- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Virago; Reprint edition (January 27, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1853816795
- ISBN-13: 978-1853816796
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #839,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Turkish Embassy Letters Reprint Edition
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Her letters have an immediacy and vivacity that remains as fresh as the mosiacs on the ancient monuments she saw and the eastern gardens that gave her such delight.―Anita Desai
From the Publisher
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) was described by a contemporary as "one of the most extraordinary shining characters in the world." Her letters, collected here, tell of her travels through Europe to Turkey in 1716, where her husband had been appointed Ambassador. Her liveliness makes them delightfully readable, and her singular intelligence provides us with insights that were exceptional for their time. Her ability to study another culture according to its own values, and to see herself through the eyes of others, makes Lady Mary one of the most fascinating and accomplished of early travel writers.
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Top customer reviews
It is obvious, reading the book, that Lady Mary was, at heart, an ardent romanticist. It is no wonder, then, that some years after her return to stuffy old England, she left again and spent most of the rest of her life in Italy and France. Just under two years spent under the Turkish sun had a profound effect on her. I would venture to say she was never the same woman again, and it’s a great pleasure to read about the influences which shaped that process.
1717 | Adrianople
The Corset Stays
I was here convinced of the truth of a reflection I had often made—that if it was the fashion to go naked, the face would be hardly observed. I perceived that the ladies with the finest skins and most delicate shapes had the greatest share of my admiration, though their faces were sometimes less beautiful than those of their companions.
In short, it is the women’s coffee house, where all the news of the town is told, scandal invented, etc. They generally take this diversion once a week and stay there at least four or five hours, without getting cold by immediately coming out of the hot bath into the cold room, which was very surprising to me.
The lady that seemed the most considerable among them entreated me to sit by her and would fain have undressed me for the bath. I excused myself with some difficulty. They being all so earnest in persuading me, I was at last forced to open my shirt and show them my stays, which satisfied them very well—for they believed I was so locked up in that machine, that it was not in my own power to open it, which contrivance they attributed to my husband. I was charmed with their civility and beauty and should have been very glad to pass more time with them.
Robert C. Ross