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.
Professor David Daiches' Critical History gives the reader a fascinating insight into over twelve centuries of great writing. With enormous intelligence and enthusiasm, he guides the reader through this vastly complex and rich tradition, finely balancing historical background with highly informed criticism. Daiches' groundbreaking work is essential reading for all lovers of literature.