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From Cairo to Baghdad: British Travellers in Arabia

James Canton



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I.B. Tauris
30 September 2014
Travel & holiday; Classic travel writing
Until the 1880s, British travellers to Arabia were for the most part wealthy dilettantes who could fund their travels from private means. With the advent of an Imperial presence in the region, as the British seized power in Egypt, the very nature of travel to the Middle East changed. Suddenly, ordinary men and women found themselves visiting the region as British influence increased. Missionaries, soldiers and spies as well as tourists and explorers started to visit the area, creating an ever bigger supply of writers, and market for their books. In a similar fashion, as the Empire receded in the wake of World War II, so did the whole tradition of Middle East travel writing. In this elegantly crafted book, James Canton examines over one hundred primary sources, from forgotten gems to the classics of T E Lawrence, Thesiger and Philby. He analyses the relationship between Empire and author, showing how the one influenced the other, leading to a vast array of texts that might never have been produced had it not been for the ambitions of Imperial Britain. This work makes for essential reading for all of those interested in the literature of Empire, travel writing and the Middle East.
By:   James Canton
Imprint:   I.B. Tauris
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 138mm,  Spine: 28mm
Weight:   352g
ISBN:   9781780769875
ISBN 10:   1780769873
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   30 September 2014
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

James Canton teaches at the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex. He studied at Exeter and Essex universities, gaining a PhD in literature. He has taught widely in the UK and Egypt, and has himself travelled extensively across the Middle East.

Reviews for From Cairo to Baghdad: British Travellers in Arabia

'In From Cairo to Baghdad, James Canton offers an important account of the British travels in Arabia since Britain's occupation of Egypt in 1882. Canton provides historical depth to British involvement in the Middle East with a nuanced discussion of how travel writing is implicated in colonial relations of power. The book will be a required reading for scholars of travel writing and postcolonial studies.' - Ali Behdad, John Charles Hillis Professor of Literature, UCLA, and author of Belated Travelers: Orientalism in the Age of Colonial Dissolution From Cairo to Baghdad: British Travellers in Arabia is a major contribution to our understanding of British interest in, and understanding of, the Middle East between the occupation of Egypt in 1882 and the in vasion of Iraq in 2003. James Canton deftly probes into ways that travel writing produced during this period was unavoidably caught up and complicit in the twin developments of mass tourism and imperialism. Organised chronologically and thematically, this study reveals a much richer and more complex range of cul-tural interactions and mutual engagements than the still powerful notion of a clash between civilisations.' -Gerald MacLean, Professor of English, University of Exeter

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