A Beirut Anthology Travel Writing through the Centuries

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 8/1/2015
  • Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press

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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.

Author Biography

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

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
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

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