Thomas Steinfeld was born in 1954 and was the literary editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung before he moved to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, where he initially worked as editor of the literature section, then of the culture section and finally as a correspondent in Venice. He lectured as a professor of cultural studies at the University of Lucerne from 2006 to 2008. Thomas Steinfeld is the author of many high-profile books, among them Der Sprachverführer. Die deutsche Sprache: was sie ist, was sie kann (2010) and Herr der Gespenster. Die Gedanken des Karl Marx (2017).
ITALY: PORTRAIT OF A FOREIGN LAND
A foreign land, a land of longing: Thomas Steinfeld‘s great portrait of Italy.
While German tourists have always been familiar with Italy, developing a profound love for “Italianità” is, this nation seems alien to us today. In fact, it seems to be becoming even more alien, thanks to its populist regime, the collapsing bridges or the continued existence of the Mafia. Where does it all come from? Thomas Steinfeld lived in Italy and travelled around the country from South Tyrol to Apulia and from the mountain passes of the North to the olive plantations of the South. In this book he shows us the whole of Italy: the hustle-bustle of the hearts of Rome, Venice or Florence, as well as the working-class housing estates of the industrial areas and the state of Italy’s suburbs. He portrays the rural religious fanaticism, the enthusiasm for beautiful cars and the invention of Slow Food, but also illuminates the country in terms of its historical background, from the Renaissance to Mussolini’s fascism, which still lingers on in some places today.
Thomas Steinfeld portrays a society that is more diverse than many people living north of the Alps imagine. At the same time, he shows us landscapes and cultural treasures that have never lost their appeal. A rich portrait of Italy, as sensual as it is reflective, which allows us to see the contradictions and beauty of this fascinating country through new eyes.