3 great 20th century travel writers
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The first 2 episodes have run (but will hopefully be repeated). They featured Eric Newby in the first episode, and Laurie Lee in the second.
Next week the third and final episode features the greatest of all 20th century travel writers (in my view), Patrick Leigh Fermor.
It lead me to think who my 3 favourites would be.
PLF number 1 definitely, Eric Newby 2nd.
As Benedict chose Laurie Lee, who travelled but whom I think of as a writer/poet who happened to travel, rather than as a travel writer, I might be tempted to put Fitzroy Maclean as my number 3, for Eastern Approaches. Laurie Lee's books are brilliant as well. But then again there is Robert Byron to consider....
Does anyone else have a favourite 3 list?
Please can you give me date and time of next week's Patrick Leigh Fermor episode? I don't want to miss it.
By the way, on BBC Four next Wednesday night at 9pm there is the final episode of the Thirties in Colour, a series of documentaries showcasing amateur colour film of the 1930s.
These 2 groups of programmes are part of the BBC Four 'Journeys of Discovery Season'.
I've just this minute looked at the BBC Four website, and Benedict Allen apparently tracks down and interviews Patrick Leigh Fermor in this episode. What more could one ask for?
Thank you very much!!!
Leigh Fermor is a hero of mine, but it is also Laurie Lee and Tim Macintosh Smith about Ibn Battutah next week, I saw.
I have bookmarked this BBC four website.
Patrick Leigh Fermor
Hard to get just 3 though as I love Mackintosh-Smith, and Bill Bryson, and Paul Theroux... the list could go on forever...
I just couldn't limit it to three but Norman Lewis above all.
A While Ago
Redmon in the Amazon and Borneo
The Dirty Thirties
Somerset Maugham in Burma, Nationalist China, and Spain
Graham Greene in W. Africa and Mexico
Peter Fleming in Brazil and Central Asia.
George Orwell in Paris, London and on the road to Wigan Pier
Then Nicolas Bouvier (you may not know him but L'Usage du Monde has been translated into English, The Way of the World; he was a fantastic travel writer)
and for the third, I can not make up my mind between all those mentioned above, with the addition of Jan Morris and the deduction of Bill Bryson, with whom I fail to be amused.
Any Jan Morris book on Europe is worth making the effort to read.
Bill Bryson made a splash with his book on the english language which I really enjoyed, but his travel books don't cut a dash for me.
Maybe we should have added our most 'underwhelming' travel writers as well? (Paul Theroux at the top of my list).
Nicolas Bouvier sounds intersting - I'm going to do some digging - thanks for mentioning him.
537 Travel books and counting...
Many thanks for all your ideas of writers and books on travel. I unfortunately havent read enough of any one author to recommend them as my 'favourite'. I tend to dip in and out of travel books depending on my mood.
I have got some great ideas from you all and have ordered and tracked down a few books that look very interesting.
William Least Heat Moon
I'm sorry I have trouble counting to three...
Having just finished his book on Australia, I found the humor a bit too over-the-top at times (milked for comic effect).
Each group gives something different - the travellers tend to have a more matter of fact style, the joy of reading them coming more from their adventures, privations, almost insane pursuit of their goal; while the writers give pleasure from their writing style and interpretation of events. The fact of travelling, for them, is not an end in itself, but a means to the end of producing a story.
But I haven't yet read a number of those listed above, including Fermor, Lewis, Byron, Stark and Thesiger - all on my to read shelf. Don't rate Bryson's travel at all (although like quite a bit of his other stuff), wasn't wowed by Newby (although my OH loves him) or Theroux, found Dervla Murphy a bit too political (again an OH favourite). Have only read one Dalrymple (loved).
No doubt in my mind who I'd include in my 'worst three' - Tim Moore stands head and shoulders, although one or two other individual books have been pretty dire (John Berendt's The City of Falling Angels, Bernard Levin's To The End of the Rhine, Ben Donald's Springtime for Germany and Roger Boyes's A Year in the Scheisse - Germany really does get a bad press)
Frater is terrific - glad to see a mention!