Seductive Read for COVID-19: Journey Round My Room

Journey Round My Room, published by San Francisco’s Arion Press, is a  travelogue by Xavier de Maistre.

This edition, with photographs by Ross Anderson, is signed by the artist

The story in a nutshell:

In 1790, as a young officer in the Piedmontese army, Xavier de Maistre participated in a duel. It is not known whether his opponent perished or was wounded; de Maistre records no injury to himself. As punishment for the duel he was confined to his own quarters in Turin for 42 days.

During his house arrest he wrote this short book. The conceit is that although the author is incarcerated, he is free to travel in his imagination. Confined to his room, waited upon by his servant and accompanied by his dog, he counts the 36 paces of the room’s periphery and crisscrosses the space haphazardly, encountering objects that trigger imaginary journeys.

Architect Ross Anderson took sixteen photographs of models of the room, its furnishings, and the author’s traveling coat, with a cellphone camera. These low-resolution pictures are printed on translucent paper; the result is an elusive evocation of an interior that reflects the interior of the mind.