Great Cities Through Travelers’ Eyes
Travelers’ experiences are among the most vivid memories and perceptive observations of a prevailing culture. This book compiles travelers’ impressions of thirty-eight cities. Fortunately, none of the narratives are by natives, giving readers as true a traveler’s perspective as possible. The descriptions are from the ancient world (primarily Greek & Roman travelers), the medieval world, the pre-modern world (primarily European travelers), and the modern world (pre-1980). Each chapter focuses on one city, and the narratives are chronologically arranged.
The cities are all in existence today and are not concentrated in one part of the world. However, the narratives seem to disproportionally be from Europe and North America. Ibn Battuta’s impressions (from the fourteenth century), for instance, are included for a few cities, but his narrative on Canton (Guangzhou) is not included. Most descriptions are not translations, but adaptions from the original work (probably necessary to maintain length). Each description starts with a brief introduction of the author and the author’s reason for visiting the city. Some narratives are by women, who provide a different perspective on the city. While reading the various narratives readers get a sense of how the city changed over the ages, and the descriptions are brief enough so an entire chapter can be read at once.
|Publisher||Thames & Hudson|
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