The Europeans: Three lives and the making of a cosmopolitan culture by Orlando Figes

Reviewed by
January–February 2020, no. 418
Michael Shmith reviews 'The Europeans: Three lives and the making of a cosmopolitan culture' by Orlando Figes

The Europeans: Three lives and the making of a cosmopolitan culture

by Orlando Figes

Allen Lane, $59.99 hb, 576 pp, 9780241004890

The Europeans: Three lives and the making of a cosmopolitan culture by Orlando Figes

Reviewed by
January–February 2020, no. 418

It was what Lawrence Durrell described as ‘the flickering of steel rails over the arterial systems of Europe’s body’ that steadily transformed nineteenth-century Europe into a cultural and social unity that would last until the outbreak of World War I. Not everyone was happy about this. Rossini, who was terrified of trains, stuck to coach travel, while others, including the German poet Heinrich Heine, took a sort of reverse-Brexit view, writing: ‘I feel as if the mountains and forests of all countries are advancing on Paris. Even now, I can smell the German linden trees; the North Sea breakers are rolling against my door.’

Michael Shmith reviews 'The Europeans: Three lives and the making of a cosmopolitan culture' by Orlando Figes

The Europeans: Three lives and the making of a cosmopolitan culture

by Orlando Figes

Allen Lane, $59.99 hb, 576 pp, 9780241004890

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