The Virago Book of Women Travellers is an anthology compiled from three hundred years of female wanderlust, in search of pleasure and peril.
Extracts have been taken from the writings of Gertrude Bell, Isabelle Eberhardt, Rose Macaulay, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Dervla Murphy, Freya Stark, Vita Sackville West, Mary Wollstonecraft and many more.
Their prose rich in description, remarkable in detail. Mary McCarthy conveys the vitality of Florence while Willa Cather's essay on Lavandou foreshadows her descriptions of the French countryside in later novels. Others are more active participants in the culture they are visiting, such as Leila Philip, as she harvests rice with chiding Japanese women, or Emily Carr, as she wins the respect and trust of the female chieftain of an Indian village in Northern Canada.
Whether it is curiosity about the world, a thirst for adventure or escape from personal tragedy, all of these women are united in that they approached their journeys with wit, intelligence, compassion and empathy for the lives of those they encountered along the way.
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