"Unique in dealing frankly with both the literary and scientific merit of oughty's travel book. More importantly, it suggests new ways of approaching literary, scientific, and travel texts."
Charles Montagu Doughty's Travels in Arabia Deserta (1888) is remarkable for its scientific evelations and brilliantly unique style—an artful combination of Arabic and English syntax and diction that rendered a foreign way of life and thought and depicted a distant landscape of stark, barren beauty. The ten original essays in this book examine many aspects of Arabia Deserta, including its Victorian characteristics and aesthetics; its blend of fact and fantasy; its portrayal of Arab society and of Doughty himself; and the accuracy of its geographical, geological, archaeological, historical, and ethnographical observations. Additionally, the book's introduction and two bibliographies probe Arabia Deserta's reception, unique position in the genre of travel literature, and bibliographical history. During the grueling twenty-one-month journey narrated in Arabia Deserta, Doughty endured periods of sickness and near-famine, a series of treacherous guides, attack by a mob, and virtual imprisonment by a corrupt Turkish commandant. Celebrating this epic of scholarship and survival, Explorations in Doughty's "Arabia Deserta" maps the contours of a work that T. E. Lawrence, who had followed Doughty's path to Arabia, called "a book not like other books, but something particular, a bible of its kind."
Page count: 288 pp. 7 figures, 1 map Trim size: 6 x 9
List price: $29.95
Stephen E. Tabachnick is a professor of English at the University of Memphis. He is the author or editor of many books, including Teaching the Graphic Novel, Lawrence of Arabia: An Encyclopedia, and The T. E. Lawrence Puzzle (Georgia).