“A strange dream upon the water”

Venice as inspiration for writers and reader-tourists

  • Ilda Erkoçi University of Shkodra
Palavras-chave: Venice, Literature, Readers, Tourism, Water, Ambivalence


Water is an ambivalent topic to talk about, being a source of life and death, a symbol of reflection and transcendence. When one thinks of water, one is often reminded of Venice. Venice cannot be imagined without its waterways, which have gained it the name of “the floating city.” The unique character of this city shaped by water has turned it into a source of inspiration for numerous writers who have made Venice a setting in their works, contributing to the city becoming a popular destination for reader-tourists. Through a combination of close reading and secondary sources, this paper looks at the symbol of water as appearing in selected fiction related to Venice. It also tries to tackle how such literary representations have shaped the perceptions and the imagination of readers to the point of turning them into tourists going in search of their own experience of the floating city. The theoretical framework of this paper draws on Bachelard’s concept of water, Foucault’s concept of heterotopia and the reader-response theory.