Mary Wortley Montagu
Introduction by Anita Desai
Text edited and annotated by Malcolm Jack
Virago Press, London, 2007, 1995, 1994, English
Nonfiction, General
ISBN: 9781853816796

From the Publisher (1994). Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was described by a contemporary as “one of the most extraordinary shining characters in the world.” Her letters, collected here, tell of her travels through Europe to Turkey in 1716, where her husband had been appointed Ambassador. Her liveliness makes them delightfully readable, and her singular intelligence provides us with insights that were exceptional for their time. Her ability to study another culture according to its own values, and to see herself through the eyes of others, makes Lady Mary one of the most fascinating and accomplished of early travel writers.

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Amanda Dameron

Written in the first half of the 18th century by Lady Mary Wortley, wife of an ambassador to Turkey, this book is one of the finest collections of travel essays I’ve read. Her language is so evocative, the details she notes about the people, buildings, places she visits are beautiful without being florid. Her narrative style is objective without being dispassionate, engaging and innately curious.

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