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‘Years and years ago, observing that nobody in the history of man had ever seen and described the entire urban world, I resolved to do it myself …’
It was thirty years later, standing in the great square in Beijing, that Jan Morris realized that she had achieved her extraordinary ambition. Among the Cities (1985) is a magnificent collection which presents her personal selection of travel pieces, with definitive evocations of places as different as Alexandria and Bath, Warsaw and Wyoming.
Whether she is describing Beirut before the lights went out, the cloying charms of Vienna (‘no place for a Welsh republican’), the dream-world of Kashmir or the ‘impending euphoria of Rio de Janeiro, Jan Morris never leaves us in doubt that she is one of the greatest travel writers – and one of the greatest prose writers – of our time.
‘I don’t think there is a writer alive who has Jan Morris’s serenity or strength.’ Paul Theroux
‘She can even impart a place’s smell.’ Observer
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