on…’A journey Round my Room’ by Xavier de Maistre

Posted: 21/03/2011 in History, Literature, Review
Tags: , , , ,

 

Small journey, big idea

I was introduced to this book through reading de Botton’s Art of Travel, de Botton has also written the foreword in this nice Hesperus edition. This is such an antiquated and eccentric book that I was astonished to find it in a normal bookshop, but I did, and the rest is history. The reason why this book is so good is due to the importance of the central idea, this idea is self evident from the title.
To stretch out a narrative journey from his bed to the window and the view outside is quite an achievement, especially as this journey is entertaining and interesting in equal measure. This proves the most important aspect of travel literature, it doesn’t matter where you go, it’s what you do, how you do it and what you learn from it. If you apply the spirit of adventure to a trip to the supermarket it can be more important than a round the world trip.

My only problem with the book were elements of context, it was written quite some time ago so I found some of the references unfamiliar. This is no fault of the author but rather my ignorance and the consequences of time. If you enjoy this book try to get hold of some of the other Hesperus Classics they specialize in publishing overlooked gems which rarely get stocked in the ‘Celebrity Biography’ and ‘Self Help’ dominated bookshops.

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