Literary giants like Ernest Hemingway and Charles Dickens usually reside
upstairs in the Literature and Fiction Department. However, many notable
novelists have written travelogues documenting a particular country at a
specific point in history. These reside in the History Department. If you
cannot escape the Los Angeles heat this summer, wander down to Lower
Level 4 and let a great writer whisk you away to another time and place.
American Notes, by Charles Dickens. 973 D548-2 1985
Charles Dickens and his wife spent half of 1842 traveling throughout the
United States, a trip which inspired the novel Martin Chuzzlewit. While
he loved certain cities like Boston, he despised America's violent culture,
poor American manners, and filthy habits like spitting tobacco in public.
The Cruise of the Snark, by Jack London. 990 L847 2000
Imagine setting off in a 40-foot sailboat from California across the Pacific
with just a small crew and your spouse. Now imagine doing this in 1907.
This is exactly what Jack London did. His adventures are documented here,
along with historic photos of exotic locales including Hawaii and Tahiti.
A Motor-Flight Through France, by Edith Wharton. 914.4 W553 2012
Wharton and her husband moved from the United States to France in
1906. A prolific writer of both novels and travelogues, this book documents
their journeys "flying" through France in a "motor-car" with companions like
the novelist Henry James. Cars were still very much a novelty when this book
was published in 1908.
Twilight in Italy and Other Essays, by D.H. Lawrence. 945 L419 1997
Lawrence met his future wife in Germany in 1912, and they traveled
together across the Alps. His impressions of Italy, just before World
War I, are recounted here. The focus is on the Italian countryside
and its people rather than on Italy's well-known cities.
Green Hills of Africa, by Ernest Hemingway. 967.62 H488 1996
Hemingway's larger-than-life adventures shaped his fiction, from driving an
ambulance in World War I to serving as a correspondent during the Spanish
Civil War. This book documents a month-long safari he took to East Africa in
1933. While the details of the hunt are not for everyone, he writes beautifully
about the African landscape.
Journey Without Maps, by Graham Greene. 966.6 G799 2006
The British novelist Greene made his first trip outside Europe in 1935, spending
four weeks walking from Sierra Leone through the interior of Liberia (with the
help of guides and porters). The area was largely unmapped at the time and one
of the few parts of Africa without Western influence. Having become terribly ill
along the way, Greene's journey was truly life-changing.
Paris France, by Gertrude Stein. 944.36 S819 1996
Gertrude Stein moved to Paris in 1903 and called France home until her death
in 1946. This book contains witty, humorous observations about Paris, the
French people, and France's many poodles. It is made more poignant by the
fact that she wrote it in 1938 and 1939. By the time of its publication in 1940,
France had fallen to Germany, and the culture Stein loved was under threat.
An Area of Darkness, by V.S. Naipaul. 954.04 N157 2002
Naipaul, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Literature, was born to Indian
parents in Trinidad and Tobago. This controversial work, the start of a trilogy,
details his first trip to India in the early 1960's. He frankly discusses how
his yearlong journey shattered the mythical ideal of India he had imagined
as a child. Initially banned in India, it nonetheless is considered a classic
in travel writing.
From Heaven Lake, by Vikram Seth. 951.6T S495 1987
Years before writing the novels which would make him famous, including
A Suitable Boy, Seth was a postgraduate student in China. In 1981, he
hitchhiked home to New Delhi, India via Tibet. His trek is documented here,
with tales of bureaucrats, rides on donkey carts, and extreme climates.
He speaks warmly of the Chinese people and dedicates the book to the
people he "met along the way".
From great adventure stories like these to traditional travel guides, the
History Department has what you need to plan your next escape.