It is in the form of a diary with the first entry " Venice , 20 August " after which Byron travelled by ship to the island of Cyprus and then on to the then countries of Palestine , Syria , Iraq , Persia and Afghanistan. The journey ended in Peshawar , India now part of Pakistan on 19 June , from where he returned to England. All are rich; but none so rich. Their richness is three-dimensional; it is attended by all the effort of shadow: In the Mosque of Sheikh Lutfullah, it is a richness of light and surface, of pattern and colour only. The architectural form is unimportant. It is not smothered, as in rococo; it is simply the instrument of a spectacle, as earth is the instrument of a garden.
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Start your review of The Road to Oxiana Write a review Shelves: travel Baalbek is the triumph of stone; of lapidary magnificence on a scale whose language, being still the language of the eye, dwarfs New York into a home of ants. The stone is peach-coloured, and is marked in ruddy gold as the columns of St. Martin-in-the-fields are marked in soot. It has a marmoreal texture, not transparent, but faintly powdered, like bloom on a plum. Dawn is the time to see it, to look up at the Six Columns, when peach-gold and blue air shine with equal radiance, and even the empty bases that uphold no columns have a living, sunblest identity against the violet deeps of the firmament.
Look up, look up; up this quarried flesh, these thrice-enormous shafts, to the broken capitals and the cornice as big as a house, all floating in the blue. Look over the walls, to the green groves of white-stemmed poplars; and over them to the distant Lebanon, a shimmer of mauve and blue and gold and rose.
Look along the mountains to the void: the desert, that stony, empty sea. Drink the high air. Stroke the stone with your own soft hands. Say goodbye to the West if you own it.
And then turn, tourist, to the East. Robert Byron took a ten month journey through the Middle East during the years His journey ended in Peshawar, India now part of Pakistan. This book is considered by many travel writers to be the first great piece of travel writing. Bryon was a great advocate of ancient architecture and worked feverishly during his short life to try and insure that as much of it was preserved as possible. He gets rather rapturous when describing a column, or an arch or a minaret.
Photograph by Robert Byron. Isfahan was located in Persia when Byron was there Bryon travels by any means possible by truck, bus, camel, horses, asses, and by foot. He even at two different times buys an automobile out of desperation to continue to reach destinations. He suffers thirst, the smell of a fresh dung heap that resides next to the stables he is bunked in, cold, heat, and the constant frustration of officials unwilling to give him travel permits to see sights he must see.
He is arrested at least twice for travelling without proper documentation. Bruce Chatwin refers to this book as "a sacred text, beyond criticism," which attests to the influence the book had on his writing and his choice of career. Chatwin always carried a copy with him and reading Chatwin is how I first discovered the existence of Robert Byron.
I did develop a literary intimacy with Byron while reading this book and could think of myself as waiting anxiously for his next letter describing the wonders of what he has seen. The book reads like dispatches from a close friend, but that illusion is sometimes broken when there seems to be information missing that is the type of intimate understanding assumed between friends. His style is jocular and laced with boyish enthusiasm. I found the book charming.
Nancy Mitford had hopes, had hopes. Byron was close friends with Nancy Mitford and at one point she had hoped he would propose marriage.
She was later astonished as well as shocked to discover his homosexual tastes, complaining: "This wretched pederasty falsifies all feelings and yet one is supposed to revere it. Robert was left utterly devastated. Desmond Parsons and Lord Snowden at the London wedding of Princess Margaret As a precaution on the trip Byron must change the name of the Shah in his diary in case it is confiscated.
This is the conversation he had with his travelling companion, Christopher Sykes, regarding naming dictators. Call him Mr. Smith in Italy. Jones then. Hitler has to have it now that Primo de Rivera is dead. And anyhow I get confused with these ordinary names. We had better call him Marjoribanks, if we want to remember whom we mean. Byron does read on this trip. Early on he is reading Boswell. I know I have many friends who have read Proust in the last year, as have I, so it was a special treat when he makes mention of the influence Proust is having on his writing.
His description of how the name Guermantes hypnotized him reminds me of how the name Turkestan has hypnotized me. I have a good friend who writes travel articles for a living and he considers this book to be one of the most influential books that turned him to travelling for a living.
I have been remiss for at least a decade in not reading this book sooner, as my friend has frequently reminded me. I enjoyed the unexpected humor and the grand, enthusiastic descriptions of places that Byron found so inspiring. It is always so shocking to discover that someone is dead who seemed so alive. His body was never found.
May you rest in peace fair traveler.
The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron - PDF free download eBook
This time is necessary for searching and sorting links. One button - 15 links for downloading the book "The Road to Oxiana" in all e-book formats! May need free signup required to download or reading online book. A few words about book author Robert Byron was born in England in into a family distantly related to Lord Byron.
The Road To Oxiana
Robert Byron by James Knox, published by John Murray in , remains the principal biographical source. In the same year, accompanied by his friend Christopher Sykes, but tormented by his unrequited love for Desmond Parsons, Byron set out on a journey to Persia and Afghanistan, by way of Jerusalem, Damascus and Baghdad, in search of the origins of Islamic architecture. After many vicissitudes, The Road to Oxiana the remote northern borderland of Afghanistan became the record of his month journey, a fabulous and intoxicating weave of surreal vignettes, journal entries and odd playlets. In these gorgeous pages, poetry, gossip and scholarship become braided into an exotic tapestry that dazzles as much today as it did on publication. As many critics have noted, unlike his contemporaries, such as Peter Fleming and Norman Douglas, Byron has not dated. In their different ways, each shares a veneration for The Road to Oxiana. Crossing into Persia, his companion Sykes nervously rebukes him for disrespecting the shah out loud.