A sparkling new translation of the most famous travel book ever written
Marco Polo’s voyages began in 1271 with a visit to China. Afterward, he served Kublai Khan on numerous diplomatic missions in the Far East. His subsequent account of his travels offers a fascinating glimpse of what he encountered abroad: unfamiliar religions; new customs and societies; the spices and silks of the East; the precious gems, exotic vegetation, and wild beasts of faraway lands. Evoking a remote and long-vanished world with color and immediacy, Marco Polo’s book revolutionized Western ideas about the then-unknown East and remains one of the greatest travel accounts of all time. Nigel Cliff’s new translation, based on the original medieval sources, is a fresh, authoritative rendering, with a lively introduction and notes.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
|Series:||Cloth Bound Pocket Series|
|Product dimensions:||4.93(w) x 6.87(h) x 0.74(d)|
About the Author
Marco Polo travelled to China in 1271 and spent the next twenty years in the service of Kublai Khan. He wrote his famous Travels after returning home, whilst a prisoner in Genoa.
Nigel Cliff was previously a theatre and film critic for The Times and a regular writer for The Economist, among other publications, and now writes historical nonfiction books. His first book, The Shakespeare Riots, was published in 2007 and shortlisted for the Washington-based National Award for Arts Writing. His second book, The Last Crusade: Vasco da Gama and the Birth of the Modern World, appeared in 2011 and was shortlisted for the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
While the Konemann edition of Marco Polo's Travels may lack maps, a table of contents, footnotes, or even an index, it does have its good points. First and foremost it is a beautiful little pocket size volume, a durable hardcover with great binding and high quality paper. Yes, if you're writing your Phd thesis on Polo you might want to skip this version, but the general adventure enthusiast could do much worse. As we all know, many Penguin and Oxford editions can be so very tedious what with their twenty footnotes a page and bulky translator's introduction that skews your thinking about the work before you've even read it. With the Konemann edition you can read Polo's adventure for yourself and draw your own unhampererd conclusions. The book itself reads like a day by day journal of interesting things the Venetian saw while in the East. Indeed, he dictated The Travels to a fellow inmate in a Genoan prison from notebooks he'd keep while in China. There are many little tales sprinkled throughout the narrative that will keep you turning the pages in hopes of finding more: tribes of savages that either offer him their virgin daughters to deflower or else threaten to devour him, descriptions of mysterious beasts such as the monoceros who attacks with a spiked tongue, and anecdotes about the fabled Christian king who lived in the east named Prester John. In addition, the Konemann version includes the introduction to the 1854 edition by Thomas Wright, which is found at the end of the book. This is a nice touch as reading it first would tend to make one doubt Polo before he even opened his mouth. Wright discusses the ongoing scholarly debate concerning whether or not Marco even traveled anywhere at all. Some experts believe he just compiled fantastic stories from inbound merchants. Some scholars also contend that Herodotus and Pytheas of Massalia did the same thing. Surely there will always be doubters whenever something epic is done (such as an amazing journey like this), but what these scholars seem to fail to realize is that just because an account may appear to have some stretchings of the truth, that that does not and cannot negate the work as a whole. Claiming that Polo never traveled anywhere smells too much like a frantic grad student desperately searching for a dissertation topic. Give Mister Polo a chance to tell you what he saw you just might be amazed. I for one do not lump him in with the likes of Baron Munchausen.
A superficial account of what must have been some excellent adventures. Unfortunately, we'll never know just how fascinatng the many places Polo visited were because this record of his travels is so one-dimensional. The story-teller continually gives canned descriptions of each city and region visited. I'm sure it's a must read for scholars but I struggled to finish it.
This book is about Marco Polo's journey around the world. His journey started a 1271 to a visit to china. When he traveled west he became a prisoner of the war. He met Rustichello of Pisa.