Loneliness and Time: British Travel Writing in the Twentieth Century by Mark Cocker
This is a mixture of biography, history and literary criticism which studies travel-writing as both a literary form and a cultural phenomenon. It focuses in particular on five writers - Harry St John Philby, Wilfred Thesiger, Laurens van der Post, Gavin Maxwell and the Himalayan explorer, Frederick Bailey - and analyzes the relationship between their lives and their works, identifying a number of key themes that recur in the experience of all the writers. The author posits the idea of the traveller as a social type and considers their role within British society. He also looks at the way in which foreign landscapes and their inhabitants have been used by British travel-writers as a source of image and fantasy, as well as a means to self-definition and as a vehicle to communicate their own literary and political vision. Mark Cocker's previous books include a biography of the soldier and naturalist, Richard Meinertzhagen.