Johann G. Kohl: Viaggi nella Russia Meridionale di G. G. Kohl, prima versione dal tedesco di Enrico Valtancoli Montazio, Firenze: Società editrice fiorentina 1842
Signature: Ff 180 4421 raro IV
Figures: Frontispiece; p. 13 (L’Ucraina e la Nuova Russia); pp. 89–90 (Odessa)
After his father’s death in 1830, when Johann Georg Kohl (1808–1878) was necessitated to work, he traveled across Russia until 1838 and moved to western Latvia, where he served as a tutor.
His account of his journey through the southern part of the country starts with the city of Poltava on the Vorskla river. He mentions, in the introduction, earlier travelogs about southern Russia, specifying some unresolved questions and the need for fresh investigations about that country.
The description of Odesa is focused on the geographical situation of the city, located at the mouths of two rivers, a strategic location for trading.
Considerable emphasis is given to the economy, to products sold and imported, and to the street names in Russian and Italian, the most common languages in the city. Whereas Russian was the language of the people and the market, of the port and therefore of the authorities, Italian was commonly used for commerce and stock exchange.
The Italian translator Enrico Valtancoli Montazio (1816–1886) points out that he chooses to keep to the original edition by italicizing the many foreign words used by Kohl. Montazio blames the German author for being affected by the same linguistic confusion that Kohl noticed in Odesa. [VC]