Recital of Monteverdi's "Orfeo" in the Salone della Pergola this afternoon. I shall write an article on it for the Nation. Astonishing that such a beautiful and obviously attractive thing is not given oftener. Then I took Mrs. Mock and a Chicago young woman to have aperitifs in the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. Much movement; & great joy of the women in the sensation of sitting outside a cafe. This is better and more amusing and cheaper than having tea in one of these damned English tea-houses. Walking home you could appreciate the calm and easy life of the people: eg. saddlers in their shops, & all the tradesmen, work girls coming out of ateliers, etc. No hurry; very little ambition; very few conveniences; many conditions that would be hardships if they were perceived as such; & certainly a great deal more happiness than in England, even if happiness in misery. You are apt to think that Italians don't care about the disadvantages of their condition, and then you see a sign 'Camera di Lavoro' & a number of working men hanging about. I suppose it is the equivalent of the Bourse du Travail.
Flaubert's correspondence is certainly very fine indeed; it is even sensationally fine. I got the first volume from the library, and much prefer it to Ruskin's "Mornings in Florence".
I have been writing to Pinker about McClures. They seem not to want to pay £10 for "The Death of Simon Fuge", though it is certainly worth that. I want McClures only to issue stuff at which editors of leading papers, like the Boston Transcript, etc. who have written me sending me copies of their signed articles on "The O. W. Tale" cannot turn up their noses. Both "The Death of Simon Fuge" and "The Matador" will give them something to think about.
Additionally for April 12th., see 'A reflective mood'
I still think there is something in this, though the overblown language weakens rather than strengthens the argument and my example was not well chosen. I would write it differently today. Nevertheless, to imaginatively inhabit another being, and to convey that imagined experience by force of words, or image, or sound, is the genius of the artist.