Posts by: Matthew Stevenson

A Paean to Summer Reading

Given how I struggled as a child with prescribed summer reading lists—all those obligations to read Hard Times or Lord Jim by the Tuesday after Labor Day—I surprise even myself…

The last Americans in Palmyra

The ruins of Palmyra. “All the sacred Mysteries of Asia, with their strident music, served now to add to this voluptuous unrest … I felt only disgust and abhorrence for all…

With William Dean Howells to Florence

For the modern traveler, the road often leads to Florence. From a cruise ship moored in Livorno, it’s possible to inspect the Duomo, buy some souvenirs on the Ponte Vecchio,…

A Herman Melville Summer Vacation

For years I had wanted to visit the house where Herman Melville finished writing Moby-Dick. I knew it was in the Berkshires, and on a visit this summer to the area,…