147 books about Essays & Travelogues and 10
start with A
Adventures in Africa
Gianni Celati University of Chicago Press, 2000 Library of Congress DT551.27.C4513 2000 | Dewey Decimal 916.60433
"In the life of a tourist who travels a bit far, I think that at a certain point, a question necessarily arises: 'But what have I come here for?' A question that sets in motion a great cinema of justification to oneself, so that one doesn't have to seriously say to oneself: 'I'm here doing nothing.'"
In 1997 the celebrated Italian novelist and essayist Gianni Celati accompanied his friend, filmmaker Jean Talon, on a journey to West Africa which took them from Mali to Senegal and Mauritania. The two had been hoping to research a documentary about Dogon priests, but frustrated by red tape, their voyage became instead a touristic adventure. The vulnerable, prickly, insightful Celati kept notebooks of the journey, now translated by Adria Bernardi as Adventures in Africa. Celati is the privileged traveler, overwhelmed by customs he doesn't understand, always at the mercy of others who are trying to sell him something he doesn't want to buy, and aware of himself as the Tourist who is always a little disoriented and at the center of the continual misadventures that are at the heart of travel.
Celati's book is both a travelogue in the European tradition and a trenchant meditation on what it means to be a tourist. Celati learns to surrender to the chaos of West Africa and in the process produces a work of touching and comic descriptions, in the lucid and ironic prose that is his hallmark. Hailed as one of the best travelogues on Africa ever written and awarded the first Zerilli-Marimó prize, Adventures in Africa is a modest yet profound account of the utter discombobulation of travel.
In June 1960, a young faculty wife named Alzada Kistner and her husband David, a promising entomologist, left their 18-month old daughter in the care of relatives and began what was to be a four month scientific expedition in the Belgian Congo. Three weeks after their arrival, the country was gripped by a violent revolution trapping the Kistners in its midst. Despite having to find their way out of numerous life-threatening situations, the Kistners were not to be dissuaded. An emergency airlift by the United States Air Force brought them to safety in Kenya where they continued their field work.Thus began three decades of adventures in science. In An Affair with Africa, Alzada Kistner describes her family's African experience -- the five expeditions they took beginning with the trip to the Belgian Congo in 1960 and ending in 1972-73 with a nine-month excursion across southern Africa. From hunching over columns of ants for hours on end while seven months pregnant to eating dinner next to Idi Amin, Kistner provides a lively and humor-filled account of the human side of scientific discovery. Her wonderfully detailed stories clearly show why, despite hardship and danger -- and contrary to all of society's expectations -- she could not forsake accompanying her husband on his expeditions, and, to this day, continues to find the world "endlessly beckoning, a lively bubbling cauldron of questions and intrigue."In the spirit of Beryl Markham's West with the Night and Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa, An Affair with Africa shares with readers the thoughts and experiences of a remarkable woman, one whose unquenchable thirst for adventure led her into a series of almost unimaginable situations. Readers -- from armchair travelers fascinated by stories of Africa to scientists familiar with the Kistners's work but unaware of the lengths to which they went to gather their data -- will find An Affair with Africa a rare treasure.
Ralph Bunche, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950, traveled to South Africa for three months in 1937. His notes, which have been skillfully compiled and annotated by historian Robert R. Edgar, provide unique insights on a segregated society.
In June 1939 Annemarie Schwarzenbach and fellow writer Ella Maillart set out from Geneva in a Ford, heading for Afghanistan. The first women to travel Afghanistan’s Northern Road, they fled the storm brewing in Europe to seek a place untouched by what they considered to be Western neuroses.
The Afghan journey documented in All the Roads Are Open is one of the most important episodes of Schwarzenbach’s turbulent life. Her incisive, lyrical essays offer a unique glimpse of an Afghanistan already touched by the “fateful laws known as progress,” a remote yet “sensitive nerve centre of world politics” caught amid great powers in upheaval. In her writings, Schwarzenbach conjures up the desolate beauty of landscapes both internal and external, reflecting on the longings and loneliness of travel as well as its grace.
Maillart’s account of their trip, The Cruel Way, stands as a classic of travel literature, and, now available for the first time in English, Schwarzenbach’s memoir rounds out the story of the adventure.
Praise for the German Edition
“Above all, [Schwarzenbach’s] discovery of the Orient was a personal one. But the author never loses sight of the historical and social context. . . . She shows no trace of colonialist arrogance. In fact, the pieces also reflect the experience of crisis, the loss of confidence which, in that decade, seized the long-arrogant culture of the West.”—Süddeutsche Zeitung
America by Rivers
Tim Palmer Island Press, 1996 Library of Congress GB1215.P285 1996 | Dewey Decimal 551.4830973
Photographer and writer Tim Palmer has spent more than 25 years researching and experiencing life on the waterways of the American continent. He has travelled by canoe or raft on more than 300 different rivers, down wide placid streams and rough raging rapids. His journeys have taken him to every corner of the country, where he has witnessed and described the unique interaction of geographical, historical, and cultural forces that act upon our nation's vital arteries.America by Rivers represents the culmination of that grand adventure. Palmer describes the rivers of America in all their remaining glory and tarnished beauty, as he presents a comprehensive tour of the whole of America's river systems. Filled with important new information as well as data gathered from hundreds of published sources, America by Rivers covers: the network of American waterways and how they fit together to form river systems unique features of individual rivers along with their size, length, and biological importance environmental problems affecting the rivers of different regions and what is being done to protect and restore them cultural connections and conflicts surrounding the rivers of each region Chapters address the character of rivers in distinct regions of the country, and each chapter highlights one river with a detailed view from the water. Rivers profiled include the Penobscot, Potomac, Suwanee, Minnesota, Niobara, Salmon, Rio Grande, American, Rogue, and Sheenjek. Eighteen maps guide the reader across the country and 100 photos illustrate the splendor of Palmer's fascinating subject.America by Rivers provides a new way of seeing our country, one that embraces the entire landscape and offers fresh avenues to adventure. It is compelling reading for anyone concerned about the health of our land and the future of our waterways.
Born in Australia, Shirley Hazzard first moved to Naples as a young woman in the 1950s to take up a job with the United Nations. It was the beginning of a long love affair with the city. The Ancient Shore collects the best of Hazzard’s writings on Naples, along with a classic New Yorker essay by her late husband, Francis Steegmuller. For the pair, both insatiable readers, the Naples of Pliny, Gibbon, and Auden is constantly alive to them in the present.
With Hazzard as our guide, we encounter Henry James, Oscar Wilde, and of course Goethe, but Hazzard’s concern is primarily with the Naples of our own time—often violently unforgiving to innocent tourists, but able to transport the visitor who attends patiently to its rhythms and history. A town shadowed by both the symbol and the reality of Vesuvius can never fail to acknowledge the essential precariousness of life—nor, as the lover of Naples discovers, the human compassion, generosity, and friendship that are necessary to sustain it.
Beautifully illustrated by photographs from such masters as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Herbert List, The Ancient Shore is a lyrical letter to a lifelong love: honest and clear-eyed, yet still fervently, endlessly enchanted.
“Much larger than all its parts, this book does full justice to a place, and a time, where ‘nothing was pristine, except the light.’”—Bookforum
“Deep in the spell of Italy, Hazzard parses the difference between visiting and living and working in a foreign country. She writes with enormous eloquence and passion of the beauty of getting lost in a place.”—Susan Slater Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
“The two voices join in exquisite harmony. . . . A lovely book.”—Booklist, starred review
Tom Lutz is on a mission to visit every country on earth. And the Monkey Learned Nothing contains reports from fifty of them, most describing personal encounters in rarely visited spots, anecdotes from way off the beaten path. Traveling without an itinerary and without a goal, Lutz explores the Iranian love of poetry, the occupying Chinese army in Tibet, the amputee beggars in Cambodia, the hill tribes on Vietnam’s Chinese border, the sociopathic monkeys of Bali, the dangerous fishermen and conmen of southern India, the salt flats of Uyumi in Peru, and floating hotels in French Guiana, introduces you to an Uzbeki prodigy in the market of Samarkand, an Azeri rental car clerk in Baku, guestworkers in Dubai, a military contractor in Jordan, cucuruchos in Guatemala, a Pentecostal preacher in rural El Salvador, a playboy in Nicaragua, employment agents in Singapore specializing in Tamil workers, prostitutes in Colombia and the Dominican Republic, international bankers in Belarus, a teacher in Havana, border guards in Botswana, tango dancers in Argentina, a cook in Suriname, a juvenile thief in Uruguay, voters in Guyana, doctors in Tanzania and Lesotho, scary poker players in Moscow, reed dancers in Swaziland, young camel herders in Tunisia, Romanian missionaries in Macedonia, and musical groups in Mozambique. With an eye out for both the sublime and the ridiculous, Lutz falls, regularly, into the instant intimacy of the road with random strangers.
The Aran Islands
John M. Synge Northwestern University Press, 1999 Library of Congress PR5533.A417 1999 | Dewey Decimal 828.91203
In the late 1890s, John Synge, in his middle twenties and unsure of his vocation, made his way to Paris to study French literature and become a literary critic. There he met William Butler Yeats. The eminent poet advised Synge to drop his involvement with fin de siècle French authors, return to Ireland, and describe a society with which he had a natural connection.
Synge first traveled to the primitive, little-known Aran Islands in 1898. His trip proved to be a wonderfully fruitful and decisive experience. He then went back for part of each summer until 1902. The Aran Islands, his memoir of those experiences, was published in 1907, and the future playwright called it his "first serious piece of work."
Are We There Yet? Virtual Travel and Victorian Realism connects the Victorian fascination with "virtual travel" with the rise of realism in nineteenth-century fiction and twenty-first-century experiments in virtual reality. Even as the expansion of river and railway networks in the nineteenth century made travel easier than ever before, staying at home and fantasizing about travel turned into a favorite pastime. New ways of representing place—360-degree panoramas, foldout river maps, exhaustive railway guides—offered themselves as substitutes for actual travel. Thinking of these representations as a form of "virtual travel" reveals a surprising continuity between the Victorian fascination with imaginative dislocation and twenty-first -century efforts to use digital technology to expand the physical boundaries of the self.