Now in a new and different role, Connolly pushes the action even further to the east. Whether dressed as a traditional Georgian courtesan or a dishevelled refugee, she is captivating.
There are many sections of this book (all brief, by necessity, not their author) with little consequence but they stick with you. This is Connolly’s translation of one of those remarkable autobiographies. It goes without saying that one cannot understand him at all when they encounter him at two different historical moments and radically different epochs.
We see the modern Renaissance man. Erasmus is a wonderful prose stylist and, deep in this Renaissance woman, admires men and women with great intelligence – Thomas More, Vasco da Gama, Ibsen. There is a wonderful moment when he is lecturing students and they forget the professor, almost reaching across the partition to touch him. This is repeated in another scenario when he dances with his wife. He gives you his time, his attention and he loves to show it. Connolly renders him with a depth of imagination that is admirable, capturing his childlike innocence as well as his grace.