised The Farms On Her Estate And The Sharecroppers Who Worked Them, Often Pitching In On Grape And Olive Harvests Spirited, Erudite, And Supremely Well Connected, Ross Was One Of The Most Dynamic Women Of Her Day Her Life Offers A Fascinating Window On Fascinating Times, From The Risorgimento To The Rise Of Fascism Encompassing All This Rich History, Queen Bee Of Tuscany Is A Panoramic Portrait Of An Age, A Family, And Our Evolving Love Affair With TuscanyA Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book Of


10 thoughts on “Queen Bee of Tuscany: The Redoubtable Janet Ross

  1. says:

    COLOSSALLY DULL Though intelligent and learned, especially for an autodidact, she was by no means brilliant page 15The first hundred or so pages the entire first three chapters of The Queen Bee of Tuscany The Redoubtable Janet Ross, by Ben Downing, are a mind numbing miasma of proper nouns, and should be skipped You ll lose nothing and would thank me profusely for sparing you the boredom, if you knew just how relentlessly dull those three chapters were.Recommendation If after skipping th COLOSSALLY DULL Though intelligent and learned, especially for an autodidact, she was by no means brilliant page 15The first hundred or so pages the entire first three chapters of The Queen Bee of Tuscany The Redoubtable Janet Ross, by Ben Downing, are a mind numbing miasma of proper nouns, and should be skipped You ll lose nothing and would thank me profusely for sparing you the boredom, if you knew just how relentlessly dull those three chapters were.Recommendation If after skipping the first three chapters you decided to also skip the remaining three you would be doing yourself a big favor She is awfully handsome, in a utilitarian kind of way and an odd mixture of the British female and the dangerous woman a Bohemian with rules and accounts page 156NOOKbook edition from Barnes and Noble, 367 pages


  2. says:

    It was interesting to read this and the Berenson biography so close together, as they were so different and covered some of the same ground.This isn t a particularly deep biography, and I m left with the impression Downing thinks that the other generations of Ross s family wereinteresting than she was


  3. says:

    I simply couldn t get into this Much as I usually enjoy biographies of singular individuals, it seemed I was in for a nonstop parade of people that Janet met, places that Janet had been, and so on While many of these people and places were noteworthy, there didn t seem to be much happening beyond surface commentary About sixty pages in, I simply had to face the fact that I wasn t getting much out of the book While not something I actively disliked, it wasn t anything I was enjoying, either.


  4. says:

    downing s book is so wordy, so detailed that it is unbearable reading what could have been an insightful and delightful peek into an age we don t know enough about is, instead, a plodding, name dropping tome with no spark there is no story, no plot, no timeline janet ross may have been a fascinating woman who led a spectacular life, but you ll never learn that from this book.


  5. says:

    Thought it was poorly written, couldn t finish it.


  6. says:

    Just finished Ben Downing s Queen Bee of Tuscany The Redoubtable Janet Ross New York Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013 The book is a biography of Janet Duff Gordon Ross, a fascinating woman who lived a life that connected the Victorian world of arts and letters to that of the twentieth century Downing writes not only about Ross s life in England, Egypt and finally in Tuscany but also about the larger Anglo Italian community that lived in Italy To understand her, he argues the reader needs Just finished Ben Downing s Queen Bee of Tuscany The Redoubtable Janet Ross New York Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013 The book is a biography of Janet Duff Gordon Ross, a fascinating woman who lived a life that connected the Victorian world of arts and letters to that of the twentieth century Downing writes not only about Ross s life in England, Egypt and finally in Tuscany but also about the larger Anglo Italian community that lived in Italy To understand her, he argues the reader needs to understand the culture and history of this ex pat community While it is a complicated genealogy for the most part he does a good job of linking together the diverse groups of people who found homes for themselves so far from their countries of origin in Italy Like many biographies the subject isinteresting than the writing and makes for an interesting read The book would interest anyone curious about the 19th century world of art and letters, ex pat communities in Italy or fascinating independent women James, who was almost exactly Janet s contemporary, had, like her, first encountered Italy in his mid twenties, and had responded with an ecstatic, almost symphonic joy that brought him back thirteen times over the years While Florence had to contend in his affections with Rome and Venice, he felt for the city a distinctive love, doting, sentimental, almost parental Its smallness never ceased to disarm him on his first visit in 1869, he wrote of the beautiful hills among which it lies deposited, like an egg in a nest on the next he found it the same rounded pearl of cities cheerful, compact, complete full of a delicious mixture of beauty convenience and by 1890 he was sighing over this tender little Florence The city features many times in his writings in Italian Hours and other works of nonfiction in Roderick Hudson and The Portrait of a Lady and in the tales The Pupil , The Diary of a man of Fifty, and The Madonna of the Future 157 Years later, though, Vernon Lee made a remark on Janet s meeting with James that is like an unrealized tale in miniature James, she said, would never use her She would tumble in like a great red flamingo among his grey sparrows 161 If skirmishing art historians imparted a flavor to colonial life, so, increasingly, did the overlapping homosexual contingent The trial of Oscar Wilde in 1895 had sent a chill through every gay man in Britain, and had made relatively laissez fair places like Florence look all theattractive One of Wilde s closest friends, the novelist Reggie Turner, was among those taking refuge he struck the young Harold Acton who would turn out to share his proclivities as a glittering Punchinello, and was widely beloved for his kindness and wit Not that prejudice was lacking in the colony It so happened that Henry Labouc re, author of the 1885 amendment under which many British homosexuals were prosecuted, had chosen Florence as his place of retirement in 1906 Presumably he and Turner gave each other a wide berth into the Via Tornabouni The business like Florentines, however, mostly seemed comfortable enough with the strainer invertiti, as they were known Unharassed and unperfected, both the gay sub colony and the Sapphist one which included Lee, Cruttwell, and, to a degree, the bisexual Mabel Dodge let its collective hair down, if not all the way, then at least an inch or two beyond what felt safe back home 231The idea has occurred to me in the past, and while reading Downing s book to craft a study of queer friendship that follows individuals across time and space


  7. says:

    I managed to get through Ben Downing s book on Janet Ross It was something of a slog I came out at the end wondering what the big deal was about and why this particular woman excited him to write about her in the first place So I began by adding up the pluses She wrote books, apparently quite a few of them, and except for a cookbook, none of them are read much these days She had a farm near Settignano and she treated her servants well so long as they did what they were told, didn t talk bac I managed to get through Ben Downing s book on Janet Ross It was something of a slog I came out at the end wondering what the big deal was about and why this particular woman excited him to write about her in the first place So I began by adding up the pluses She wrote books, apparently quite a few of them, and except for a cookbook, none of them are read much these days She had a farm near Settignano and she treated her servants well so long as they did what they were told, didn t talk back, and gave her full sway about how to run the place She knew a lot of famous people including Tennyson when she was a girl to Mark Twain to Bernard Berenson to name a few She lived a long life for her time The minuses add up too She had a son whom she ignored some would say abandoned , a husband who was her senior by some years and with whom she did not sleep or have sex, a niece whom she treated well until the niece married someone Janet didn t like at that point, she cut off relations with her for years She was a notorious bitch to nearly everyone, and people seem to have excused her irascibility for eccentricity and charm The minuses outweigh the pluses, displaying the kind of shrew that most of us these days would not put up with The best aspects of the book describe not Janet Ross, but the farcompelling people she knew and the farfascinating places where she lived Downing s chapter called Intermezzo The Anglo Tuscans provides a captivating summary of the British presence in Florence and Tuscany, and that history, filled with the luminaries of the day, is meant to usher in Janet Ross Her entry into that rich tapestry is a let down, as she and her husband sponge off Lotto The Marchese Lotteringo della Stufa at his villa, Castagnolo, until his death whereupon his heirs kicked her out She then managed to scrape up enough money to buy Poggio Gherardo and outfit it From there she reigned as a putative monarch For reasons that escape me, people from all over visited her and vied for her attention She held Sunday afternoon salons populated by the intelligentsia of Europe and America, who came by invitation only What they talked about is another question Downing reports that Sra Ross was short and curt with people who asked questions about her past It s all in my books , openly disliked most women, and had only a fleeting interest in everyone else Then she died Did I miss something Was there something wonderful about this woman that would have impelled me to seek her out, to beg for an invitation to her villa, to kowtow to her I have a friend, Horace Gibson, who has written a muchgripping autobiography that I would recommend to anyone far before I d hum along with the Queen Bee of Tuscany


  8. says:

    I did not finish this book I was very interested in Lucie Austin, Janet s mother, and would have enjoyed readingabout her The women in this family were definitely interesting characters who lived rich and exciting lives In the hands of a different writer, this should have been enough to keep me engaged.My problem with this book is that 1 Janet Ross, while interesting, was not that interesting to write a whole book about and 2 the author filled much of the book with the history of th I did not finish this book I was very interested in Lucie Austin, Janet s mother, and would have enjoyed readingabout her The women in this family were definitely interesting characters who lived rich and exciting lives In the hands of a different writer, this should have been enough to keep me engaged.My problem with this book is that 1 Janet Ross, while interesting, was not that interesting to write a whole book about and 2 the author filled much of the book with the history of the entire region Had the history of Tuscany been the focus of the book and Janet been one of the many people who lived there filled a few anecdotes, it might have been better Of course, then you would have had to pull out the fun stories about Janet and Lucie s adventures in Egypt which seemed noteworthy As far as the author s style, it seemed he wanted to accurate in some sort of academic way but continually named dropped non essential people into the mix like some gossip columnist Ultimately, I lost interest and decided I had had my fill of the subject


  9. says:

    Janet Ross, the subject of Queen Bee of Tuscany, was a fascinating woman she was connected to almost every eminent Victorian and Edwardian that you can name What s , she was an active agriculturalist at her villa, Poggio Gherardo, and an author of no mean skill her classic cookbook Leaves from Our Tuscan Kitchen has the most enduring legacy, but she wrote on a wide variety of topics.Downing s biography is extremely well researched, and his portrait of Janet Ross is picked out in elegan Janet Ross, the subject of Queen Bee of Tuscany, was a fascinating woman she was connected to almost every eminent Victorian and Edwardian that you can name What s , she was an active agriculturalist at her villa, Poggio Gherardo, and an author of no mean skill her classic cookbook Leaves from Our Tuscan Kitchen has the most enduring legacy, but she wrote on a wide variety of topics.Downing s biography is extremely well researched, and his portrait of Janet Ross is picked out in elegant, convivial prose The book is also an excellent window onto the wider world of the Anglo American literary colony in Florence of which Janet was the titular Queen Bee that existed between 1850 and the Second World War A reviewer above complains about an excessive cast of characters, but as someone who likes grand historical sweep, I found the long list of dramatis personae a delight


  10. says:

    There is a lot of good fun in this book about Tuscany and the Anglo Saxon love affair with the region We are given extensive background for Janet Ross, who was the perfect specimen of this group, who lived in Italy and stayed the Other After reading about her family background, her marriage, her almost always celebrity guests, I was still left with a question mark about the person Who was she really, besides what her family tree tells us The book fails to get inside her The book neither a There is a lot of good fun in this book about Tuscany and the Anglo Saxon love affair with the region We are given extensive background for Janet Ross, who was the perfect specimen of this group, who lived in Italy and stayed the Other After reading about her family background, her marriage, her almost always celebrity guests, I was still left with a question mark about the person Who was she really, besides what her family tree tells us The book fails to get inside her The book neither answers the question why it is that that part of Italy, with all its problems and dysfunctions, continue to attract non Italians as it did Janet Ross, to live there and think that they re living a better life than the one at home The book was a little gossipy, little chatty, and ultimately unilluminating


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