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Eothen: Traces of Travel Brought Home from the East
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Eothen: Traces of Travel Brought Home from the East

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  80 ratings  ·  16 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 1st 2005 by Cosimo Classics (first published 1844)
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Buck
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
Fahad
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
Sara
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
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
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 12, 2007 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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.
Lemar
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.
k
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.
Leif
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
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.
Tony Ramirez
Dec 27, 2012 Tony Ramirez rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adventurers
The best travel book ever written, Winston Churchill's favorite. Recently re-read.
Campangolin
Funny, ironic and, as the introduction says, "deliciously nasty".
Ed
Fantastic, what a great bloke!
S
Mar 08, 2009 S marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
"droll elegance"
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63073
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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