Favell Lee Mortimer

Overall Rating: 5
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Author: Favell Lee Mortimer
Title: The Clumsiest People in Europe
Time: 1850s
Destination: the whole world
Length: as long as it takes
Type: …the powers of imagination?
Rating: 5/10

Angry old lady

[Please note: I have been reading a German edition that had been compiled from several of FLM’s previous books.]

The story: FLM writes about different places all over the world. She introduces us to strange customs and weird people, and doesn’t seem very fond of most the things she finds. No wonder – she has never really left her home in good old Victorian Britain in the first place!

prejudice after prejudice

Thus, her writing is full of prejudices, and it can be ridiculously hateful at times. So does this even count as a piece of travel literature? I think it does. And I’d like to base this decision on the feeble argument that we can never be sure that any travel writer has been anywhere. Take Marco Polo for example: many people believe that he made it all up. But does that make him less of a travel writer? Is FLM not making a “journey of the spirit” around the world – even if it is a rather vitriolic one?

Favell Lee Mortimer is hilarious

Travel literature or not, I found this book very amusing. It definitely tells us more about the wicked state of mind that this old lady was in, than it does about the places or the people she was trying to educate us about. And it is hilarious at times.

All in all, this one is easy and fun: 6/10.

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