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Eothen: Traces of Travel Brought Home from the East Paperback – November 1, 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In the autumn of 1834, Alexander William Kinglake and a friend, John Savile--recently back from a trip to Russia, Persia, and India--set out for Turkey and the Levant. The two young men went by way of Berlin, Prague, and Vienna to Semlin, where, having crossed the River Save and now in Ottoman territory, they proceeded to Belgrade. At Smyrna Savile was called home, and Kinglake, with his guide and interpreter, went on by himself--by ship to Cyprus and Beirut, then to the Holy Land, Cairo, and finally Damascus. As Barbara Krieger points out in her introduction, with Savile gone and Kinglake on his own in a foreign world, the trip suddenly became something different. Out of those experiences came Eothen. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

British writer and historian ALEXANDER WILLIAM KINGLAKE (1809-1891) was educated at Eton.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Cosimo Classics (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596055901
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596055902
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,556,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a book to be treasured and I read it several times. It is hard to imagine the world Kinglake describes which is virtually extinct now at a time when lions abounded in Eastern Europe, Caliphs and Pashas smoked their pipes through long tubing and Lady Hester Stanhope gets esoteric.
Full of humour, the book is as British as they come with such sensitive nuances about the subject matter including disease, women, customs and issues of religion in the holy land.
I'm still looking for this brand of hero inside and out but don't think he's that common except as a carricature. Did Kinglake's world and attitude really exist?
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Format: Paperback
Absolutely Charming. A picture of an admirable type of man, long since extinct: The aristocratic Englishman, who views everything with an ironic good humor, and complains about nothing, no matter how dangerous, or annoying,or trying. The writing itself is priceless, the subject matter interesting, but it is the man himself that makes the book.
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By A Customer on April 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Once asked how he learned to write so well, Winston Churchill growled, "Kinglake." That was Alexander Kinglake whose main works were this slim travelogue reporting on his tour as a young man through the Levant and a huge history of the Crimean war which occupied most of his life. Eothen is a wonderfully engaging tale of a traveler and the people he encounters in what was at the time a formidable journey. We are fortunate that it is back in print, bibliophiles treasure the early, leather-bound editions.
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Format: Hardcover
If you've ever had a dream to travel outside of your own backyard, this book will give you the push you need to make that decision. Alexander Kinglake takes you through the exotic east by the most interesting modes of transportation. Horseback, Camels, Dromedaries, and fantastic sea vessels. You'll travel through places such as Stanboul, Constantinople, Cyprus, Galilee, Cairo, the Pyramids, and Jerusalem just to name a few.
A brilliant descriptive writer, Kinglake tells you every detail about what he's viewing along the way, along with the emotional side of traveling through history. Standing on a hilltop, possibly the precise spot where Homer did, that inspired his works, Kinglake takes you there with him, describing unchanged landscape and the flood of emotions that will definately touch you. When he arrived at the Holy lands, it left me in tears, and a great yearning to plan my own pilgrimage there.
It amazed me that this man made it through his travels safe and sound. He survived the plague which was rampant at that time. It was frightening to read about, let alone live through it! Which he tells about in depth. The extreme fear everyone lived in. Yet despite all the precautions taken, it still managed to seek you out and take you into it's unimaginable numbers. Day after day, he watched cavalcades of funeral processions pass through the streets, from sunrise to well beyond sunset. How he fooled it, I'll never know. He always seemed to be in contact with plague stricken people, and even thought for a time that he too had fallen victim when symptoms began to appear.
Through this journal you'll learn about the people of this era and before. The Ottomans, Bedouins, Monks, Jews, Catholics, and Christians. Aristocrats, such as Lady Hester, Sheiks, and Pasha's.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A wonderful book, when it's complete. But the idiot who produced this edition seems not to have grasped that the preface is part of the book, and that it lays the grounds for the plot, so he or she or it left the preface out.
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Format: Paperback
Eothen is a kind of quirky travelogue describing Alexander Kinglake's 1834 tour of the Near East; it was originally published in 1844.

Kinglake, like many an English gentleman (and lady) of his era, is full of prejudices and preconceptions about other cultures and races. He takes "the natural ascendancy of Europeans" as a graven truth, and doesn't scruple at making sweeping generalizations about Arabs, Jews, Turks, Greeks, and everyone else he encounters. The book, for this reason, probably reveals more about Kinglake than it does about the places he travelled. His descriptions of the customs and characters he observes are those of "a partial, prejudiced, & ignorant" outsider, and for that reason must be viewed with skepticism - but they are wonderfully entertaining all the same.

Here is an example of the witty style that makes this book delightful to read:

"Christianity permits, and sanctions, the drinking of wine, and of all the holy brethren in Palestine there are none who hold fast to this gladsome rite so strenuously as the monks of Damascus; not that they are more zealous Christians than the rest of their fellows in the Holy Land, but that they have better wine. Whilst I was at Damascus I had my quarters at the Franciscan convent there, and very soon after my arrival I asked one of the monks to let me know something of the spots that deserved to be seen... "There is nothing in all Damascus," said the good man, "half so well worth seeing as our cellars"; and forthwith he invited me to go, see, and admire the long range of liquid treasure that he and his brethren had laid up for themselves on earth. And these I soon found were not as the treasures of the miser, that lie in unprofitable disuse, for day by day, and hour by hour, the golden juice ascended from the dark recesses of the cellar to the uppermost brains of the friars..."

Highly recommended.
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