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Latian Summers
Dorothea Roberts

The Book and its Authors

Latian Summers is an English translation of part of Ferdinand Gregorovius' famous book Wanderjahre in Italien (Years of Wandering in Italy); to be precise, as noted in the Table of Contents below, chapters 19‑24, 45‑63, and 68‑72 of the 145 that comprise the edition online at Projekt Gutenberg‑DE, or roughly a fifth of the work.

Gregorovius' name will probably be familiar to most of those who come to this page. If not, the life of this German historian, best known for his authoritative History of Rome in the Middle Ages, could once be read online in some detail in the 1892 obituary written by his publisher Friedrich Althaus; and a quick capsule, with map, more directly relevant to the Wanderjahre, provides an introduction to Roberto Piperno's Gregorovius site, which with its many pages of informative text and several hundred often large and splendid photographs is an indispensable accompaniment to Roberts' translation: and as you read about the various towns, I will repeatedly remind you to follow along with it.

About Dorothea Roberts, on the other hand, I've been unable to find the slightest information. Despite the coincidence of dates and connection with Germany, I'm about as positive as I can get that she was not the distinguished astronomer Dorothea Klumpke Roberts; and I strongly suspect she was a translator for hire in the pay of the publishers, the Junior Army & Navy Stores, who themselves are an unlikely publishing house. My guess, and it really is a guess, with not a shred of evidence to back it up, is that in this little book we have a promotional offering by that department store. The matter is of some consequence, as will be seen in the "Proofreading" section among the technical details following the Table of Contents.



Subiaco • The Oldest Benedictine Monastery of the West


The Roman Campagna


The Hernican Mountains


From the Banks of the Liris • 1859


From the Volscian Mountains • 1860


An Excursion through the Sabina & Umbria in 1861


Technical Details

Edition Used, Copyright

I transcribed this online version from its "Second Issue", 1903, printed at the Ballantyne Press by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. and published by the Junior Army & Navy Stores, Limited (London).

Ferdinand Gregorovius, the author, died in 1891. The underlying German text therefore rose into the public domain on January 1, 1962.

Dorothea Roberts' translation was first published in England in 1902. American law of the time stipulated that in order to benefit from copyright protection in the United States, any work in the English language had to be published in that country "simultaneously", fair latitude being allowed by the courts as to what that meant. The book, however, does not appear to have fulfilled that requirement as far as I can tell, and therefore has probably been continuously in the public domain in the United States. If on the other hand it actually was published in the United States, its copyright has expired. In either case the book is now in the public domain.


[image ALT: A head-and-shoulders photograph of a man of middle age with a full beard and moustache, wearing a jacket and vest, and a ribbon-type bowtie. It is Ferdinand Gregorovius.]

Early portrait of Gregorovius

Except for the above frontispiece portrait of Gregorovius, the book is unillustrated. I've inserted three photographs from various sources; but for photos of the principal towns described by the author, footnotes will direct the reader to the appropriate page of Roberto Piperno's site.

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line p57 ); these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.


As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

This transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

Latian Summers presented special proofreading problems. It only took four or five pages for me to realize that an inordinate number of proper names were garbled: the translator seems to have submitted handwritten text to the printer, which the latter often could not read, yet the galleys were almost certainly not proofread. I also eventually tumbled to a much more insidious and more important problem: the translator clearly did not have the expertise in ancient history, art criticism, Italian or Latin that should have equipped her for the work: she was therefore driven to make a number of curious mistakes, of which she was not in any way aware. I've done my best to fix them, and the careful reader will find that much of what in an uncorrected and unannotated photocopy of the work (one such is available online) is puzzling, or worse, dead wrong but not noticeable, has been made intelligible or set right.

In sum, Dorothea Roberts should never have translated this book; but — since I'm among the many German-challenged English-speakers out there, who would otherwise have had to limp slowly thru the work — I'm very glad she did.

Finally, Roberts seems to have translated not the edition we have at the German site, but possibly an earlier edition. In the opening paragraph for example of her Chapter 1 (i.e., of Gregorovius' Chapter 52), she writes

The Anio, plunging down it [a spur of the Apennines] with great impetus, has carved for itself a deep, narrow ravine, which feeds the cascades at Tivoli.

where the edition of Gregorovius online at Gutenberg‑DE has

Der Anio entspringt an ihrer Grenze oberhalb des Orts Filettino, und mit großer Gewalt herabstürzend bildet er ein langes und zum Teil schmales Tal, welches von Oliven- und Kastanienwäldern anmutig beschattete Berge bis nach Tivoli hin einschließen.

The Anio takes its source at the border [of the States of the Church and the Kingdom of Naples] above the town of Filettino, and tumbling down with great force, forms a long and sometimes narrow valley which makes its way to Tivoli thru mountains gracefully shaded by olive and chestnut trees. (my translation)

I've therefore avoided performing a thorough and intrusive translation review: not only is it a task for which I in turn am ill equipped, not speaking fluent German, but it would have been quite wrong-headed if, as I suspect, the translation is based on a different edition.

Other than in proper nouns and dates therefore, the book presents only one strictly typographical error: the printer did a very good job. I caught four major translation errors requiring total retranslation of a sentence or two: these passages are reproduced as greyed-out overstruck text with a correct translation supplied in a footnote. I marked one or two other fairly important corrections by my usual bullet like this;º and finally, over 300 minor garbles with a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the bullet or the underscored words to read the variant. Similarly, bullets before measurements provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.

A number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic  in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked.

Any over­looked mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you speak German and have a copy of the printed book in front of you.

[image ALT: An oil painting of a romanticized rural scene of a large pond emptying out toward the viewer in a wide but low waterfall. The pond has an islet in it, almost entirely shaded by four slender trees. In the background, three ranges of increasingly tall hills, the first of which is crowned by what appears to be a small walled town. It is a painting of the Falls of Subiaco (central Italy), by Joseph Anton Koch. The image serves as the icon on my site for Dorothea Roberts's book, \'Latian Summers\', a partial translation of \'Wanderjahre in Italien\' by Ferdinand Gregorovius.]

My icon for this book is a reduced version of this view of Subiaco, which in turn is cropped from "Waterfalls at Subiaco", painted by Joseph Anton Koch (oil on canvas, 1812‑1813), a few years before Gregorovius wrote. The painting hangs in the Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo; its reproduction is in the public domain per Bridgeman v. Corel.

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Site updated: 21 Feb 21