The bewitching story of Rome teaching a lonely scholar how to discover himself Satyr Square—part memoir, part literary criticism, part culinary and aesthetic travelogue—is a poignant, hilarious narrative about an American professor spending a magical year in Rome. A scarred veteran of academic culture wars, Leonard Barkan is at first hungry, lonely, and uncertain of his intellectual mission. But soon he is appointed unofficial mascot of an eccentric community of gastronomes, becomes virtually bilingual, and falls in love. As the year progresses, he finds his voice as a writer, loses his lover, and returns definitively to America. His book is the celebration of a life lived in the uncanny spaces where art and real people intersect.
Satyr Square is not just about the Renaissance and ancient statuary, or Shakespeare and Mozart, Charles Bukowski and Paul de Man, eggplant antipasto and Brunello di Montalcino, foot fetishism and sulfur baths. At the heart of the narrative—its surface all irony, humor, and indirection—is a man of genuine ardor, struggling with what it means to be a homosexual and a Jew, trying to rediscover or reinvent his own intellectual passions. Funny, erudite, and lusciously rendered, Satyr Square gives us the whole of a life made up from fragments of Italy, art, food, and longing.
About Leonard Barkan
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Published October 17, 2006
by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Biographies & Memoirs, Travel.