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Month: August 2017

Poems on Travel

Poems on Travel

Poems on Travel

This volume of poetry takes the reader, or rather the listener, along on a literary tour through Europe. R.M. Leonard has collected the finest (as of 1914) poems by some of the most celebrated poets of the English language, all covering the subject of travel, and often concerning travelling to a certain city or region in Europe.

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The Spell of the Hawaiian Islands and the Philippines

The Spell of the Hawaiian Islands and the Philippines by Isabel Anderson

The Spell of the Hawaiian Islands and the Philippines by Isabel Anderson

Isabel Anderson has written a most interesting travelogue of Hawaii and The Philippines. Actually it is more of a history lesson. Anyone with any interest whatsoever in the South Pacific will find this book very interesting indeed, to note all that has changed since Mrs. Anderson had traveled there.

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Personal Narrative of Travels – Volume 2

Personal Narrative of Travels - Volume 2 by Alexander von Humboldt

Personal Narrative of Travels – Volume 2 by Alexander von Humboldt

In 1799, with extensive travel permissions from the Spanish government, Alexander von Humboldt and the botanist Aimé Bonpland departed for the Americas on a journey of exploration that would last well into 1804. In writing the “Personal Narrative…”, von Humboldt combined a description of the places and people of their travels with diverse scientific observations; but particularly of plants and animals, geology, weather and astronomy. von Humboldt’s narrative (and Thomasina Ross’s translation) of their adventures is marvelously well written and at times poetically descriptive. Volume I of the “Personal Narrative….”, covers their preparations, departure from Spain, and their travels to the Canary Islands, Tobago, Cumana and vicinity, and Caracas and vicinity in Venezuela. Alexander von Humboldt was a member of the Prussian aristocracy. He was well educated and as a young man worked as an inspector of mines. After receiving an inheritance from his Mother, he was able to follow his desire to explore and follow scientific pursuits, and was sufficiently wealthy to equip and fund his scientific expeditions. Although not a household name today (unless you live in one of the 18 places named after him), von Humboldt was the best known naturalist of his day, and his published observations and interpretations have a very important place in the history of science. For example, he strongly influenced Charles Darwin. He aimed to find the universal principles that integrate all aspects of nature (the Unity of Nature) rather than to just describe and as such is considered to be the founder of biogeography; and he is recognized as being among the first to describe the effect of human activity on climate.

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Three Days on the Ohio River

Three Days on the Ohio River by William A. Alcott

Three Days on the Ohio River by William A. Alcott

This 1854 narration of a trip upon the Ohio River in a steamboat from Cincinnati to Pittsburg gives a picture of travel in a different time and almost a different United States. The author was well-known in his time and wrote prolifically.

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Through East Anglia in a Motor Car

Through East Anglia in a Motor Car by J. E. Vincent

Through East Anglia in a Motor Car by J. E. Vincent

The beginning of the last century saw an increasing popularity of the motor car as a viable method of transport for a significant number of the more affluent sections of the population. The freedom, flexibility and speed (!) that this modern invention provided to those who were wealthy enough to be able to afford to buy and to run one of these vehicles, meant that they were soon used for frequent social and pleasure purposes allowing both the travelling to and the exploration of different regions of the country.

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A Journal From Japan

A Journal From Japan by Marie Stopes

A Journal From Japan by Marie Stopes

Marie Stopes was a highly controversial scientist and activist in her era, campaigning for radical new views of love-based marriage, birth control, and women’s rights. As a scientist, she was a renowned palaeobotanist, specializing in issues concerning coal; these scientific pursuits led her to spend several years in Japan, where she went into some of the country’s remotest coal mines to study fossils. While there, she pursued a notorious relationship with Japanese botanist Fujii Kenjiro as well as several romantic dalliances with European women in the lively Tokyo diplomatic community. She established the first birth-control clinic in England in 1921, committed to an abortion-free philosophy of family planning. Stopes continues to be an ambiguous figure in historical consideration, her family-planning philosophies verging throughout her life on less-savory views such as eugenics and race purification, though the terminology employed at the time makes it unclear whether or not she was merely advocating more careful, consciously-planned, and responsible parenthood. That she rejected fascist views of eugenics is plain by her anti-Nazi passions in later life. These journal entries from Japan cover the period of August 6, 1907 through January 24, 1909, and show both her incisively scientific observational powers and a profound appreciation of the poignant beauty of Japanese culture and sensibilities, which she saw to be under threat during that era of modernization and industrialization.

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