Middle East Travel
English edition  
December  2015
160 pp.
24 b/w illus. 
Hardbound
12X16 cm
$18.95
LE100
ISBN 9789774167218
For sale worldwide

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An Istanbul Anthology

Travel Writing through the Centuries Edited by Kaya Genç

The entrancing spirit of the fabled city of Istanbul through the eyes of writers and travelers

For centuries following its reestablishment as Constantinople in AD 330, Istanbul served as the capital of three great empires: Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman. The city’s maze-like streets and high balconies, its steep alleys, flower gardens, and forested hillsides remain soaked in the vestiges of that imperial past, and it is to that past and to Istanbul’s unearthly moods and waters that so many writers and diarists journeyed in search of escape, knowledge, happiness, or sheer wonderment. An Istanbul Anthology takes us on a nostalgic journey through the city with travelers’ accounts of the sights, smells, and sounds of Istanbul’s bazaars and coffeehouses, its grand palaces and gardens, crumbling buildings, and ancient churches and mosques, and the waters that so haunt and define it. With writers such as Gustave Flaubert, Pierre Loti, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, and André Gide, we discover and rediscover the many delights of this great city of antiquity, meeting point of East and West, and gateway to peoples and civilizations. About the series: The elegant, pocket-sized volumes in the AUC Press Anthology series feature the writings and observations of travel writers and diarists through the centuries. Vivid and evocative travelers’ accounts of some of the world’s great cities and regions are enhanced by the exquisite vintage design in small hardback format that make the books ideal gift books as well as perfect travel companions. Designed on cream paper stock and beautifully illustrated with line drawings and archival photographs.
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Kaya Genç is a novelist and essayist from Istanbul. His writing has appeared in The Believer, The Guardian, The Financial Times, and New Humanist, and he is a contributing editor at Index on Censorship. He blogs at kayagenc.net.

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“This is a very welcome pocket-sized collection of classic travel writing on Istanbul... It is a handsomely illustrated book made up of bite-size morsels from some of Istanbul's greatest travelers... a charming, modest volume that nicely fills a gap for those looking for a literary companion on a trip to the city.”—William Armstrong, Hurriyet Daily News

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"This is a very welcome pocket-sized collection of classic travel writing on Istanbul... It is a handsomely illustrated book made up of bite-size morsels from some of Istanbul's greatest travelers... a charming, modest volume that nicely fills a gap for those looking for a literary companion on a trip to the city."—William Armstrong, Hurriyet Daily News

"For anyone who has lived in, or even visited, Istanbul, this anthology provokes a strange cocktail of emotions: a powerful shot of nostalgia for a city long gone, envy of those who walked its streets hundreds of years ago, and a kind of affectionate surprise at recognising aspects of urban life still present today. . . . Genç has curated a compellingly real picture of the city, taking care to match the poetic with the crass, the enthusiastic with the disapproving, and everything in between."—LA Review of Books

"The book itself is like a letter from the past, beautifully bound, with cream-coloured pages and sepia sketches of old Constantinople scattered throughout like intermittent memories. The eclectic author list includes unexpected megastars of the 19th and 20th century like Gustave Flaubert, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ernest Hemingway, and Mark Twain. These are mixed with lesser-known writers with a more intimate knowledge of Istanbul, including several British women who lived and wrote there in the 18th to 20th centuries. These give us sneak glimpses into the feminine realms of the hamam and harem, as well as some of the most beautiful descriptions of mosques, city life, and the linguistic mosaic of a wealthy household’s staff."—LA Review of Books

"As a chronicle and guidebook to all the likely and unlikely things that will give keyif in Istanbul, reading the anthology becomes a part of that joyful experience; both as a window unto the Istanbul of yore that still persists in pockets today, and a wide variety of authors we should revisit and/or discover."—Nagihan Haliloglu, Daily Sabah

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