‘The Colosseum: View from the Farnese Gardens’, Rome, 1826. (Photo by Art Media/Print Collector/Getty Images)

The Hawthornes Visit the Colosseum

Originally published in the New York Review of Books | May 2020

The mosquito was dead within seconds of its bite, the victim’s blood smeared across Nathaniel’s fingers; the sting of his slap, the red imprint of his hand on his daughter Una’s thin white arm, worse by far, in the immediate aftermath, than the mosquito’s injury. Una looked sadly at her father, her eyes laden with worry at what, possibly, she had done wrong this time. His other daughter, Rose, his son, Julian, and his wife, Sophia, all turned to stare at him and Una, their countenance and posture in a familiar anxious confusion….

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