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In Morocco

3.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  324 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews

"I stand in portico hung with gentian-blue ipomeas ... and look out on a land of mists and mysteries; a land of trailing silver veils through which domes and minarets, mighty towers and ramparts of flushed stone, hot palm groves and Atlas snows, peer and disappear at the will of the Atlantic cloud-drifts"

A classic of travel writing, In Morocco is Edith Wharton's remarkab

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Published January 1st 2010 by MobileReference (first published 1919)
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June Seghni
I have been interested in this part of the world for some time...I have always been something of a romantic, devouring the works of Paul Bowles ,long time resident of Morocco.. and following the adventures of intrepid female travellers; Gertrude Bell, Isabelle Eberhardt, Freya Stark. so I was thoroughly prepared to love this book.
In fact it was , to use a sporting cliche,a game of two halves for me. The lush descriptions of the sights and sounds of Morocco were enticing, the historical detail ab
4 MAR 2016 - cover love!

This is a better synopsis: In 1917, amid the turmoil of World War I, Edith Wharton, the author of The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth, travelled to Morocco. A classic of travel writing, In Morocco is her account of this journey through the country's cities and through its deserts.

Free download at Project Gutenberg -

9 MAR 2016 - review pending.
Jun 05, 2015 Elaine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Some fascinating vignettes, especially her harem visits. Also interesting to see the colonial mindset of the period being reflected in real time, as it were. For each interesting detail, there is a political or racial view that will make the modern reader cringe. (Or I should say this modern reader - the truth is that Wharton's reductive view of the Islamic world is probably not that different than that held by many today).

I read it in Morocco as we visited the same sites that Wharton saw a cen
Nilda Brooklyn
Mar 04, 2013 Nilda Brooklyn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I knew going into this book that Edith Wharton traveled to and wrote about Morocco during its French colonial period,after reading the book you learn that her entire trip was made possible by the French colonial government, so I was not expecting a nuanced account of life in Morocco, but I wanted to give her account and experience an open-mind. Her experience in Morocco (though it is an important fact that this book is little more than a travel journal for a one month journey) is one that has be ...more
Edith Wharton wrote 22 novels, many groups of short stories, some poetry, and several works of non-fiction on interior design, architecture, and travel guide books. In Morocco falls into the travel catagory as it documents her 1917 trip through parts of Morroco, traveling with a French General in a motorcar. There are some good things to be said about this book, and some not so good. Edith Wharton's wonderful writing skill, and her ability to capture the finest detail, paint interesting and beau ...more
Jun 21, 2012 kat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-read, kindle
If six months seemed like a long time a year seems like eternity, and a whole goddamned year is how long it will be before I'm allowed to travel. So what did I do? I started reading about Edith Wharton's trip to Morocco, or rather, what I thought would be an account of Edith Wharton's trip to Morocco. And ostensibly I guess that's what this is, but mostly it's a mere snapshot of an exotic country in the midst of colonialism, the Cliff's Notes version of the Cliff Notes for the country's long and ...more
I went. She forgot mention a few very important things.
Mar 01, 2015 Umi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before I say anything else: yes, it's hopelessly dated, plagued by colonialist trope, and and very much 'of its time.'

That having been said, I gave this five stars because:

1. When I myself am writing, I find myself tending toward opinion first rather than just describing what is there. So art school cliched, but it's good to establish at what precisely we're looking. Wharton does this impeccably and in the process such observation is imbued with her own voice. It's not dry enumerations but a set
Wharton makes her steady, stately way through Morocco, commenting on Roman ruins, chubby merchants on tiny donkeys, short or long trains of camels, veiled women, dark-eyed children darting through the plazas and bazaars--over bad roads, good roads, or no roads at all. As long as she does all the work, I can't get tired of her remarks. And since I've never been to Morocco, I'll never know if what she writes is at all like the real place. And since she was there a hundred years ago (almost) it mig ...more
Lydia St Giles
Mar 09, 2016 Lydia St Giles rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
This is a disconcerting book. The first five chapters tell of the writer’s journey across Morocco in 1917. She travelled in “the next best thing to a Djinn’s carpet” - a military motor - from Tangier to Fez and Marrakech.
Wharton describes, in beautiful prose, the towns and landscapes, the animals and plants, the men and women that she observes in a Morocco as yet untouched by tourism. Barred by language and custom from communications with the bazaar-dwellers, camel-drivers and water-carriers,
Jan 22, 2015 Hamish rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I love Edith Wharton. I want to make that clear. But this...this is not good. While it claims to be the very first travel guide to Morocco, it more resembles a book-length justification for French colonial rule. Wharton spend a whopping four weeks (which, given the transit infrastructure at the time, allowed her to see less than I saw in two weeks. And I would hardly consider that enough for me to write a book about) in Morocco and was at all times under the watchful eye of French guides provide ...more
Sep 24, 2012 Fiona rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
This is the true experiences of author Edith Wharton's expedition to French Morocco in the early days of WWI. At the time, there was little travel to this country.

Ms Wharton had an extraordinary view of Morocco. She was the personal guest of General and Madame Lyautey. He was the French Resident-General (head administrative honcho in Morocco). As a result she was provided unparalleled access to areas of the country, particularly to the Sultan's palace and mosques, which were typically off limits
T. Browning
I'm not sure if reading this book while on route/in Morocco made it worse or better. It was definitely interesting to read how different our impressions of the country were and how similar they were at the same time. I also thought a lot about if the differences were caused by the actual place being different, which it certainly is, or if it just a difference of perception.

The writing here is a beautiful, as all of Wharton's is. The flow in the book does seem off, as she doesn't really seem sure
Oct 28, 2015 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Morocco is one of the most interesting books I have read in a while, a real hidden gem stumbled upon while browsing Wharton's works. It has kind of a strange arrangement though...

The first section was my favourite- dreamy poetic descriptions of cities and ruins with a few vague personal experiences.

Next comes a collection of visits to the women's quarters (harems) of various people. Critics think this part show the most personal opinions. I thought it was interesting, but would have preferre
Apr 27, 2016 Tiffany rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: morocco
There is a ton to criticize here--Wharton's visit to Morocco was hosted by the French colonial administrator and she unsurprisingly has a lot of praise for all that the French have done for Morocco. To the modern ear, the liberal use of the word "Negress" and the many generalizations about how "all orientals" think/feel/live are difficult to bear. That being said, she's not wrong about everything and she's not 100% pro-French, she's just 100% pro-General Lyautey. Her comparisons of French rule i ...more
Oct 27, 2011 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edith Wharton_NEVER lets me down.This was one of the most descriptive books I've read in some time.Her every detail about what city she's in,the local flavor,the weather,the architectural designs,the custom of sitting on the roofs,the Markets,a witness to sacrificial animals used in religion,experience of the Harems,the food,The Sultans and the History of Morocco,etc...are painted as an "Impressionistic" work of Art.

Wharton painted realistic scenes of modern life at the time of her travels.She
Katharine Harding
I enjoyed the descriptions of Morocco, particularly the cities and the landscape generally. It was very atmospheric. Having been to Morocco a couple of times, reading this really took me back there, which was the main reason I enjoyed it.

I gave it three stars because the attitudes to the people were really quite dated and on occasions I found it slightly uncomfortable to read. I know it was a long time ago, but compared to someone like Freya Stark, who travelled through Arabia only a couple of d
This book was written over a hundred years ago, so it came to be a surprise that it was relatively correct as a guide for modern times. I enjoyed the commentary on the customs and peoples that Ms. Wharton encounters on her voyage to a place 'that has no guidebook'. She makes everything sound so exotic which was perfect for my own experiences in Morocco. It is exotic. Don't expect the same restaurants and hotels to be around, just like picking up an old guide from the 90's, but the people and the ...more
May 26, 2012 Tarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wharton is much more vivid in her detail in her descriptions in "In Morocco." Because her background knowledge is so much less than for her other, European, travel writing, she relies more on her descriptive powers, which are in abundance. Try to overlook the privilege that this woman is exerting by taking this trip: she is traveling via French military car during WWI escorted by a French General... who, later in life, would be a fascist sympathizer. But other than THAT, this is actually a reall ...more
Linda Smith
Mar 18, 2013 Linda Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of remarkable descriptions of Morocco as it was: Wharton's visit took place just after the French established their presence there, post World War I. Just be wary: her views and opinions are a reflection of the contemporary colonial mentality that prevailed at the time; she was an adamant supporter of French imperialism, in praise of their "civilizing" influence on the country. Nevertheless, her first-hand account of harems, the countryside and the sultan, etc., are insightful.
This book was dryreading from a writer who I normally love. I know this book is a document of her travels rather than a fictional work, but I still expected a more interesting read.

I gave it three stars, because it did still present a verbal snapshot of what the country of Morocco was like in the early 1900s along with a good historical background on the country.

I was particularly intrigued (and saddened) to read how restricted the women were.
Diana Turner
Sep 22, 2010 Diana Turner rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Wharton pays very close attention to the history of every place she visits, and recounts it here. While the stories she recounts are interesting, her travelogue comes across pretty dry. There were scant descriptions of people - just sweeping histories or observations of groups, but hardly any narratives of individual Moroccans , nor of herself or her travel companions. This was a pretty big letdown.
Joey Manley
I had forgotten that Edith Wharton was an interior designer. The most interesting parts of this book describe her impressions of the Moroccan design aesthetic, in clothing, architecture furnishings, etc. her political and social "insights" are as poisonous as one might expect from a provincial white lady of great privilege in the early 20th century. The rest is blah. Blah.
Aug 16, 2011 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Considering the distance in time, this was a fascinating account of a wartime trip through Morocco. I was interested to find that things had not changed in some ways from 1918 to 1979 when I went there. We tend to think women of Wharton's era were ignorant or innocent, but Wharton was neither as her novels show, and she has convinced me to return in Morocco.
Lukrezia Cosimo
Mar 08, 2015 Lukrezia Cosimo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: morocco
Really the first travel guide to Morocco. Beautiful descriptions of souks, buildings, and life in merchants' houses. Not much personal detail - a shame as this would have livened up the account even more. I was irritated by the uncritical account of the work of Lyautey, but then Edith Wharton couldn't know that he would end up admiring Mussolini.
I got this books for my trip to morocco. I felt that Wharton did a great job summing up the complex history of the country. In addition her language was stunning and I felt many of her descriptions still rang true. I would definitely recommend to those traveling to or considering going to morocco.
Mar 13, 2011 Lindsay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, africa, kindle, z2011
Probably not the most relevant research for my forth coming trip to Morocco, but it has made me more excited about the trip.

The writing style was beautiful and highly descriptive, and has left me with an exotic impression of Morocco, but I'll have to see how it measures up.
Sophie Goodeve
Difficult at times because it is sooooo colonial, with something of a total love-affair with General Lyautey and the "improvements" of the French Protectorate. However, I read this whilst I was in Morocco and I think it did add something to my experience by showing this perspective.
Alex Van Beek
It's a beautifully written travel guide, but it's still a travel guide and, accordingly, did not grab my interest in the way something so well written might have otherwise. If I were to keep reading this I'd be forcing myself to get through it, so why bother.
Mar 18, 2012 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this travel guide on the trains between Marrakesh, Casablanca and Fes.It is by no means a complete account for a modern Moroccan traveler, but it was fascinating to learn how much was same 90 years after this book was written.
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Edith Newbold Jones was born into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family's return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith's creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the a ...more
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