visiting capri literarily

in the latest edition of the cultural travel guide series of the arche verlag, author stefanie sonnentag takes the reader by the hand on “seven walks through literary capri and naples”. she does so knowledgeably, with precision and in the familiar, friendly tone of a true travel guide. stefanie sonntag’s book offers impressively researched details on capri’s cultural history. all of the famous artists of the island appear one by one. only karl friedrich schinkel is missing. Yet he was on capri in 1804 and 1824, prior to august kopisch’s 1826 discovery of the blue grotto with its far-reaching consequences. brecht, rilke, hauptmann, gorki, werfel or malaparte.

so here they were writing – the most eminent artists and thinkers in the first decades of the twentieth century. or were they simply on holiday? for where is the capri novel which has survived to this day? axel munthe’s ‘bells of san michele’ have fortunately finally fallen silent. and where is the image of capri that is more than a mere landscape view? on these walks the reader discovers much about old hotels, famous villas and their illustrious inhabitants – that is interesting; the myth of capri as an island of muses appears immortal.

frankfurter allgemeine zeitung, 30. april 2003