I had some recent correspondence from Venice where its flooding was
mentioned so I dug up an previously unread magazine article to learn
more. The article mentioned the Bridge of Sighs and it also mentioned
the story of how it got its name, i.e., prisoners were moved between
buildings to their execution or torture. With the Eliot connection to
Venice in "Burbank" I thought of the lines in TWL
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
So off I went, looking on the internet. It was a short trip. The
picture of the bridge at this webpage pretty much put a stop to me
thinking that Eliot alluding to it. The text was interesting too.
Antonio Contino's bridge [Ponte de Sospiri] over the Rio di Palazzo
was erected in the year 1600 to connect the Doge's prisons, or
Prigioni, with the inquisitor's rooms in the main palace. The name
"Bridge of Sighs" was invented in the 19th Century, when Lord Byron
helped to popularize the belief that the bridge's name was inspired by
the sighs of condemned prisoners as they were led through it to the
executioner. (In reality, the days of inquisitions and summary
executions were over by the time the bridge was built, and the cells
under the palace roof were occupied mostly by small-time criminals.)
I decided to write this up for the list away in case anyone either had
ideas of their own or knew of other people mentioning this bridge in
relation to Eliot.
Here are links to a few other photos and paintings of the bridge:
I also looked up the basilica of Saint Apollinaire En Classe Eliot
used in "Lune de Miel." Steve had sent in better pictures at one