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Florence, Dante and Me

The author, Robert Thomson, studied Italian in 1960-61 at the Universities of Perugia and Florence. He was on a junior year scholarship funded by the Ministero degli affari esteri. The purpose of the scholarship was to study Italian and improve his conversation skills. This he did but he also did other things as well: studying voice with a teacher of bel canto method and visiting galleries, museums, buildings and monuments of interest. A close reading of Dante leads Thomson to a moral and spiritual awakening about the materialistic influence of schools and family on his life. The year is rich in experience and Thomson keeps a detailed record of it all in letters which he sends to his fiancee in Vancouver, B.C. Most of "Florence, Dante and Me" is taken verbatim from these letters. This book also contains about eighty photos, many taken from Thomson's private collection. These photos are not presented in clusters, rather they are integrated with the text in order to illuminate it. There are fifteen pages of footnotes, many of which comment in detail on complex issues in the text from the perspective of 2017.
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About the Author

Robert Thomson was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1940. He was educated at the University of British Columbia (honors B.A. in French and Italian in 1962) and Yale University (PhD in French and Italian; his thesis was on Francois Mauriac.) On the way to his B.A. Thomson won a scholarship to spend a year in Italy (this is the subject of "Florence, Dante and Me.") Thomson taught at both the college and high school levels, took early retirement (1995) and started a publishing company, Godwin Books, through which published most of his books: "Great songs for the English Classroom," "Hot tips for real estate investors," "Italian for the Opera," "Operatic Italian," "Love songs in Spanish for Enjoyment and Learning" and his most recent book, "Florence, Dante and Me." A major project in Thomson's life has been to reprint two of George Godwin's long lost classics: "The Eternal Forest" (out of print since 1929; Thomson reprinted it in 1994) and "Why Stay We Here?" (out of print since 1930; it is Godwin's autobiography of fighting in France during World War I. Godwin (1891-1974) was Thomson's great-uncle on his mother's side. All of these books can be seen on Thomson's website: Thomson also has a blog:

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