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Old 09-23-2012, 11:27 AM   #7
fantasyfan
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A book something like this is Letters From Egypt: A Journey on the Nile 1849-1850 by Florence Nightingale. But her book--interesting though it is and containing excellent illustrations--has less coherence than that of Edwards. I think this is mainly owing to the fact that Amelia Edwards was also a novelist. Note what a great job she does in Chapter 3 where we get details about the crew: their customs, life-style and economy, their relationships with the travellers, their likes and dislikes and even their music. What Edwards does is to create a cast of characters, We have the crew, the Captain, who is a class above them, and, at the apex, the owner who is described vividly as:

". . . a magnificent broad-shouldered Arab of about six feet nine, with a delightful smile, the manners of a gentleman, and the rapacity of a Shylock."

In the background there is the implied rivalry with the French who get a head start and the "compact" with the Miss B's who remain with them for 800 miles of the trip.

So this is more than a travelogue; It is a quest, a journey into time from one culture to another.

And of course we as readers over a century later add another layer to that.

What a great book!
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