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The Travels of Marco Polo (Classics of World Literature) [Paperback]

Marco Polo , Benjamin Colbert , Tom Griffith , William Marsden
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
Price: £3.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

5 Feb 1997 Classics of World Literature
Marco Polo (1254-1329) has achieved an almost archetypal status as a traveller, and his Travels is one of the first great travel books of Western literature, outside the ancient world. The Travels recounts Polo's journey to the eastern court of Kublai Khan, the chieftain of the Mongol empire which covered the Asian continent, but which was almost unknown to Polo's contemporaries. Encompassing a twenty-four year period from 1721, Polo's account details his travels in the service of the empire, from Beijing to northern India and ends with the remarkable story of Polo's return voyage from the Chinese port of Amoy to the Persian Gulf. Alternately factual and fantastic, Polo's prose at once reveals the medieval imagination's limits, and captures the wonder of subsequent travel writers when faced with the unfamiliar, the exotic or the unknown.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions; New edition edition (5 Feb 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853264733
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853264733
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 12.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Modern scholars have questioned the veracity of Marco Polo's account, but there's no doubt that his description of his travels through the Mongol Empire of the Middle Ages--with its spices, exotic animals, rare jewels and dancing girls--is enchanting. --Kathleen Keefe --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

A timeless addition to any travel collection. " --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes Survivor Participants Look Like Wusses 1 Dec 2002
Format:Paperback
This volume will enthrall anyone interested in true adventure. Marco Polo was the original Indiana Jones and then some. Please do not waste time on Gary Jennings' The Journeyer. This is the real deal and needs no dramatic embellishments.
The Travels takes you on a trip from 13th century Venice to "Cathay" and back again. You will learn how Europeans found out about fireworks, paper currency, printing and pasta. The harrowing journey across the Gobi desert is particularly well reported.
Marco Polo was more than an explorer. He was one of the world's first anthropologists. This is an exciting read, an account of how medieval Europe initially perceived China and the far east, and of how the Mongol rulers and Chinese emperors perceived them. Highly recommended. As to the print quality of Penguin editions, which some have denigrated, I have had my copy since the early eighties and it has yellowed only slightly. Viking is now printing on acid-free paper. One must remember that these editions were printed primarily to reach the widest audience for the least amount of expense at the time. For years, Penguins were accessible to students and to the collector who couldn't afford an elaborate, fully illustrated, fully mapped volume of a particular work. I couldn't have read as many of them as I did in my late teens and early twenties if that were not the case. I owe a lifelong debt to the editors for their efforts. I've also never read a bad translation in any Penguin Classic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a great book spoiled by a terrible translation 5 Jan 2014
By Mr. Nj Mcallister VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this as a paper back from a decent modern translation years ago and really enjoyed it. I decided to read it again and downloaded this Kindle version. It is terrible. Do not waste your money!!! A terrible translation and badly edited abortion of a book. It is bogged down with copious irrelevant translators notes in the middle of every page so that sometimes the notes take up more space than the actual book. which detracts from your ability to actually read the book in Kindle format and the translation is over 100 years old with all the english problems of what was even then a bad translation. Dont let this shoddy Kindle version prevent you from reading what is in essence a great adventure and an incredible read. But look for a decent translation. There are none in Kindle version. I think the paperback I read was a Penguin classic but I cant remember. But avoid this version like the plague
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barely believable adventures 9 Nov 2003
By bernie VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Marco writes well enough of his travels and you feel that you are there. You can actually follow the trail if you have a map. He describes the flora and fauna of each region and describes the economics and industry of the region.
Example: "The women of the superior class are in like manner free from superfluous hairs; their skins are fare, and they are well formed."
It is interesting to see how little has changed from Marco Polo's 13th century and now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Note, Note and Note, Note! Grrrrr! 12 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this impossible to read! How dam annoying! There are more NOTES than story! Look, get rid of the notes and just print the story OK! I'm not interested in the NOTES on the same page. Stuff them in the back where they belong! I never want to see another NOTE in my life!
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The classic cross-cultural experience 29 July 2004
Format:Paperback
Every fantastic location and creature and event described and experienced by the Polo family really existed. And yet the world still doubts the authenticity of this 13th century trader's experiences.
I have seen many of these locations and cultures for myself, some of which have hardly changed, and I continue to be amazed by the detail of his descriptions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Marco Polo 29 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good value and an interesting enough read. Especially helpful are the maps from the time period inside the front cover and the modern map outlining the journey. There is also a list of place names, given in both their 12th-Century and modern forms, but it only covers a very small number of the places actually mentioned in the book, so that's not as helpful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but at times repetetive 3 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback
'The Travels' is a frightfully interesting book, filled to the brim with tall tales, lavish description and contrasting cultures. From the Arabian peninsula to the far east of China, right down to India and Sri Lanka, this book takes in all the great sights of Eastern Asia. It's debated nowadays whether Polo actually conducted all of these travels himself, or if he merely recalled stories he had been told by others on his journeys. However, cast away your doubts and just sit back and enjoy an interesting ride. R.E. Latham, the translator of this edition, had added in extra footnotes at appropriate points, adding extra details from different translations. These add a new depth to some stories. He also clears up any confusing descriptions and points out errors Polo made.

One issue I do have with the book is its repetition of key phrases, especially once we have reached China and the land of Kubilai Khan. Things like "the people here are idolaters" (aka Buddhists), or "they use paper money" quickly become dull, and one sometimes questions the sheer number of cities Polo mentions, when often he just glosses over them in a paragraph. I personally would have preferred more of the interesting stories, and less of the filler, but you can be assured of one thing - this is the definitive travels of Marco Polo, and nothing is missed out.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
LOVED IT
Published 1 month ago by catherine fraser
3.0 out of 5 stars don't purchase
It wasn't what I expected. The writing style was poor. I would not recommend it
Published 2 months ago by Edgar Anstey
2.0 out of 5 stars Sure, Marco, we believe you
As a historical document this book has as much credibility as a McDonalds placemat. Anyone looking for insight into the Middle-East and Asia 800 years ago ought to look elsewhere. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Inspector Gadget
4.0 out of 5 stars All time classic
Read this and follow it up with "Invisible cities". This is one of the world's great travelogues, all across Eurasia, from Italy to Mongolia.
Published 5 months ago by H. G. Schmidt
3.0 out of 5 stars Dog Lover
This book is a bit long winded, but worth the money and I learnt a great deal about a time I knew nothing about previously.
Published 8 months ago by Andries Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars What was it Marco Polo discovered???
Everyone knows about Marco Polo's famous journey (the memory is kept alove by Venice's airport); but the text presented (here in a 19th-century translation) is actually by... Read more
Published 9 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Was in Real?
Debated and re-debated constantly. Loved the idea of Prester John. This is an interesting story of racism and prejudiced opinions with the acceptance of different peoples as long... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Scarlet
3.0 out of 5 stars More note than content
This is classic academic reading, there are more notes than original content. If you want a history lesson, or several rather, this is for you. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jens Schwarz-Nielsen
2.0 out of 5 stars Maps Disappointing
This book is OK text-wise but the maps are very small and hard to read - I suppose fold out maps would add too much to the cost.
Published on 24 Nov 2011 by Claire P
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