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Jan Morris (1926-2020) lived and wrote as James Morris until 1972. She resided with her partner, Elizabeth Morris, in northwest Wales, between the mountains and the sea. Her many books included In My Mind's Eye, Coronation Everest, and the Pax Britannica trilogy.
The irrepressible Jan Morris-author of such classics as Venice and Trieste-is at it again: offering a vibrant set of reminiscences that remind us what a good, wise and witty companion Jan Morris has been for so many readers for so long (Alexander McCall Smith, New York Times Book Review). Like Michel de Montaigne (Danny Heitman, Wall Street Journal), Morris waxes on the ironies of modern life in all their resonant glories and inevitable stupidities-from her daily exercise (a statutory thousand paces of brisk walk ) to the troubles of Brexit; her enduring yet complicated love for America; and honest reflections on the vagaries and ailments of aging. Both intimate and luminously wise, Thinking Again is a testament to the virtues of embracing life, creativity, and, above all, kindness.
'I have never before in my life kept a diary of my thoughts, and here at the start of my ninth decade, having for the moment nothing much else to write, I am having a go at it. Good luck to me.' So begins this extraordinary book, a collection of diary pieces that Jan Morris wrote for the Financial Times over the course of 2017. A former soldier and journalist, and one of the great chroniclers of the world for over half a century, she writes here in her characteristically intimate voice - funny, perceptive, wise, touching, wicked, scabrous, and above all, kind - about her thoughts on the world, and her own place in it as she turns ninety. From cats to cars, travel to home, music to writing, it's a cornucopia of delights from a unique literary figure.
Not so long ago, feeling intimations of mortality, Jan Morris embarked on a wholly novel literary enterprise. What began as a series of high-minded letters to her late daughter-in the style of Lord Chesterfield addressing his son-quickly transformed itself into a potpourri of mini-essays and vibrant reminiscences, organized around experiences both majestic and mundane, from traveling the world with her lifelong partner, Elizabeth, to sneezing and kissing and simply growing old. So Allegorizings came to be, and so Morris decided that it should only be published upon her death, not because she had anything to hide but, merely, in parting. Featuring essays largely written in the early twenty-first century, Allegorizings reflects, above all, Morris's steadfast conviction that nothing is only what it seems. In fact, she observes, everything is allegory. Indeed, in Morris's telling, even life-the whole conundrum of existence-is one long, majestically impenetrable allegory. Taking us from the separatist hippie colony of Bolinas, California, to her home country of Wales, and introducing us to Nepalese Sherpas and elderly cruise-goers alike, Morris follows the throughline of allegory throughout her works. In one essay, she lambasts the joylessness of maturity ( Maturity! Did ever a heart thrill to the sound of it, still less the meaning? ) and in another, decries the nonsense of nationality. With characteristic verve, she offers odes to whistling and cursing, cats, and exclamation points. Morris's travels anchor the collection, as she revisits the iconic settings of her previous works. We join her aboard the storied Orient Express, as well as tube trains passing through the purlieus of London. So too, we hike the foothills of the Himalayas-where Morris burst onto scene with her on-the-spot reportage of the first ascent of Everest-and reflect on the picaresque allure of Tournus, a dichotomized town in France where one France, bearing all the vestiges of privilege, seems to kiss another. Intimate and luminously wise, Allegorizings is as much a testament to the virtues of embracing life as it is a testament to its charming, indignant, and ever-surprising author. In her final work, Morris's writing is as erudite as ever, conveying a generosity of spirit flavored by well-earned crankiness (Vox). Though newly bereft of her company, readers will be reminded what a good, wise, and witty companion (Alexander McCall Smith) Morris has been to so many, for so long.
The battleship Yamato, of the Imperial Japanese Navy, was the most powerful warship of World War II and represented the climax, as it were, of the Japanese warrior traditions of the samurai-the ideals of honor, discipline, and self-sacrifice that had immemorially ennobled the Japanese national consciousness. Stoically poised for battle in the spring of 1945-when even Japan's last desperate technique of arms, the kamikaze, was running short-Yamato arose as the last magnificent arrow in the imperial quiver of Emperor Hirohito. Here, Jan Morris not only tells the dramatic story of the magnificent ship itself-from secret wartime launch to futile sacrifice at Okinawa-but, more fundamentally, interprets the ship as an allegorical figure of war itself, in its splendor and its squalor, its heroism and its waste. Drawing on rich naval history and rhapsodic metaphors from international music and art, Battleship Yamato is a work of grand ironic elegy.
Farewell the Trumpets: An Imperial Retreat traces the momentous decline and fall of the greatest of empires - from Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee to the death of Winston Churchill in 1965. With characteristic balance, this masterpiece of narrative history describes the long retreat and final dissolution of the British Empire. The Pax Britannica Trilogy includes Heaven's Command: An Imperial Progress and Pax Britannica: The Climax of an Empire. Together these three works of history trace the dramatic rise and fall of the British Empire, from the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837 to the death of Winston Churchill in 1965. Jan Morris is also world-renowned for her collection of travel writing and reportage, spanning over five decades and including such titles as Venice, Coronation Everest, Hong Kong, Spain, A Writer's World and most recently, Contact! 'The British Empire is fortunate in having found in Morris a chronicler and memorialist who can do it justice. . . Morris writes with inspired gusto, firmly rooted in erudition, which carries the book into the realms of literature.' Sunday Telegraph 'One of our finest writers on Empire - alive to its glory, yet with a beady eye for the corruptions and failures which were at its heart, along with the dreams.' Observer
Necrophilia is not one of my failings, but I do like graveyards and memorial stones and such... Following the publication In My Mind's Eye, her acclaimed first volume of diaries, a Radio 4 Book of the Week in 2018, Jan Morris continued to write her daily musings. From her home in the North West of Wales, the author of classics such as Venice and Trieste cast her eye over modern life in all its stupidity and glory. From her daily thousand paces to the ongoing troubles of Brexit, from her enduring love for America to the wonders of the natural world, and from the vagaries and ailments of old age to the beauty of youth, she once again displays her determined belief in embracing life and creativity - all kindness and marmalade.
AS HEARD ON BBC RADIO 4s BOOK OF THE WEEK 'Morris is one of Britain's greatest living writers.' The Times 'Fascinating ... valuable and rare. This book is a writer's constitutional.' Kate Kellaway, Observer 'I have never before in my life kept a diary of my thoughts, and here at the start of my ninth decade, having for the moment nothing much else to write, I am having a go at it. Good luck to me.' So begins this extraordinary book, a collection of diary pieces that Jan Morris wrote for the Financial Times over the course of 2017. A former soldier and journalist, and one of the great chroniclers of the world for over half a century, she writes here in her characteristically intimate voice - funny, perceptive, wise, touching, wicked, scabrous, and above all, kind - about her thoughts on the world, and her own place in it as she turns ninety. From cats to cars, travel to home, music to writing, it's a cornucopia of delights from a unique literary figure.
Un portrait delicat de la cite de l'Adriatique, carrefour seculaire des tumultes de l'histoire europeenne.L'ecrivain britannique Jan Morris a decouvert Trieste comme soldat en 1945, et cette ville n'a cesse depuis de la hanter. Maintes fois bousculee par les remous de l'histoire, Trieste incarne la precarite des frontieres, la finitude des empires et s'est affirmee depuis des siecles comme un havre pour les exiles, celebres ou anonymes. Evoquant l'histoire, l'art, la litterature ou l'architecture, Jan Morris esquisse dans ces pages un tableau elegant et teinte de melancolie de la grande cite portuaire des Habsbourg, eprouvee par les annees noires du fascisme et le glacis du rideau de fer. La Trieste d'aujourd'hui, cosmopolite et fremissante, a la fois latine, slave et germanique, reste une metaphore de l'histoire troublee de notre continent.Plongez dans un tableau elegant et teinte de melancolie de la grande cite portuaire des Habsbourg !EXTRAITIl y eut un temps ou j'avais coutume de dire que si j'etais juive, je serais certainement sioniste. J'avais servi en Palestine sous mandat britannique et j'avais alors pense que c'etait les Arabes, pas les Juifs, qui en bavaient ; mais voir la jeune armee israelienne deferler dans le Sinai lors de la premiere de ses guerres m'emplit de sympathie romanesque pour le petit Etat. Plus tard, je changeai a nouveau d'avis et compris que les Juifs que j'admirais le plus etaient ceux de la diaspora qui n'avaient pas abandonne la fierte de leur origine et restaient etroitement lies par l'histoire et la culture, par un amour des mots, de la musique et du debat, mais qui etaient par essence des citoyens du monde, supranationaux, extraterritoriaux. C'est leur esprit, diffus mais remanent, tel un gene de chromosome, qui me fait voir Trieste encore comme une ville juive. D'ailleurs, les Juifs restent encore dans les parages. L'essentiel de leur vieux ghetto, dans le quartier de la Piazza Unita, a fait les frais des transformations municipales, mais ce qui en reste, comme dans bien des anciens ghettos d'Europe, est devenu plutot tendance. Les excellentes librairies, les antiquaires, les marchands d'art et les restaurateurs abondent et il y a un marche aux puces le dimanche. Via del Monte, la synagogue des migrants abrite un musee juif, dirige par un rabbin de la grande synagogue et il y a une ecole juive a cote. Ici et la, cependant, des rues medievales abandonnees subsistent, dans l'attente de la demolition, et leurs hautes maisons vides a volets clos, leurs lampes, chaines, cadenas et chats errants rappellent des epoques plus cruelles. L'autre jour encore, dans le meme quartier du ghetto, j'ai vu trois musiciens ambulants en loques chasses par la police et, en les regardant fermer leurs etuis, fourrer leurs instruments sous le bras et partir d'un pas trainant vers le front de mer, je songeai qu'ils ressemblaient vraiment aux malheureux Juifs d'antan pousses comme du betail dans les wagons. A PROPOS DE L'AUTEURNee en 1926, Jan Morris est l'un des plus celebres ecrivains de voyage de langue anglaise. Elle est l'auteur de Pax Britannica, une histoire de l'empire britannique, et de delicats portraits de Venise, Trieste, Oxford, New York ou Hong Kong. Elle vecut et ecrivit sous son nom James Morris jusqu'en 1972, annee ou elle a change de sexe.
As one of Britain's best and most-loved travel writers, Jan Morris has led an extraordinary life. Perhaps her most remarkable work is this grippingly honest account of her ten-year transition from man to woman - its pains and joys, its frustrations and discoveries. On first publication in 1974, the book generated enormous interest around the world, and was chosen by The Times as one of the '100 Key Books of Our Time'.
The battleship Yamato, of the Imperial Japanese Navy, wasthe most powerful warship of World War II and representedthe climax, as it were, of the Japanese warrior traditions of thesamurai - the ideals of honour, discipline, and self-sacrificethat had immemorially ennobled the Japanese nationalconsciousness. Stoically poised for battle in the spring of1945 - when even Japan's last desperate technique of arms,the kamikaze, was running short - Yamato arose as thelast magnificent arrow in the imperial quiver of EmperorHirohito.Here, Jan Morris not only tells the dramatic story of themagnificent ship itself - from secret wartime launch to futilesacrifice at Okinawa - but, more fundamentally, interprets theship as an allegorical figure of war itself, in its splendour andits squalor, its heroism and its waste. Drawing on rich navalhistory and rhapsodic metaphors from international musicand art, Battleship Yamato is a work of grand ironic elegy.
Considerata una dintre cele mai frumoase descrieri ale Venetiei din toate timpurile, cartea lui Jan Morris ne propune o incursiune in viata acestui oras unic in lume. Temperamentul locuitorilor, canalele si podurile, palatele, turistii, mirosurile, sunetele, luminile si culorile sunt explorate in cursul unui periplu care ne poarta prin toate coltisoarele orasului si lagunei, dar si prin istoria lor milenara. O carte care le va trezi amintiri pline de nostalgie celor care au vizitat Venetia, iar celor care inca nu au ajuns acolo, dorinta arzatoare de a o vedea.
Often hailed as one of the best travel books ever written, Venice is neither a guide nor a history book, but a beautifully written immersion in Venetian life and character, set against the background of the city's past. Analysing the particular temperament of Venetians, as well as its waterways, its architecture, its bridges, its tourists, its curiosities, its smells, sounds, lights and colours, there is scarcely a corner of Venice that Jan Morris has not investigated and brought vividly to life. Jan Morris first visited the city of Venice as young James Morris, during World War II. As she writes in the introduction, 'it is Venice seen through a particular pair of eyes at a particular moment - young eyes at that, responsive above all to the stimuli of youth.' Venice is an impassioned work on this magnificent but often maddening city. Jan Morris's collection of travel writing and reportage spans over five decades and includes such titles as Sydney, Coronation Everest, Hong Kong, Spain and Manhattan '45. Since its first publication, Venice has appeared in many editions, won the W.H. Heinemann award and become an international bestseller. 'The best book about Venice ever written' Sunday Times 'No sensible visitor should visit the place without it . . . Venice stands alone as the essential introduction, and as a work of literature in its own right.' Observer
The second instalment of the Pax Britannica Trilogy by Jan Morris, recreates the British Empire at its dazzling climax - the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897, celebrated as a festival of imperial strength, unity, and splendour. This classic work of history portrays a nation at the very height of its vigour and self-satisfaction, imposing on the rest of the world its traditions and tastes, its idealists and rascals. The Pax Britannica Trilogy also includes Heaven's Command: An Imperial Progress and Farewell the Trumpets: An Imperial Retreat. Together these three works of history trace the dramatic rise and fall of the British Empire, from the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837 to the death of Winston Churchill in 1965. Jan Morris is world-renowned for her collection of travel writing and reportage, spanning over five decades and including such titles as Venice, Coronation Everest, Hong Kong, Spain, A Writer's World and most recently, Contact! 'In scholarship and humour this portrait of the British Empire before its decline and fall might, without undue optimism, be placed upon the same shelf as Edward Gibbon's history. As a survey of its subject, I doubt that Pax Britannica can ever, in this generation be surpassed.' Financial Times
Jan Morris tells the epic story of the rise of the British Empire, from the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837 to her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. In this celebrated masterwork she vividly evokes every aspect of the 'great adventure', ranging from ships and botanical gardens to hill stations and sugar plantations, as she traces the impact of empire on places as diverse as Sierra Leone and Fiji, Zululand and the Canadian prairies. The Pax Britannica Trilogy also includes Pax Britannica: The Climax of an Empire and Farewell the Trumpets: An Imperial Retreat. Together, these three works of history trace the dramatic rise and fall of the British Empire, from the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837 to the death of Winston Churchill in 1965. Jan Morris is also world-renowned for her collection of travel writing and reportage, spanning over five decades and including such titles as Venice, Coronation Everest, Hong Kong, Spain, A Writer's World and most recently, Contact! 'How many professional historians can write books that give so much pleasure? This is a book planned by an architect, fitted together by a craftsman, and polished by a cabinet-maker.' Sunday Times