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A Journey Around My Room (Hesperus Classics) [Paperback]

Alain de Botton , Xavier De Maistre , Andrew Brown
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Review

'De Maistre...found the utmost strangeness in himself and the things he had taken for granted.' -- The Times, September 11th, 2004

'It's extraordinarily funny' -- Independent on Sunday, 12th September, 2004

From the Author

‘De Maistre’s work springs from a profound and suggestive insight: that the pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to. If only we could apply a travelling mindset to our own locales, we might find these places becoming no less interesting than the high mountain passes and jungles of South America’ - From the Foreword by Alain de Botton

From the Inside Flap

When he finds himself imprisoned in his room for six weeks, with only his butler and his dog to keep him company, Xavier de Maistre decides to embark upon one of the most ambitious travels of all time: a journey around his bedroom. And then, some years later, he repeats the journey, this time travelling at night.

The two resulting works – ‘Journey around my Room’ and ‘Nocturnal Expedition around my Room’ – form a delightful fantasy, and are among the finest pieces of writing of the nineteenth century. In an inspired conceit, De Maistre offers a new take on the travel literature of his day, negating the necessity for exotic travel, since, from his various different vantage points around his room, he can learn to view – and value – the world in an entirely new way.
Immensely popular when it was first published, Journey around my Room went on to inspire many subsequent writers, including the likes of Marcel Proust and Victor Hugo.

From the Back Cover

‘Millions of people who, before me, had never dared to travel, others who had not been able to travel, and still more who had not even thought of travelling, will now be able to follow my example.’

About the Author

Xavier de Maistre (1763-1852) was a military man, who supplemented his army career with short works of fiction.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

In the spring of 1790, a twenty seven year old Frenchman, Xavier de Maistre, undertook a journey around his bedroom, later entitling the account of what he had seen "A Journey around my Room". Gratified by his experiences, in 1798, de Maistre undertook a second journey. This time, he travelled by night and ventured out as far as the window ledge, later entitling his account "A Nocturnal Expedition around my Room".

Xavier de Maistre was born in 1763 in the picturesque town of Chambéry at the foot of the French Alps. He was of an intense, romantic nature, was fond of reading, especially Montaigne, Pascal and Rousseau and of paintings, especially Dutch and French domestic scenes. At the age of 23, de Maistre became fascinated by aeronautics. Etienne Montgolfier had, three years before, achieved international renown by constructing a balloon that flew for eight minutes above the royal palace at Versailles, bearing as passengers a sheep called Montauciel (Climb-to-the-sky), a duck and a rooster. De Maistre and a friend constructed a pair of giant wings out of paper and wire and planned to fly to America. They did not succeed. Two years later de Maistre secured himself a place in a hot air balloon and spent a few moments floating above Chambéry before the machine crashed into a pine forest.

- From the foreword by Alain de Botton

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