Beirut has seen many armies and empires come and go, but the legacy of this long history is not so much in surviving monuments as in the quintessential Levantine spirit of the people. A commercial hub since the days of the Phoenicians, it was a center of learning under the Romans, its law school pre-eminent in the Empire. Both currents are discernible today, with vibrant Arab, French, and American universities and more publishing houses than the rest of the Arab world coexisting with the most dynamic financial center in the Middle East. Beirut was the point of entry to the Levant for many Europeans and Americans undertaking a Grand Tour or a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and visitors (whether their focus was piously Biblical or more prosaic) recorded their impressions of this effervescent port city where East rubs against West. A Beirut Anthology gathers the choicest of these, from writers as diverse as Alphonse de Lamartine and Mark Twain, providing a surprising and vivid glimpse behind the veil of this elusive and alluring city.
A Beirut Anthology
Travel Writing through the Centuries
1 August 2015
20 b/w illus.
For sale worldwide
Past, Present and Future
Past, Present and FutureJean-Yves Empereur
During the 1990s the French archaeologist Jean-Yves Empereur has conducted a series of remarkable excavations in the ancient city of Alexandria. His discoveries—both under water and on dry land—have considerably increased our knowledge of a city whose splendors and vast population amazed ancient travelers to the eastern Mediterranean. Founded in 331 bc by Alexander the Great, after whom it is named, Alexandria equaled Athens in its sphere of influence and rivaled Rome politically. A major center of Hellenistic, Jewish, and Christian culture, it was famed for its Library, its Mouseion and its magnificent palaces (home to Cleopatra and her ancestors), of which, sadly, no traces remain. However, Jean-Yves Empereur’s underwater excavations have recovered several thousand blocks from the famous lighthouse, which watched over the port from the third century bc until the fourteenth century and was known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Meanwhile, the excavations of six further sites on land, including the catacombs at Kom el-Shuqafa and the necropolis at Gabbari, have provided much new information on the architecture, living conditions, religious practices, and artistic life of the city of Alexander and Cleopatra. In this book Empereur describes the methods he used to unearth these exciting and spectacular finds—often under very difficult conditions—and assesses the information they reveal about the life of the ancient city. The book is richly illustrated with dramatic photographs, most of them by Stéphane Compoint....read more
128 color photographs, 28 b/w illus.
Yesterday and Today
Lithographs and diaries by David Roberts, R.A. Text by Fabio Bourbon Photographs by Antonio Attini
Yesterday and TodayLithographs and diaries byDavid Roberts, R.A.
Text byFabio Bourbon
Photographs byAntonio Attini
David Roberts, one of the most skilled landscape artists of his time, set out for Egypt in 1838, where he made countless sketches of the most remarkable sites and monuments during the course of his eleven-month journey through Egypt, Sinai, and the Levant. Superb lithographs made from his work, first published between 1846 and 1848, are richly reproduced here in resplendent color, along with Roberts’s diary accounts of his travels along the Nile Valley from Alexandria to the fabulous Abu Simbel temples. Each illustration is accompanied by a photograph showing the same view more than 150 years later. Fabio Bourbon’s lucid essay introduces anew this nineteenth-century fine artist and contextualizes his images for the modern reader....read more
1 February 2011
252 color illus.
Egypt and the Nile
Through Writers’ Eyes
Edited by Deborah Manley Sahar Abdel-Hakim
Through Writers’ EyesEdited by Deborah Manley
No land on earth has been so comprehensively observed as Egypt, which was attracting awestruck travelers back in the days of Herodotus and Julius Caesar. This rich and varied collection brings the diversity and the continuity of Egypt together to give a picture of this country, its many places, its long history, and its people: the pharoahs, sultans, pilgrims to Sinai, Crusaders, and Napoleon, followed by the Grand Tourists of the eighteenth century and those less grand with Thomas Cook in the nineteenth. The range of voices gathered here is dazzling: an ancient myth from a papyrus next to Naguib Mahfouz’s account of Alexandria, Florence Nightingale describing Abu Simbel side by side with Ahdaf Soueif’s description of Sinai. A description of medieval Cairo by Ibn Jubayr walks hand in hand with one of the modern city by the Egyptian thinker Taha Hussein. Lucie Duff-Gordon sails up the Nile, Edward Lane crawls through a sand-filled temple, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel struggles up the cataract above Aswan....read more
A Cairo Anthology
Two Hundred Years of Travel Writing
Edited by Deborah Manley
Two Hundred Years of Travel WritingEdited by Deborah Manley
Cairo has long been recognized as one of the great cities of the world, and many travelers have recorded their descriptions of it over the centuries—from the early eye-witness account of Herodotus to the reflections of Sir Richard Burton, Florence Nightingale, and Mark Twain.
A Cairo Anthology gathers together the impressions of many of these writers: with them we experience the excitement of exploring the great city, through its crowded streets and colorful bazaars, we enter the hotels, hire donkeys, ascend to the historic Citadel, and look out across the Nile toward the Sphinx and the Pyramids, and we visit those vast monuments that are in reality always larger and more extraordinary than one can believe, and climb to their summits to gaze back at Cairo, the Mother of the World....read more
30 November 2013
27 b/w illus.