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Old Provence
Theodore Andrea Cook

5 1/4" x 8" • 384 pages • maps and b&w illus.
ISBN 9781566563727 • paperback • $16.00

"Deep as we may bury the Roman Empire, we cannot hide it in the valley of the Rhone; for its bones pierce through Provengal soil in many places as though that giant grave were still too narrow for the skeleton of a past that can never wholly die."

So begins this powerful and evocative account of Provence and its unique historical legacy.

Journeying through southern France in the first years of the twentieth century, Theodore Andrea Cook discovers a landscape where the presence of Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans is still spectacularly evident in some of the Mediterranean's finest surviving architecture. In Arles, Nimes, Orange and Frijus, he witnesses the wonders of Roman arenas, temples and monuments. At the imposing aqueduct of the Pont du Gard he observes the world's greatest testament to the genius of Roman engineering.

Cook's compelling survey of Provengal history also encompasses the turbulent Middle Ages, when religious conflict and bloody warfare scarred the region. At Les Baux he explores the haunting ruins of a once-great stronghold; in Avignon, he traces the footsteps of the fourteenth-century popes in their magnificent palace; in Beaucaire and Tarascon he visits the sites of thriving medieval market towns and royal castles.

First published in 1905, Old Provence provides a remarkable insight not only into the area's history and architecture, but also its literary and cultural significance. Looking at the work and influence of writers such as Petrarch and Mistral, Cook reveals the importance of language, romance and regional identity in this most distinctive part of France. Even though the Provence that this classic book brings to life has been irreversibly altered by modernity and tourism, its timeless beauty will be instantly recognizable to contemporary visitors and readers.

Journalist, writer and sportsman, Sir Theodore Andrea Cook (1867-1928) worked on the London Daily Telegraph before becoming editor of the Field in 1910. After studying Classics and rowing for Oxford University, he captained the English fencing team in several international competitions. He was the author of many acclaimed travel and history books, including Rouen and Old Touraine.

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