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Eothen: Traces of Travel Brought Home from the East Paperback – November 1, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
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?
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.Read more ›
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..."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
egotistics abound by this unworldly Brit who calls wrongly most that he sees. Like a kid going to a new place ,passing judgements and honouring himself for it. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Mark L. Shane
It is a fascinating account of Ottoman Empire's decadence.
With his daring adventures, Kinglake was a noble precursor
of Sir Richard Burton and his exploits in the... Read more
Amazon asked me to review this purchase, however, my review is limited to the purpose for which I bought my second copy of Eothen. Read morePublished on April 6, 2011 by Professor Emeritus P. Bagnolo
"Eothen" is a marvellous source of Victorian "Orientalism". Completely unconscious, Alexander William Kingsley, projects his British self into alien worlds equipped with such... Read morePublished on September 29, 2009 by Henriette T. Donner