A Book of Voyages

A Book of Voyages

by Patrick O'Brian
     
 

Honoring Patrick O’Brian’s centenary, a collection of his favorite travel pieces, replete with perils, discomforts, and exotic pleasures.
Never previously published in this country, A Book of Voyages presents writings by various travelers, annotated and introduced by Patrick O’Brian. Most are taken from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries;

Overview

Honoring Patrick O’Brian’s centenary, a collection of his favorite travel pieces, replete with perils, discomforts, and exotic pleasures.
Never previously published in this country, A Book of Voyages presents writings by various travelers, annotated and introduced by Patrick O’Brian. Most are taken from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; O’Brian felt that, unlike Elizabethan or Victorian accounts, these writings were relatively unknown in our time.
On her journey through the Crimea, Lady Craven witnesses barbaric entertainments in the court of the Tartar Khan. John Bell tells us of his day’s hunting with the Manchu emperor in 1721 outside Peking. An English woman in Madras gives us a detailed description of the extraordinary costume and body decoration of a high-born Indian woman, wife of a nabob.
These and other selections are glimpses of a world, now gone forever, that few readers would ever see for themselves. They are also quite possibly the inspiration for the travels and adventures of O’Brian’s own fictional heroes Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Joshua Hammer
…rediscovers the extraordinary accounts of seafarers and other adventurers from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Richard Snow
“This isn’t like any other travel anthology: it is the miraculously provided answer to the now unaskable question, 'Mr. O’Brian, what are you reading?' And what he was reading wasn’t boring. Here is both a glimpse into a vanished era and a complex and, alas, equally vanished mind.”
Kirkus Reviews
A curiously engrossing collection of travel writings from the 17th and 18th centuries, collected by the deceased author of the Aubrey/Maturin series. The writings, grouped in a somewhat forced fashion by travels pleasant, unpleasant or exotic, preserve their antiquated spelling and stylistic flourishes, providing readers both challenge and hilarity. The purpose of the collection is to inform and edify, as well as entertain and titillate, yet some extracts are so fantastic--such as the description of the queen's jewel-laden outfit in "The Nabob's Lady" (1745) or the decision by the starving crew in "The Distresses of the Unfortunate Crew of the Ship Anne and Mary in the Year 1759" to cast lots to eat one passenger in order to support the rest--that they stretch credulity. Lady Craven's percolating letters to her second husband, the Margrave of Anspach, recording her extensive travels from Vienna to the relatively unknown Crimea, form a marvelous account of provincial and courtly mores, as well as a reflection of her egotism. Dr. Gemelli-Careri's descriptions of carnival in Venice ("Travels Through Europe," 1686) are ironical and pedantic. Philip Thicknesse gives some precious "General Hints to Strangers Who Travel Through France"--e.g., "Never let a Frenchman with whom you live, or with whom you travel, be master. An Englishman cannot possibly live twenty-four hours with a Frenchman who commands." For sheer strange reading, there are ambassador Sir Thomas Roe's depictions of Eastern courts in "The Mogul's Birthday" and John Bell's elaborate "Hunting with the Emperor K'Ang Hsi," recording a long day of killing everything from hares to tigers. Plenty of shipwrecks, from the Arctic to Virginia, round out the adventures. O'Brian's fans and armchair travelers will naturally gravitate to this eclectic work.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393089585
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
05/20/2013
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
1,243,868
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Patrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels has been described as "a masterpiece" (David Mamet, New York Times), "addictively readable" (Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune), and "the best historical novels ever written" (Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review), which "should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century" (George Will).Set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, O'Brian's twenty-volume series centers on the enduring friendship between naval officer Jack Aubrey and physician (and spy) Stephen Maturin. The Far Side of the World, the tenth book in the series, was adapted into a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. The film was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture. The books are now available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book format.In addition to the Aubrey/Maturin novels, Patrick O'Brian wrote several books including the novels Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore, as well as biographies of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He translated many works from French into English, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir, the first volume of Jean Lacouture's biography of Charles de Gaulle, and famed fugitive Henri Cherrière's memoir Papillon. O'Brian died in January 2000.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
December 12, 1914
Date of Death:
January 2, 2000
Place of Birth:
Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire
Place of Death:
Dublin, Ireland
Education:
Shebbear College, Devon
Website:
http://www.wwnorton.com/pob/pobhome.htm

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