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Across the Hellespont: A Literary Guide to Turkey (Tauris Parke Paperbacks) Paperback – 5 Nov 2010
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About the Author
Richard Stoneman is a classicist, editor and lecturer. An Honorary Fellow of Exeter University, he is the author of numerous books and guides including Daphne into Laurel, A Literary Companion to Travel In Greece, The Greek Alexander Romance and Alexander the Great: a Life in Legend. He was President of the Classical Association in 2009/10.
Top customer reviews
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Rather than a dreary sequence of texts, the author ably summarizes Turkey’s rich history inserting pieces of literature ranging from antiquity to modern writers. As history progresses, the author shares a panoply of documents, letters and poems written by the countless travelers who from the 17th all the way to the 20th century came in touch with the Ottoman Empire of which close to nothing had transpired to the West.
The main part of the book is centered on Istanbul (Stamboul or Constantinople as the city was known before) but also the western part of modern Turkey with the regions of Ionia and Lydia, Lycia and the now popular Turkish Riviera are widely illustrated by those early visitors.
Moreover, this book provides plenty of information to whoever wants to dig further into Turkey’s rich history. All the quoted texts are extremely well referenced and the most curious mind can certainly pick his choice from the elaborate Bibliography and Guide to Further Reading listed at the end of the book, from biographies to fiction, from modern accounts to guidebooks, from Turkish history to more specialized books about Istanbul.
In spite of these bits and pieces, Richard Stoneman managed to write a coherent and captivating story about this land on the crossroad between East and West that fascinated and still fascinates so many of us.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I felt rather shortchanged by his reliance on translations by others, which were often into archaic English. For example there's a long passage from the Syrian (sic) "Romance of Alexander" translated by Budge (actually I think, from the Ethiopic) in 1889 into "as thy majesty commands" type English.
In the introduction he makes the tendentious allegation that "the Turks themselves are relative latecomers to the land." This is an arguable point and some discussion of the evidence for and against would have been interesting and relevant.