'Where Youth Grows Pale, and Spectre-Thin, and Dies'

This city's Piazza di Spagna is an unlikely workplace for scholars of English literature. The sightseeing crowds, the horse-drawn carriages, the overflowing shops and cafes all seem to mock the idea of intellectual labor. And while plenty of English can be heard, it's not poetry or academic discourse, but the crude lingua franca of global tourism.

Yet inside a townhouse at the foot of the Spanish Steps is an extensive archive that Duncan Wu, a professor of English at the University of