The Aspern Papers

Palazzo Soranzo Cappello, Venice
Two days ago the American film director, and king of the costume drama, James Ivory, opened this year's Incroci di civiltà, Venice's international festival of literature.

In his speech Ivory revealed that in 2011 he was on the point of making a movie of Henry James' novella The Aspern Papers, but fate intervened in the form of a broken leg. Che peccato!

I think the novella is one of the finest works of literature to be set in Venice and I often visit the garden of the Palazzo Soranzo Cappello, which served as the model for the garden in the book 'with its weeds and its wild rich tangle, its sweet characteristic Venetian shabbiness.' 

James wrote the bulk of the novella while he was living in Florence, but he completed it in Venice when he was staying in the Palazzo Barbaro as a guest of the Curtis family.