Naples:life,death &
                Miracle contact: Jeff Matthews


John Lawson Stoddard (1850 – 1931) was an American lecturer, author and photographer. He was a pioneer in the use of the stereopticon or magic lantern, adding photographs to his popular lectures about his travels around the world. Because he published books related to his travels, he is credited with developing the genre of travelogues. In 1935, Daniel Crane Taylor wrote,
Stoddard's rise to fame was spectacular and unprecedented in the annals of American entertainers. No American lecturer, musician or actor has ever won so large a following in so short a time. From his second season, almost every lecture was sold out…He filled Daly's Theatre, one of the largest in New York, fifty times a season for ten years. …This would mean that Stoddard alone drew approximately one hundred thousand persons in New York each year.
Stoddard wrote countless books, pamphlets, and translations. That he is today obscure is today obscure is as interesting as his rise to fame. It may be that he made some poor political choices in his life, such as siding with the Central Powers in WWI (that is, Germany, the "bad guys"). In any cases, eventually he moved to northern Italy and converted to Roman Catholicism. Stoddard died in 1931 at his villa near Merano, SouthTyrol, Italy at the age of 81.

His 1894 travel book
A Trip Around the World contains this passage about the Santa Lucia section of Naples:

Naples is the noisiest city in the world, and the quay of Santa Lucia is the place where the Neapolitan uproar asserts itself most loudly. Wheels are clattering, whips are cracking, donkies are braying, minstrels are singing, and men, women and children are screaming, shouting and quarreling, as if all Bedlam had broken loose. Sound sleep is here impossible. The arms of Morpheus refuse to embrace the ever-noisy Santa Lucia. Crowds listen with delight to men who are often clad in rags, but who repeat whole cantos of Italian poetry with that passionate fervor which makes the Italian a natural actor. Public letter-writers pursue their avocation here for the benefit of those who can not themselves write. Toilettes are also here performed al fresco, and hair dressing is an invariable feature of most of the doorways. Naples has been truly described as a ‘Paradise inhabited by devils;’ but they are such amusing, merry devils that one does not altogether object to the pandemonium which its streets present. . . . How a photographer ever contrived to represent this street as tranquil and deserted as it here appears, is difficult to imagine, unless he chose for the experiment the noontide hour of a broiling summer day.
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