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Beirut has seen many armies and empires come and go, but the legacy of this long history is not so much in surviving monuments as in the quintessential Levantine spirit of the people. A commercial hub since the days of the Phoenicians, it was a center of learning under the Romans, its law school pre-eminent in the Empire. Both currents are discernible today, with vibrant Arab, French, and American universities and more publishing houses than the rest of the Arab world coexisting with the most dynamic financial center in the Middle East. Beirut was the point of entry to the Levant for many Europeans and Americans undertaking a Grand Tour or a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and visitors (whether their focus was piously Biblical or more prosaic) recorded their impressions of this effervescent port city where East rubs against West. A Beirut Anthology gathers the choicest of these, from writers as diverse as Alphonse de Lamartine and Mark Twain, providing a surprising and vivid glimpse behind the veil of this elusive and alluring city.
About the series: The elegant, pocket-sized volumes in the AUC Press Anthology series feature the writings and observations of travel writers and diarists through the centuries. Vivid and evocative travelers' accounts of some of the world's great cities and regions are enhanced by the exquisite vintage design in small hardback format that make the books ideal gift books as well as perfect travel companions. Designed on cream paper stock and beautifully illustrated with line drawings and archival photographs.
T.J. Gorton has published two books of Arabic poetry in translation and co-edited Lebanon: Through Writers' Eyes. His most recent book is Renaissance Emir: A Druze Warlord at the Court of the Medici, a biography of seventeenth-century Lebanese prince Fakhr al-Din Ma'n.
Table of Contents
Contents Introduction In the Beginning Historical Survey, 1858 Murray's Handbook Foundation Myth, c. AD 450 Nonnus of Panapolis A Difficult Neighborhood, c. AD 18 Strabo Berytus, Mother of Laws Favorite of Agrippa, AD 94 Flavius Josephus Desolation, c. AD 555 Joannes Barbucallus Crusader Times Ruins and Columns, 1052 Nasir-i-Khusrau The Fall of Beirut, 1111 William of Tyre A Border Town, 1177 Johannes Phocas To the Holy Land European Discovery of Bananas, 1548 Antoine Regnault Arrival in Beirut, 1697 Henry Maundrell The Ottoman City Palace of Fakhr al-Din, 1697 Henry Maundrell Misery and Splendor, 1665 Laurent d'Arvieux English Bombs and French Roads, 1858 Murray's Handbook First Views A Comforting Flag, 1832 Alphonse de Lamartine A Difficult Landing, 1838 Edouard Blondel Difficult Commuting, 1858 Murray's Handbook What to Expect, 1876 Baedeker 1876 Arriving by Land, 1878 Gabriel Charmes Physical Setting Arrival in Beirut, 1737 Richard Pococke A Magnificent Setting, 1858 Murray's Handbook Lift Up Thine Eyes, 1878 Gabriel Charmes Picturesque Scene, 1894 Baedeker 1894 The Pine Forest Landscape of Dreams, 1832 Alphonse de Lamartine Favorite Excursion, 1876 Baedeker 1876 We're Not in Egypt Any More, 1849 Gustave Flaubert The Grand Tour Beirut Condemned to be Miserable, 1784 C. F. Volney A Queenly Tailor's Wife, 1851 Gérard de Nerval Religion and Holy Places European Assimilation, 1878 Gabriel Charmes A Beard Story, 1697 Henry Maundrell Uncomfortable Bedfellows, 1894 Baedeker 1894 Promenades and Excursions Bride of the Sea, 1858 J. Lewis Farley Ride to the Nahr el-Kelb, 1858 Murray's Handbook A Baalbek Diversion, 1722 Jean de la Roque Murder in the Temple, 1737 Richard Pococke Poetic Inspiration in the Ruins, 1833 Alphonse de Lamartine Baalbek, 1838 Edouard Blondel People A City of Songsters, 1665 Laurent d'Arvieux An Arab Theater, 1850 David Urquhart A Stroll at Siesta-Time, 1851 Gérard de Nerval Lands of the Past, 1876 Viscount de Vogüé Evening promenades, 1878 Gabriel Charmes The Souks The Bazaar, 1838 Edouard Blondel Clothes-Shopping, 1851 Gérard de Nerval Customs and Fashion The Tantour, 1850 David Urquhart Hospitality, 1851 Gérard de Nerval Beauties of Beirut, 1869 Mark Twain Types and Costumes, 1878 Gabriel Charmes Rites of Passage A Christian Wedding, 1832 Alphonse de Lamartine A Muslim Funeral, 1851 Gérard de Nerval The Turkish Bath Ladies' Day at the Bath, 1832 Alphonse de Lamartine The Hammam, 1854 R.P. Laorty-Hadji The French Connection French Education for Girls and Boys, 1878 Gabriel Charmes A Levantine Investigation, 1914 Maurice Barrès Americans Abroad American Missionaries, 1878 Gabriel Charmes A Difficult Language, 1910 Henry Jessup Commercial Instinct, 1869 Mark Twain An Easy Place to Govern? 1861 Henry Jessup The Modern Metropolis Beirut's Bright Future, 1851 Gérard de Nerval Mainstream of Progress, 1854 R.P. Laorty-Hadji Beirut Modernizes, 1863 Henry Jessup Epitome of the East, 1905 Gertrude Bell A Place to be Reckoned With, 1918 T E Lawrence Constant Yet Changeable, 1946 Robin Fedden Commercial Ardor, 1946 Robin Fedden The Travelers Bibliography