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Alexander William Kinglake

Book Overview: 

A classic of Victorian travel writing, Kinglake’s book describes his journey through the Ottoman empire to Cairo, and his residence there in time of plague.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .They choose a captain, to whom they entrust just power enough to keep the vessel on her course in fine weather, but not quite enough for a gale of wind; they also elect a cook and a mate.  The cook whom we had on board was particularly careful about the ship’s reckoning, and when under the influence of the keen sea-breezes we grew fondly expectant of an instant dinner, the great author of pilafs would be standing on deck with an ancient quadrant in his hands, calmly affecting to take an observation.  But then to make up for this the captain would be exercising a controlling influence over the soup, so that all in the end went well.  Our mate was a Hydriot, a native of that island rock which grows nothing but mariners and mariners’ wives.  His character seemed to be exactly that which is generally attributed to the Hydriot race; he was fierce, and gloomy, and lonely in his ways.  One of his principal duties seemed to be that of acting. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Fabulous. I don't know if I've ever enjoyed a 'classic' more.
Kinglake reminded me a surprising amount of Bill Bryson, in tone if not in verbosity.
His ending seemed abrupt -- there was a much better end-point a chapter or two previous (but I suppose it makes sense to finish your travelogue where y...more

This Englishman's perspective on the middle east-- the middle east that we know today, Palestine and Israel and Syria and Egypt, in all their old Ottoman wildnesses-- is fascinating in more ways than one. Kingslake is an immensely likeable writer, and he writes from an immensely appealing point o...more

Say what you will about the Victorians, they had self-confidence up the ying-yang. When Alexander Kinglake did his tour of the Middle East in the 1830's, he was essentially a glorified backpacker - an over-refined product of a bumptious, imperialistic culture. Still, you can't help but marvel at...more

A trip through the middle-east in 1850, Not a travel book at all. He just described, hilariously, exactly what he saw and heard. The writing is fresh. Worth reading just for his descriptions of what people wore before Nike and Levis ruled the world.

I liked how earnestly excited he was to explore these places

أدب الرحلات، ورحلة إلى المشرق العربي .. رحلة ممتعة بين سوريا و الأردن و فلسطين و مصر .. تحكي أحوال الشرقيين وطبائعهم ، و عن تعصب المسلمين وحقد المسيحيين ونفاق اليهود .. كُتبت كمذكرات تصف ما يراه السائح وما يشعر به .. تستحق القراءة .

الكتاب خيب أملي توقعته افضل من ذلك بكثير.

يتحدث الرحالة ألكسندر كينقلك عن شوقه وولعه للذهاب إلى المشرق والشرق الأوسط على وجه الخصوص، وهذا أمر شائع لدى الانجليز في القرن الثامن عشر ميلادي. كان هدفة الاساسي لصلاة في الكنيسة العذراء التي تقع في القدس فلسطين. لكن حدثت في تلك الرحلة بعض العقبات التي ه...more

William Dalrymple, surely the most entertaining travel writer of recent years, cites 1830s traveller Alexander William Kinglake as one of his inspirations. Since Kinglake also roamed through the Levant, stopping at Smyrna, Cyprus, Nablus, Cairo, and Damascus, I decided to read his account of his...more

This is a graceful, provocative book with some startling sentences. It is one of those books that challenges you to rethink the familiar.

I have frequently quoted his reflection on the use of middlemen vs. market bargaining to determine the value of goods.

This is perhaps the best book ever written about a trip by a Western European to the Middle East before 1914. Author Alexander William Kinglake does not appear to have any axes to grind and writes vividly about what the Eastern Mediterranean was like during the waning days of the ottoman Empire....more

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