From Cairo to Baghdad: British Travellers in Arabia
In this elegantly crafted book, James Canton examines over one hundred primary sources, from forgotten gems to the classics of T E Lawrence, Thesiger and Philby. He analyses the relationship between Empire and author, showing how the one influenced the other, leading to a vast array of texts that might never have been produced had it not been for the ambitions of Imperial Britain. This work makes for essential reading for all of those interested in the literature of Empire, travel writing and the Middle East.
Missionaries and Overseas Expansion, 1700-1914 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004) Potter, Jennifer, The Long Lost Journey (London: Bloomsbury, 1989) Pratt, Mary Louise, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (New York: Routledge, 1992) Raby, Peter, Bright Paradise (London: Pimlico, 1997) Ralli, Augustus, Christians at Mecca (London: Heinemann, 1909) Redouane, Joëlle, L’Orient arabe vu par les voyageurs anglais (Alger: Enterprise nationale du livre, 1988) 284 FROM
His exploration would be most useful, both from military, political, and geographical points of view.5 IMPERIAL WARS 61 The telegram illustrates just how intimately the travel plans of individual journeys across Arabia were tied to British imperial and military concerns in the region. The value of Shakespear’s proposed journey is in the information it may supply, not only on the landscape, its waterholes and grazing but on the tribal structures as well as the relationship he can
78 FROM CAIRO TO BAGHDAD journeys overland in 1940 across Africa from Cameroon to Chad, then to the oasis of Kufra in southern Libya before reaching Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea. In June 1941, he heads to Syria where the Vichy French forces are being attacked by the combined might of British and Fighting French troops. Outside Damascus, Rodger finds the truck he is travelling in a target for Vichy aircraft: The planes were flying in line, very low, only about 200 feet up, and were
witness the scenes at Rayak station. In Egypt, a line had been built from Alexandria to Suez via Cairo as early as 1856. The Hejaz railway opened in 1908, offering pilgrims the chance to travel from Damascus to Medina. The line was the ‘crowning material symbol of Pan-Islam … financed by private subscriptions from Muslims throughout the world and was thus free from the taint of European investment capital’.7 It was by this route that Arthur Wavell made his surreptitious way to the cities of
reading for scholars of travel writing and postcolonial studies.’ Ali Behdad, John Charles Hillis Professor of Literature, UCLA, and author of Belated Travellers: Orientalism in the Age of Colonial Dissolution Cairo-Baghdad TitlePage:Layout 1 24/3/11 11:20 Page 1 FROM CAIRO to BAGHDAD B r i t i s h Tr a v e l l e r s i n A r a b i a J A M E S C A N T O N Published in 2011 by I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd 6 Salem Road, London W2 4BU 175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010 www.ibtauris.com