C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the Worlds Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917. H. R. Keller. The Readers Digest of Books.
Alexander William Kinglake (18091891)
Eōthen; or, Traces of Travel Brought Home from the East, by Alexander William Kinglake (1844). Eōthena title meaning From the Dawnis a lively and acute narrative of travel in the East, at a time when that region was comparatively new ground to English tourists. The author, starting from Constantinople, visits the Troad, Cyprus, the Holy Land, Cairo, the Pyramids, and the Sphinx; thence by the way of Suez he proceeds to Gaza, and returns by the way of Nablous and Damascus. He apologizes for his frankness of style, and gives his impressions with refreshing directness, modified as little as possible by conventional opinion. For this reason he provoked some criticism from conservative reviewers, who regarded his comments on the manners and morals of Mohammedan countries as too liberal to be encouraged in Christian circles. He confesses his inability to overcome a very worldly mood even in Jerusalem, and his failure to see things always in that light of romance that the reader might prefer; and he is unwilling that his own moral judgment shall stand in the way of a perfectly truthful narrative. Instances of his engaging style are the interview with the Pasha through the dragoman at the start, and his description of the Ottoman lady,a coffin-shaped bundle of white linen. The incident of Mariam, a Christian bride converted to Islam, is full of humor, and contains a dash of that liberalism which roused the fears of the Christian critics.