Two of the brightest young poets of our day follow in the footsteps of W.H. Auden and Louis MacNeice. Auden and MacNeice's Letters from Iceland was more than a brilliant and unconventional travel book; it was one of the great works of the 1930s which defined for its own and later generations the precise nature and feeling of that troubled time.With characteristic boldness, Simon Armitage and Glyn Maxwell, staunch admirers of the two older poets, set off in 1994 to discover what Iceland, with its unique geography and ancient political institutions, might have to say to us now. Their findings, delivered in an appropriate mixture of poetry and prose, reportage and imaginative elaboration, vividly reflect the concerns of our own age, and will instruct and amuse readers in equal measure.
Isabella Bird was a woman of remarkable gifts. In 1872, at the age of forty, this rather earnest daughter of a country parson abandoned the rectory nest and began her pioneering journeys to some of the most inhospitable corners of the world. Undismayed by discomfort or danger she was to spend almost thirty years travelling - to the Rocky Mountains, the Sandwich Isles, to Japan, Malaya, Kashmir and Tibet, to Persia, Korea and China - where an indomitable spirit, an unassuming cordiality and, above all, a limitless capacity for being interested won her universal welcome. Her accounts of her experiences became best-selling books and established for Isabella Bird a reputation as one of the great travel writers of her day.
Britain in the early eighteenth century: an introduction that is both informative and imaginative, reliable and entertaining. To the tradition of travel writing Daniel Defoe brings a lifetime's experience as a businessman, soldier, economic journalist and spy, and his Tour (1724-6) is an invaluable source of social and economic history. But this book is far more than a beautifully written guide to Britain just before the industrial revolution, for Defoe possessed a wild, inventive streak that endows his work with astonishing energy and tension, and the Tour is his deeply imaginative response to a brave new economic world. By employing his skills as a chronicler, a polemicist and a creative writer keenly sensitive to the depredations of time, Defoe more than achieves his aim of rendering 'the present state' of Britain.
Paul Theroux invites you to join him on the journey of a lifetime, in the grand romanttic tradition, by train across Euope, through the vast underbelly of Asia and in the heart of Russia, and then up to China. Here is China by rail, as seen and heard through the eyes and ears of one of the most intrepid and insightful travel writers of our time.