Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Saint Amanda of Perugia

There has always been a macabre fascination with the case of Amanda Knox, who may or may not have murdered her room-mate in the hilltop town of Perugia. Convicted once, acquitted once, and now wanted for retrial by the Italian courts, she has written a book about her ordeal: Waiting to be Heard: A Memoir, currently a brisk seller on Well, of course it is! Americans love celebrities, especially those with we suspect of orgies. But what astonishes me is how the Good People have picked up her cause. In May, the august New York Times privileged Ms Knox with a By the Book column, asking her such questions as "What authors do you most admire?" and "What were your favorite books as a child?" And now the even more august American Scholar, the online magazine of Phi Beta Kappa, has favored her with a full-blown piece of scholasticism, Truth or Management: The Perils and Rewards of Studying Abroad.

I visited Perugia many years ago, when it was a sleepy town with a splendid view of Assisi. To see it described as "the European capital of heroin addiction" comes as a considerable shock, I must say, In the spring and summer of 1955, we knew nothing wilder than red wine and Nazionale cigarettes.


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