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Eothen: Traces of Travel Brought Home from the East

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  153 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
The camel kneels to receive her load, and for a while she will allow the packing to go on with silent resignation; but when she begins to suspect that her master is putting more than a just burden upon her poor hump, she turns round her supple neck, and looks sadly upon the increasing load, and then gently remonstrates against the wrong with the sigh of a patient wife. -fr ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published November 17th 2005 by Cosimo Classics (first published 1844)
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Buck
Oct 20, 2008 Buck rated it really liked it
Shelves: life-writing
Say what you will about the Victorians, they had self-confidence up the ying-yang. When Alexander Kinglake did his tour of the Middle East in the 1830's, he was essentially a glorified backpacker - an over-refined product of a bumptious, imperialistic culture. Still, you can't help but marvel at the insouciance with which he charms and blusters his way across the Ottoman empire, browbeating corrupt pashas, strolling nonchalantly through plague-stricken cities, and busting out of tiresome quaran ...more
Jim
Nov 30, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is perhaps the best book ever written about a trip by a Western European to the Middle East before 1914. Author Alexander William Kinglake does not appear to have any axes to grind and writes vividly about what the Eastern Mediterranean was like during the waning days of the ottoman Empire. Eothen is a classic and deserves to be read today for its historical perspective on how that part of the world has changed so markedly in a scant hundred years.
فهد الفهد
رحلة إلى المشرق

لدي ضعف شديد تجاه كتب السير الذاتية وكتب الرحلات، تبدو لي ممتعة ومثيرة دوماً، ولكن هذا الكتاب كان استثناءً، لم يعجبني، لم أشعر برحلة المؤلف ولم أعشها، ربما لأنه فقير في طاقته التعبيرية والوصفية، وربما لأنني تضايقت من عجرفته وعنصريته.

على أي حال، الرحالة هو آ. و. كينغلك، رجل بريطاني قام برحلته هذه في سنة 1833 م، حيث تنقل بين الشام وفلسطين ومصر، التي كانت حينها تحت حكم الدولة العثمانية، مسجلاً لقائه مع الليدي هستر ستانهوب، وهي امرأة إنجليزية مخبولة، تعيش في دير قديم يبعد عن بيروت م
...more
Suzannah
William Dalrymple, surely the most entertaining travel writer of recent years, cites 1830s traveller Alexander William Kinglake as one of his inspirations. Since Kinglake also roamed through the Levant, stopping at Smyrna, Cyprus, Nablus, Cairo, and Damascus, I decided to read his account of his journey. The prospect was tempting on account of being a look at travel in the Levant before the upheavals of the twentieth century, but I was a little surprised by how very entertaining it was.
It is the
...more
Sara
Jul 11, 2013 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous. I don't know if I've ever enjoyed a 'classic' more.
Kinglake reminded me a surprising amount of Bill Bryson, in tone if not in verbosity.
His ending seemed abrupt -- there was a much better end-point a chapter or two previous (but I suppose it makes sense to finish your travelogue where your travels actually ended).

If you like travelogues, this is available for free ebook download on amazon.
Debra
Mar 22, 2008 Debra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a graceful, provocative book with some startling sentences. It is one of those books that challenges you to rethink the familiar.

I have frequently quoted his reflection on the use of middlemen vs. market bargaining to determine the value of goods.
Michael Lipsey
Jul 13, 2008 Michael Lipsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A trip through the middle-east in 1850, Not a travel book at all. He just described, hilariously, exactly what he saw and heard. The writing is fresh. Worth reading just for his descriptions of what people wore before Nike and Levis ruled the world.
Laura
Sep 05, 2007 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the historically-minded who bear an openminded interest in the Middle East
This Englishman's perspective on the middle east-- the middle east that we know today, Palestine and Israel and Syria and Egypt, in all their old Ottoman wildnesses-- is fascinating in more ways than one. Kingslake is an immensely likeable writer, and he writes from an immensely appealing point of view: that of the young twentysomething traveler trotting out across the desert with a bold and shockingly careless opinion of everyone and everything he comes across.
He writes with such authenticity a
...more
False
Feb 24, 2016 False rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
I picked this book up in January, put it down after a short read, then finished it today as it was due back and was an interlibrary loan copy, i.e. not easily acquired. I didn't want to have to check it out again. My copy was the first edition Blackwood 1904 copy. Since that isn't on Book Reads, I would have had to photograph it, edit it, post the picture and fill in all of the data pertinent to a newly entered book, and to be honest, I just didn't have the time or mindset to get into that, so I ...more
Scott Harris
Reading Victorian travel journals is an exercise that requires some practice! While Kinglake's delight in his experiences has to be found somewhere beneath his cocky colonial attitude, not only toward those from the "East" that he meets but also toward other Europeans. At times, you'd almost mistake it for satire but realize that he was being serious in his assessment. This is not a long or complicated read, so it is worth the effort. It is also important to remember that Kinglake's account open ...more
Mumbler
hard to rate right now, at the moment of finishing, cause it tails off. the last several chapters are heavier on the insulting of the local people & rulers. lacking the charm of most of the book.

and perhaps the disconnectedness of all the episodes pays off with a lesser satisfaction at the close.

but I frequently loved it. maybe with time I will have a clearer opinion on whether or how much I hold this book dear.
Cynthia Frazer
Jan 07, 2015 Cynthia Frazer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting to hear the memoir (for it is very informal English, based on letters written home to a dear friend) of a British subject defy quarantine based on rank, hear comments about tribesman in the hills of Afghanistan to be mobilized at a moment's notice....accounts of christians and mohammadeans living uneasily in the same locales...the very best armchair traveling, in a time machine.
Leif
Jan 31, 2010 Leif rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh boy. Self-congratulatory, Eurocentrizing travel writing of the first rate. Kinglake has blithe assumptions about women, "Asiatics," "Orientals," and many more, which at times blind or otherwise limit him. Implicitly the story of "how I had freedom and got my own way in everything," Eothen is both a repelling book and an uninteresting one.
John
Mar 28, 2013 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed only one or two chapters "The Desert" XVII and the following "Cairo and the Plague" which were very evocative of the desert its dangers the arduousness of travel by camel. Snapshots of characters also pretty good but largely a period piece of import for being first of any sense of "modern" in travel writing.
k
Apr 18, 2014 k rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Won't finish this book, got about 2/3rds through. Fun to read "topical and of-the-times" writing (it's a travelogue) from a different era, just to see the style and the horrible racism and narrowness that strikes Kinglake as totally normal, not to mention the crappy practicalities of travel (Ebola quarantines have nothing on this). Still, a bit of a bore.
Lemar
Nov 26, 2012 Lemar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
This first hand account of travel in the 1830's is a gold mine of first hand experience. Unfortunately is is tempered by rampant racism sadly endemic at the time. Nevertheless if one can put on extra thick boots and wade through it is a well written travel journal of travel from a time when each small sub-culture had their own dress and customs; fascinating read, shower after recommended.
Jamie
Sep 21, 2013 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable read of the travels across the Middle East during the 1834 at the time of the plague. Loved the passion and curiosity to see the world that transcended cultural norms and fears.
Tony Ramirez
Aug 31, 2008 Tony Ramirez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adventurers
The best travel book ever written, Winston Churchill's favorite. Recently re-read.
S
Mar 08, 2009 S marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
"droll elegance"
Campangolin
Jul 11, 2009 Campangolin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Funny, ironic and, as the introduction says, "deliciously nasty".
Ann Marie
Jul 14, 2008 Ann Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5
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Alexander William Kinglake (5 August 1809 – 2 January 1891) was an English travel writer and historian.

He was born near Taunton, Somerset and educated at Eton College, Cambridge. He was called to the Bar in 1837, and built up a thriving legal practice, which in 1856 he abandoned in order to devote himself to literature and public life.

His first literary venture had been Eothen; or Traces of travel
...more
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