President Dupaty’s Lettres sur l’Italie, which, by reason of their typology, occupy a special place among accounts of travels in Italy in the eighteenth century, reveal straightaway an intriguing and subtle play on the absence and the presence of names, both of places and of people. This raises a certain number of question which this paper will attempt to answer. The first question that arises is whether the shortened journey through the peninsula and the route taken by the traveller to visit various sites within Italian cities came about purely by chance. The paper will then consider certain female figures to whom the author makes a veiled allusion, as well as the unnamed addressee, to whom he makes passing reference in some of the letters. Consideration will also be given to their potential narrative function. This will be followed by an attempt to identity the people whose initials are literally scattered throughout the text and also those figures whom the magistrate was able to meet during his travels, but who are either barely mentioned or whom he deliberately avoids mentioning. Finally, consideration will be given to those names which, by contrast, seem to have been singled out by Dupaty, and why their appearance might be significant.
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