“…H. M. Tomlinson, a contemporary of (Norman) Douglas‘s, concluded his 1931 biography by saying that Douglas’s kind of prose “is at present out of fashion”. He compared the writing to that of great English essayists and novelists: to Jonathan Swift’s irony and Laurence Sterne’s warmth.
Peter Ackroyd describes Douglas’s London Street Games as “a vivid memorial to the inventiveness and energy of London children, and an implicit testimony to the streets which harboured and protected their play.”
John Sutherland reports that “Douglas’s Mediterranean travel writing chimed with the public taste”, and that “there was a time when, in smart literary conversations, Norman Douglas was regarded as one of the smartest things going. Part of that smartness was his keeping, for the whole of his long depraved life, one jump ahead of the law.”
In The Grand Tour and Beyond: British and American Travellers in Southern Italy, 1545–1960 (which is chapter 4 of The Evolution of the Grand Tour: Anglo-Italian Cultural Relations since the Renaissance), Edward Chaney wrote that “the true heir to the great tradition of the ‘pedestrian tour’ in our own [20th] century has been ‘pagan-to-the-core’ Norman Douglas. Having first visited the south of Italy with his brother in 1888, before he was 30 he had abandoned his pregnant Russian mistress and his job at the British Embassy in St Petersburg and purchased a villa at Posillipo. By then he had also published his first piece on the subject of southern Italy….”
From: Rosebery – Statesman in Turmoil (2005), by Leo McKinstry:
“…Rosebery’s) English neighbour in Naples, the author Norman Douglas, later included this profile of him in his autobiography:
“I think he was happy during the short time he spent at this place. Yet he struck me as not exactly harassed but pre-occupied, or at least absorbed. I should also have called him a shy man. ‘Shy’ is an odd term to apply to a person like Lord Rosebery; such was the impression I always had of him. He was not taciturn or reserved, he was ready to laugh or talk; he relapsed easily into silence. One felt a little awkward at times, not knowing when the conversation would start again. ‘Do you like these glasses?’ he once asked at dinner. They were old Murano goblets, with citron-tinted beads. ‘Very much, but not exactly for drinking wine out of. Rather too much colour for my taste.’ ‘Now that’s just what I was thinking.’ I wondered: was he really thinking about them? Sometimes his mind seemed to be far away, and he had to make an effort to pull it back again.”…”
Luisella Romeo posted at seevenice.it on October 31, 2015:
“Katharine Hepburn’s eyes stare with pleasure and happiness: a ruby red glass goblet stands by the window in a shop in Venice, in the beautiful campo San Barnaba. The film is “Summertime” by David Lean and was shot in Venice in 1955, just before Venice closed its studios on the island of Giudecca.
The red glass goblet will help her meet a mysterious Italian man, interpreted by Rossano Brazzi. Tangible symbol of their controversial, passionate and fragile summer romance, the goblet looks like a heart the man holds already despite the defying gaze the American lady casts on him.
Let’s be honest: would you have imagined this scene with Rossano Brazzi holding a chandelier or a glass horse?…”