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Apennines map

The Apennines[1] are the principle mountain range of Italy, extending in three distinct chains from the southern tip of the country at Reggio di Calabria to some 750 miles north where they join with the Ligurian Alps in Altare in the northwest continental portion of the country.

The Apennines in Steven's work

The Apennines twice appear in Steven's poem "Arcades of Philadelphia the Past." Here they are associated with the deep cultural past formed in Italy, whose Roman civilization forms the basis for much of modern Western society. Likewise, it can be seen to be modified by Steven's allusion to Philadelphia, location one of the seven Christian churches mentioned in Revelation. In this way, it functions in the poem as a placeholder for ideas of a cultural and spiritual heritage formed centuries ago. Through this allusion, Stevens questions the value of looking deeply into the past, where what we receive for our looking are "fakes" and "Dry seconds and insipid thirds."



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