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.
Egypt and the Nile
Through Writers’ Eyes
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Also available by this author
From the Fourth to the Twenty-first CenturyEdited by Deborah Manley
Sinai has long attracted travelers to its ancient caravan routes and haunting landscapes, and visitors have frequently left written accounts of their experiences. In this wide-ranging anthology, Deborah Manley and Sahar Abdel- Hakim have collected dozens of accounts and observations from travelers who have written about Sinai, its people, its sights, and its historical and biblical landmarks. Starting with Egeria, a fourth-century Christian who relates her visit to Mt. Sinai and the Burning Bush, Traveling through Sinai offers a diverse collection of voices over the centuries. Among themare the German friar Felix Fabri, who visited in 1492, and nineteenth-century antiquarian William Flinders Petrie, giving his impressions of the Bedouins of the peninsula. French novelist Alexandre Dumas writes of meeting two monks in the desert carrying a letter signed by Napoleon, while others describe crossing the canal at Suez, the ancient inscriptions of Wadi Mukattab, and the harrowing experiences of desert travel....read more
13 April 2009
16 b/w illus.
From the Eighteenth to the Twenty-first CenturyEdited by Deborah Manley
Until late in the nineteenth century, few guidebooks acknowledged the presence of women as travelers—although women had been traveling around the world for centuries. Women’s accounts of their journeys, distinct from those of male travelers, began to appear more frequently in the early nineteenth century, and Egypt was a popular destination. Women had more time to watch and describe; they were more dependent on the Egyptian staff; they spent time both in the harems of Cairo and with the women they met along the Nile. Some of them, like Sarah Belzoni, Sophia Poole, and Ellen Chennells, spoke Arabic. Others wrote engagingly of their experiences as observers of an exotic culture, with special access to some places no man could ever go. From Eliza Fay’s description of arriving in Egypt in 1779 to Rosemary Mahoney’s daring trip down the Nile in a rowboat in 2006, this lively collection of writing by over forty women travelers includes Lady Evelyn Cobbold, Isabella Bird, Winifred Blackman, Norma Lorimer, Harriet Martineau, Florence Nightingale, Amelia Edwards, and Lucie Duff Gordon....read more
15 March 15
20 b/w illus.
Grand Hotels of Egypt
In the Golden Age of Travel
In the Golden Age of TravelAndrew Humphreys
From the earliest resthouses serving travelers on the Overland Route between Britain and Bombay to the grand Edwardian palaces on the Nile that made Egypt the exotic alternative to wintering on the Riviera, the hotels of Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan were always about far more than just bed and board. As bridgeheads for African exploration, neutral territories for conducting diplomacy, headquarters for armies, providers of home comforts for writers, painters, scholars, and archaeologists in the field, and social hubs for an international elite, more of importance happened in Egypt’s hotels than in any other setting. It was through the hotels that visitors from the west—the earliest adventurers, then the travelers and, finally, the tourists—experienced the Orient. This book tells the stories of Egypt’s historic hotels (including the Cecil, Shepheard’s, the Mena House, Gezira Palace, Semiramis, Winter Palace, and Cataract) and some of the people who stayed in them, from Amelia Edwards, Lucie Duff Gordon and Florence Nightingale to Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle, Winston Churchill, and TE Lawrence....read more
21 October 2015
274 illus., including 110 in color
A Beirut Anthology
Travel Writing through the Centuries
Edited by T.J. Gorton
Travel Writing through the CenturiesEdited by T.J. Gorton
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....read more
1 August 2015
20 b/w illus.
A Photographer on the Hajj
The Travels of Muhammad ‘Ali Effendi Sa‘udi (1904/1908)
Farid Kioumgi Robert Graham
The Travels of Muhammad ‘Ali Effendi Sa‘udi (1904/1908)Farid Kioumgi
The diaries of Muhammad ‘Ali Effendi Sa‘udi, a civil servant and accomplished photographer, offer a rare glimpse of the Hajj through Egyptian eyes at the beginning of the twentieth century when the Ottoman Empire was on the wane and the advance of the Hijaz railway threatened to upset vested interests in the old pattern of pilgrimage.
Sa‘udi twice accompanied the Amir al-Hajj, Ibrahim Rif‘at Pasha, attached to the official Egyptian caravan. His story of these journeys combines the thoughts of a devout Muslim with fine detail on the hardships and health hazards facing pilgrims, the high-level intrigues, and the ever-present dangers of taking photographs.
The authors have compressed the diaries into a highly readable narrative with selected quotations, lavishly illustrated with Sa‘udi’s remarkable photographs....read more
15 November 2009
80 b/w photographs
David Roberts’ Egypt
Lithographs by David Roberts, R.A.
David Roberts, born in 1796 near Edinburgh, was one of the most acclaimed landscape painters of the nineteenth century. In 1838 he left Europe for Egypt, where he drew all the main archaeological sites and Islamic monuments. These superb lithographs taken from his sketches and first published in London between 1842 and 1849 are a fine essay on his virtuosity and represent an unforgettable journey through time along the Nile Valley and across the Sinai peninsula....read more
266 color illus.