The Road to Oxiana: New edition linked and annotated

The Road to Oxiana New edition linked and annotated The Road to Oxiana is an account of Robert Byron s ten month journey to Iran and Afghanistan in in the company of Christopher Sykes This travelogue is considered by many modern travel writers

  • Title: The Road to Oxiana: New edition linked and annotated
  • Author: Robert Byron
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 315
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • The Road to Oxiana is an account of Robert Byron s ten month journey to Iran and Afghanistan in 1933 34 in the company of Christopher Sykes This travelogue is considered by many modern travel writers to be the first example of great travel writing Bruce Chatwin has described it as a sacred text, beyond criticism and carried his copy since he was fifteen years old, s The Road to Oxiana is an account of Robert Byron s ten month journey to Iran and Afghanistan in 1933 34 in the company of Christopher Sykes This travelogue is considered by many modern travel writers to be the first example of great travel writing Bruce Chatwin has described it as a sacred text, beyond criticism and carried his copy since he was fifteen years old, spineless and floodstained after four journeys through central Asia By the Si o seh pol bridge in Isfahan, Iran, Byron wrote The lights came out A little breeze stirred, and for the first time in four months I felt a wind that had no chill in it I smelt the spring, and the rising sap One of those rare moments of absolute peace, when the body is loose, the mind asks no questions, and the world is a triumph, was mine Robert Byron 26 February 1905 24 February 1941 was a British travel writer, art critic and historian Byron traveled to widely different places Mount Athos, India, the Soviet Union, and Tibet However it was in Persia and Afghanistan that he found the subject round which he forged his style of modern travel writing, when he later came to write up his account of The Road to Oxiana in early 1936, in Beijing, when he found himself alone in house of Desmond Parsons, the unreciprocated love of his life Robert Byron died in 1941, during the Second World War, when the ship on which he was travelling was torpedoed by a U Boat off Cape Wrath, Scotland, en route to Egypt His body was never found.

    One thought on “The Road to Oxiana: New edition linked and annotated”

    1. ”Baalbek is the triumph of stone; of lapidary magnificence on a scale whose language, being still the language of the eye, dwarfs New York into a home of ants. The stone is peach-coloured, and is marked in ruddy gold as the columns of St. Martin-in-the-fields are marked in soot. It has a marmoreal texture, not transparent, but faintly powdered, like bloom on a plum. Dawn is the time to see it, to look up at the Six Columns, when peach-gold and blue air shine with equal radiance, and even the e [...]

    2. Essential reading. In fact, this was such a fresh conception of the travel-amid-ruins-cum-history-cum-memoir that it has served as a model for Bruce Chatwin, Patrick Leigh Fermor, Pico Iyer, Peter Matthiessen, Jan Morris and other writers over the years. It contains a great many references to Persian and some Afghan antiquities, many of which author Byron photographed on his 1933 excursion. I was thrilled to read about these antiquities. That pleasure was made keener by the linked and annotated [...]

    3. QUANDO VIAGGIARE ERA UN PIACERE Ho intrecciato e intervallato la lettura di questo bel libro con 'Talibani' di Ahmed Rashid, mi è sembrata una giusta abbinata. E non mi sbagliavo: andare avanti e indietro nella Storia è servito a sentirsi 'circondato'.Tra il 1933 e il 1934, Robert Byron viaggiò in Palestina, Persia, Afghanistan, Turkestan.Anche perché Robert Byron ha la capacità di immergerci in quello che incontra e vede, mischiando con gusto, sapienza e divertimento l'architettura antica [...]

    4. Mash-up : The Rough Guide to the Middle East with Brideshead Revisited, the whole thing written up by that saucy boy Anthony Blanche. I did immoderately love flamboyant young Anthony up to no good in the louche bars of Oxford but when he morphs into Robert Byron and swans around sneering at Johnny Foreigner then it does get a bit too too :I went to swim at the YMCA opposite the hotel. This necessitated paying two shillings [and] changing among a lot of hairy dwarves who smelt of garlic.This is A [...]

    5. I am not sure I would have liked Robert Byron, him being pretentious and self-conscious bordering the pompous, I would probably have kept a distance at dinner parties. But, I would have listened in and smiled at his adventures in Persia and Afghanistan.“It is the journey, not the destination”, and then again, so many destinations that I would love to go to, though in different company.When he is at his best, he is the keen observer, enriching his observations with historical facts and never [...]

    6. 2.5 starsThis book and its writer are a bit of an enigma and I found myself liking and disliking Robert Byron in equal measure. The Road to Oxiana tells of a journey Byron made with Christopher Sykes to explore the architecture of what is now Iran and Afghanistan. If you want well written descriptions of Islamic architecture then Byron is your man; illustrated below;“I have never encountered splendour of this kind before. Other interiors came into my mind as I stood there, to compare it with: [...]

    7. After marking at least two dozen paragraphs to quote from, I gave up. Robert Byron is a writer who has at least one extremely funny wisecrack per page except when he is describing yet another dome, minaret or entrance gate with such intensity and long breath that you get bored after the detailed description of the fiftieth monument. What makes this travelodge from 1933 so exceptional is that he travels through Iraq, Persia and Afghanistan, thus regions which are now quite impossible to travel th [...]

    8. I had never heard of Robert Byron (distantly related to Lord Byron, but that's by-the-by), nor am I a natural fan of 'travel' writing, preferring my reading matter to be fictional. Nor had I a clue where or what Oxiana is. (It is an area around the River Oxus, the ancient name for the river Amu Darya, which snakes down from southern Russia into northern eastern Afghanistan). So I think it is fair to say that I approached this book with some caution, finding the very last copy of it in a bookshop [...]

    9. It only took me a few days to read this book about Robert Byron's 1934 journey through Persia and Afghanistan, but those few days were spread across six years. Byron's artfully artless "entries" ramble from exquisite lyricism to passages of undiluted boredom – although now, at the end, I've succumbed to its enchantment. Rory Stewart, in his Preface (which like all prefaces and introductions is best enjoyed after reading the book) observes that Byron more or less invented travel writing. "In By [...]

    10. There are many engaging European travel narratives of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but this is one of the very best--better than Lawrence or Thesiger; possibly one of the greatest ever. In 1933, Robert Byron--an English writer, art critic, and gentleman adventurer--joined up with his friend Christopher Sykes and embarked on a journey of nearly a year that took him from Italy through Cyprus and Jerusalem, thence across Persia and Afghanistan, and at last to the tiny country of Oxiana i [...]

    11. A combination of the lyric, the dissertation and the comic, this is one of the most beautiful books every written. Chatwin called it “beyond criticism”. I agree. This is a book that allows you to taste the tea, smell the leaves and the dust and feel the cool air of the oasis… AND to experience a by-gone world lost in the wars of the past thirty years.For nearly a year (1933-34), young Robert Byron traveled from Venice to Cyprus to Syria Iraq, Iran and into Afganistan. He ended his journey [...]

    12. I think this book would be better read on the ground he covers. The amount of detail about the towns (living and dead) and buildings and monuments he visits is overwhelming when you're reading it with your feet up at home, but it would very likely be amazing if you were standing in front of what's he's describing: "At Hamadan we eschewed the tombs of Esther and Avicennna, but visited the Gumbad-i-Alaviyan, a Seljuk mausoleum of the twelfth century, whose uncoloured stucco panels, puffed and punc [...]

    13. Not quite as spry or lively as the glowing cover summary/blurbs might lead one to believe. There's truly an ankle-depth of overly-minute detail one has to slog through. This, in favor over a decided lack of narrative impetus. If a gnat flits past this guy's eyebrow, he will mention it. Often hard to get a sense of where he actually is. There's no continuity in the passages; nothing knits the episodes together. As a 'book' it is literally composed just of Byron's diary jottings as the journey wen [...]

    14. The things we are forced to do for book club. This classic travel memoir is the diary-style memoir of an Englishman crossing Persia and Afghanistan in 1933. He is witty and likable, also random, pompous and casually racist in that impossibly pre-WWII way. His observations are keen and his writing witty - I even laughed out loud twice. But every part the world he captures seems ancient history. The buildings no longer stand, the countries are disappeared, the cities and ethnicities changed names [...]

    15. The 1930s, from this distance at least, feels like the last time you could go somewhere in the world and it would be really different, plus there was still an aristocratic class with the money and free time to meander around the world with all the positive and negative results of amateur exploration. The actual writing of the book is odd and varied and quite modernist - Paul Fussell (who I will be adding to my booklist before long) says The Road to Oxiana is to travel writing what Ulysses is to [...]

    16. Snarky, underfunded, antisocial, linguistically limited, and with a keen dislike of both his own people and those of other nations, Byron trekked through Iran and Afghanistan in search of architectural treasures. The Road to Oxiana, composed in the form of a journal, veers between beautifully restrained descriptions of landscapes and ridiculous, self-deprecating slapstick. It's heavy on art theory and historical background but never for a moment feels either boring or stilted. A hugely fun, enor [...]

    17. É caso para dizer que, no que respeita a A Estrada Para Oxiana, de Robert Byron, a fama vem de longe; há muito tempo que conhecia o livro, já li muito a seu respeito, faz parte do cânone da literatura de viagens, sendo o grande livro de referência de grandes escritores de viagens, como o Bruce Chatwin. Foi finalmente publicado em Portugal, na coleção de literatura de viagens da editora Tinta da China, com uma tradução impecável (a boa tradução é aquela que não se dá por ela) e uma [...]

    18. In the early 1930s, Robert Byron traveled throughout Persia and Afghanistan, with any eye toward seeing spectacular examples of Muslim architecture with his own eyes. This book describes his journeys in a diary form that, in addition to being painstakingly descriptive of the buildings he visits, is also quite poetic and funny. His remembered conversations and interactions with various dignitaries and bureaucrats can be quite amusing.Being a creature of the 1930s and the British empire, Byron has [...]

    19. In the lead-up to World War II, a cynical Oxford hedonist departed for points east to write one of the 20th Century's greatest jaded-fuck travelogues. Obnoxious Brits and Yanks abroad, bad meals, rough roads, pompous local potentates, and shitty parties with legations of various European nations fill the book. But so do stunning mountain scenes, architectural and archaeological wonders, and random kindnesses. Long before people like Paul Theroux and Bruce Chatwin made their names on travel writi [...]

    20. Um livro que fui lendo lentamente, tomando o pulso à viagem de Robert Byron, um inglês erudito e que partiu para o Médio Oriente para observar a arquitectura muçulmana. Uma viagem de meses pela antiga Pérsia e Afeganistão. Humor britânico, sensibilidade para observar o que escapa ao olho normal, surpreendeu pela enorme cultura histórica do autor.Fiquei a gostar de um país que está em guerra à décadas e em que o autor faz observações sobre geo-política que ainda se mantém actual.U [...]

    21. This book is quite special to me. I came across it many years ago while reading Christian Kracht's 1979 and after learning that Kracht kept a copy of this book on his bedside table(re: stalking your hero's heroes).Now after having been to Iran and having spent a couple of years in Afghanistan (and having itchier feet than ever!), the book is even more enjoyable but, of course, also a little more melancholic because all is discovered, fucked up and, in 'the best case', once the west has enforced [...]

    22. A maioria dos caudalosos rios que nascem nas vertentes norte das poderosas cadeias montanhosas do Hindu Kush e do Pamir, os Himalaias ocidentais, não chegam a desaguar no mar, esvaindo-se em grandes deltas nas areias dos desertos de Karakum e de Taklamakan. Nestes deltas, existem, desde tempos remotos, riquíssimas cidades-oásis, pontos cruciais da Rota das Sedas, como Merv, Bukhara, Samarcanda ou Kashgar. Não muito longe, fica o igualmente isolado e fértil vale de Fergana, onde nasceu Babur [...]

    23. Exasperating. This book moved from brilliant, to imperial, to frustrating, to compassionate and back. Byron is British, and though his family lost their money, he was educated 'right.' Rory Steward, who writes the introduction for this, says that before Byron, British travelers were 'heroes. . . .Their purpose seemed professional or spiritual. . . .but they were often spies." Traveling and spying was a time-honored tradition in Britain, But Byron was the separation point. Typical of Byron, he be [...]

    24. The greatest travel book ever written, following the journey of Robert Byron across the Middle East as he tries to reach the river Oxus, the old Greek name for the Amu Darya, on the northern border of Afghanistan. It's written in a wondrous prose style, jaunty, elegant, and moving with a pace that makes writers today sound turgid: "We went to the Lido this morning, and the Doge's Palace looked more beautiful from a speed-boat than it ever did from a gondola."People always criticize by default an [...]

    25. 2,5Io e la narrativa di viaggio non abbiamo mai avuto un gran feeling, e questo romanzo non fa che confermarlo. Bruce Chatwin l'ha definito "un'opera di genio", ma temo di essermi persa tutta questa decantata genialità.Ad essere sincera, credo che la mia totale ignoranza in termini di architettura (punto forte del bagaglio culturale di Byron) e di storia dell'arte persiana/afghana abbia ampiamente contribuito al senso generalizzato di noia che ho provato durante la lettura.Tuttavia, non bisogna [...]

    26. Byron set out to investigate and explore Islamic architecture but he found himself doing far more. I don't doubt his interest and knowledge on the initial subject matter, but I feel it was mainly an excuse to express his unique perspective on all manner of things.The narrative takes in the people and places surrounding his quest from Persia through to the Oxiana river in Turkestan (present day Afganistan I think). There is a vast cast of characters breezing in and out of the pages which gives it [...]

    27. So I just picked up this book and didn't really know what to expect. I hadn't read a whole lot of non-fiction or travelogues before then, and I didn't know much about the book before I started. I would love to reread it again, because I know my reading tastes have changed. Even though I didn't think the narrator was particularly interesting, I kept reading, there was something that just kept me reading. I like reading about cities and places and history, so perhaps that was it. I had a lot of tr [...]

    28. I admired the form and style of this book maybe more than the content. Byron writes in short paragraph form with sarcasm, and an often merciful travel eye. But perhaps most of all I admire his hunger to travel to remote locales and his ability and imagination to find beauty in fragments of thousands year old ruins. Byron's obsession with eastern art and architecture seems at least in part to do with the end of WWI and the end of government, and God, as the West traditionally conceived of them. K [...]

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