Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, CBE (1868-1926) was an English writer, traveller, political officer, administrator, archaeologist and spy who explored and mapped Greater Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and Arabia. Along with T. E. Lawrence, Bell helped establish the Hashemite dynasties in what is today Jordan as well as in Iraq.
Take a gentle yet fascinating stroll back into another era, into the memories of Gertrude Bell, a woman so far ahead of her time she would still be considered remarkable today. This is a blend of two of Bell’s books, excerpts of her travel writing in the Middle East from the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. This is a book you can dip in and out of, however every word should be savoured as it is with a feeling of wonderment that you read and understand, that these are the thoughts of an Englishwoman, as she traversed lands as different as possible from those she grew up in. You can feel the fear of a cholera outbreak, breathe in the scents of the gardens in the desert and take a peek at the diverse people she meets. These aren't the innermost secrets of an intriguing mind, but a captivating tale of lands wandered through and cultures explored, it will definitely leave you wanting to know more about Gertrude Bell. ~ Liz Robinson
You may rely upon one thing - I'll never engage in creating kings again; it's too great a strain. Gertrude Bell - traveller, scholar, archaeologist, spy - was one of the most powerful figures in the Middle East in the 20th century. With T.E. Lawrence, she was a significant force behind the Arab Revolt and was responsible for creating the boundaries of the modern state of Iraq, as well as installing the Hashemite dynasty, with Faisal I as king, in Iraq and Transjordan. Her knowledge of the Arab world was forged through decades of travel and the relationships she built across Arabia with tribal leaders and kings, who referred to her as Umm al Mu'mineen, or Mother of the Faithful. In the winter of 1906, she undertook an often dangerous journey through Greater Syria - Damascus, Jerusalem, Beirut, Antioch and Alexandretta - and her portrait of the landscapes, people and customs of a part of the world that very few had explored at the time is now a classic of travel writing. Bell's Syria illuminates a region that continues to preoccupy us today as well as portraying the unique life of a remarkable, still-controversial and ultimately tragic woman.
A portrait in her own words of the female Lawrence of Arabia, the subject of the documentaryLetters from Baghdad,voiced by Tilda Swinton, andthe major motion picture Queen of the Desert, starring Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Damian Lewis, and Robert Pattinson and directed by Werner HerzogGertrude Bell was leaning in 100 years before Sheryl Sandberg. One of the great woman adventurers of the twentieth century, she turned her back on Victorian society to study at Oxford and travel the world, and became the chief architect of British policy in the Middle East after World War I. Mountaineer, archaeologist, Arabist, writer, poet, linguist, and spy, she dedicated her life to championing the Arab cause and was instrumental in drawing the borders that define today's Middle East.As she wrote in one of her letters, ';It's a bore being a woman when you are in Arabia.' Forthright and spirited, opinionated and playful, and deeply instructive about the Arab world, this volume brings together Bell's letters, military dispatches, diary entries, and travel writings to offer an intimate look at a woman who shaped nations.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,800titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust theseries to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-datetranslations by award-winning translators.
The writings of one of the great woman adventurers of the twentieth century - the 'female Lawrence of Arabia' - and the subject of a new film starring Nicole Kidman. In the last century, few people lived more astounding - or influential - lives than Gertrude Bell. During World War I, she worked her way up from spy to army major to become one of the most powerful woman in the British Empire. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, she was instrumental in drawing the borders that define the region today, including creating an independent Iraq. This is the epic story of Bell's life, told through her letters, military dispatches, diary entries, and other writings. It offers a unique and intimate look behind the public mask of a woman who shaped nations. Georgina Howell is the author of the acclaimed biography Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations.
Are we the same, I wonder, when all our surroundings, association, acquaintances are changed? I conclude that it is not the person who danced with you at Mansfield St who writes to you today from Persia. Yet there are dregs, English sediment at the bottom of my sherbet, and perhaps they flavour it more than I think. I write to you of Persia: I am not me, that is my only excuse. I am only I am merely pouring out for you some of what I have received in the last two months. When Gertrude Bell's uncle was appointed Minister in Tehran in 1891, she declared that the great ambition of her life was to visit Persia. Several months later, she did. And so began a lifetime of travel and a lifelong enchantment with what she saw as the romance of the East, which evolved into a deep understanding of its cultures and people. This vivid and impressionistic series of sketches, her first foray into writing, is an evocative meditation that moves between Persia's heroic past and its long decline; the public face of Tehran and the otherworldly 'secret, mysterious life of the East', the lives of its women, its lush, enclosed gardens; from the bustling cities to the lonely wastelands of Khorasan.
Traveller, archaeologist, mountaineer and diplomat, Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) poured her extraordinary talents into a series of adventures through Europe and the Middle East. Addressing her experiences in Persia and Syria respectively, Safar Nameh (1894) and The Desert and the Sown (1907) are both reissued in this series. The present work, first published in 1911 and among Bell's most acclaimed, describes her recent expedition to Mesopotamia. She recounts her outward journey to the Abbasid palace of Ukhaidir and her return via Baghdad and Asia Minor. Notably discussing changes in the region after the rise of the Young Turks, including their easing of restrictions throughout the declining Ottoman Empire, Bell also saw this book as 'the attempt to record the daily life, the speech of those who had inherited the empty ground where empires had risen and expired'. Replete with photographs, it vividly opens up Middle Eastern history and archaeology.
Born to transcend the social constraints of Victorian England, Gertrude Bell left the comforts of her privileged life for the unconventional — but thrilling — world of the Middle East. One of the first women to graduate from Oxford, she traveled to Persia and became passionately drawn to the Arab people, the language, and their architecture. A skilled archeologist, historian, and linguist, Bell traveled the world and wrote compelling, perceptive accounts of her daring journeys. The Desert and the Sown is considered to be one of her masterpieces. A magnificent account of personal discovery and political history, this intriguing narrative traces Bell's 1905 sojourn through Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. With an eye for vivid detail, "e;the female Lawrence of Arabia"e; offers intriguing images from her often dangerous "e;wild travel"e; through regions never seen by another foreign woman. One hundred sixty extraordinary photos illustrate camel caravans; ruins of castles and monasteries; local markets and bazaars; Damascus with its gardens, domes, and minarets; and more. But it's Bell's impressions and conversations with contacts and confidantes of varied cultures that will hold you captive. An inspiring portrait of a woman who overcame the barriers of her generation, as well as a piece of history that offers insight into current events in the Middle East, The Desert and the Sown is fascinating reading for travelers, explorers, and citizens of the world. The book also served as the basis for the 2016 Werner Herzog film Queen of the Desert, starring Nicole Kidman, James Franco, and Robert Pattinson. Map included.
This book of 'Persian Pictures' is the first published work of Gertrude Bell (1868-1926), the celebrated traveller, archaeologist, Orientalist and supporter of Arab independence. She first visited Persia in 1892, when a relative by marriage was British minister there, and published her impressions in a series of essays in 1894. Her subjects range from Roman ruins to Ottoman graves to shopping in the bazaars, and from the bustling life of cities to the isolation of the desert. Having studied the Persian language in preparation for her journey, she was able to enter into the life of the country, and especially of its women, more deeply than a casual visitor, and indeed her second publication was a free-verse translation of the fourteenth-century poet Hafiz. Bell captures a sense of delight at a mysterious land still marked by the traces of many of the great civilisations of the past.
A seeming contradiction, Gertrude Bell was both a proper Victorian and an intrepid explorer of the Arabian wilderness. She was a close friend of T. E. Lawrence, and played an important role in creating the modern map of the Middle East after World War I. The Desert and the Sown is a chronicle, illustrated by over 160 photos, of Bell's 1905 journey from Jericho to Antioch, a land of warring tribes under Turkish control.