Jan Morris,Robert Byron

Europe in the Looking-Glass

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A travel writing classic ready to be rediscovered, Europe in the Looking Glass describes, with a mixture of laugh-out-loud humour and perceptive commentary on art and architecture, how three rich young Englishmen cross pre-World-War-Two Europe in an old car. Best known as the author of The Road to Oxiana, published in 1937, Robert Byron developed his considerable writing skills on a travel book which has not been in print since 1926. Europe in the Looking Glass describes a journey Byron made with three friends, driving across Europe between two world wars, and mixes political and historical analysis with architectural insights, classical scholarship and the day-to-day adventures of three young and not very experienced travelers. For fans of Robert Byron's work this will be a discovery; for others it will be an introduction. Turning a corner we suddenly found ourselves sliding down a precipice, tilted so far forward that it was necessary to hold ourselves back with our hands pressed against the dashboard, as half a dozen Apennine valleys beckoned invitingly below… Here [St Peter's] Popes with black faces and golden crowns are wallowing twice life-size in the titanic folds of marble tablecloths, their ormolu fringes festooning upon the arms of graceful skeletons to disclose some Alice-in-Wonderland door or the grim hinges of some sepulchral grill…
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260 printed pages
Original publication
2013

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