Jonathan Walker


On his book Pistols! Treason! Murder! The Rise and Fall of a Master Spy

Cover Interview of February 03, 2010

Editor’s note

Originally, this interview ran on the Rorotoko cover page under the headline

“Why can’t I just write a normal history book?”

We highlighted two quotes.

On the first page:

“The major issue for seventeenth-century Venetians was not how to assert their individuality so much as how to reconcile competing claims on their loyalties.  Nonetheless, this problem itself contributed to the ‘birth of the individual.’  People became aware of who they were not only by meditating on their own uniqueness, but by outwardly pretending to be someone they were not.”

On the second:

“Although this image is composed of elements adapted from early modern sources, I have no idea what Vano or Cazzari looked like or wore.  And while Cazzari certainly was assassinated as a result of Vano’s reports on his activities, his dead body was not in fact dismembered.  This image is therefore a kind of diagram, one mapping arguments and elaborating subtexts rather than describing events.”