Toynbee’s travel books

January 7 2009

They are:

The Western Question in Greece and Turkey, A Study in the Contact of Civilizations, Constable, 1922

In part a travel book. Longer than the others, at over four hundred pages. Based on his second visit to Turkey, between January 15 (Athens) and December 16 (Constantinople), reporting on the Greco-Turkish war for The Manchester Guardian. For some reason, The Manchester Guardian, Guardian and Observer online archives (you need library accreditation) do not show, and Susan Morton’s bibliography of Toynbee (mentioned here) does not list, the articles. Were they unsigned? The book says nothing except that he was writing for The Manchester Guardian.

A Journey to China, or Things Which Are Seen, Constable, 1931

The book of a journey to Japan and back (via China, pace the title) between July 23 1929 and January 29 1930. Toynbee tells us which sections had appeared in Asia (of New York), The Atlantic Monthly (of Boston), The Contemporary Review (of London), The Economist, The Manchester Guardian, and The Nation and Athenaeum. They amount to most of the book.

Morton lists some, perhaps all, of the original articles. The Guardian online archive has some of the relevant material, I haven’t checked whether all. When quoting from this book, I say “probably” when referring to unseen newspapers or journals. I am usually quoting only part of a chapter, so it is always possible that that part had not appeared in them.

East to West, A Journey Round the World, OUP, 1958

The book of a journey round the world which started on February 20 1956 and ended on August 3 1957. Toynbee tells us in a Preface that it is

a collection of articles, written en route, for The Observer. [...] I am most grateful to the editor for the permission to republish the articles in a book.

Judging from Morton, most of this book did not appear in The Observer, though the articles were written for The Observer. But Toynbee’s numerous articles for the Observer Foreign News Service between 1956 and ’74, listed separately by Morton, do seem, in 1956 and ’57, to have included most or all of the material for the book. These articles were syndicated to newspapers throughout the world. She does not trace the publications which took them up.

Not all the parts that, according to her, were published in The Observer show up in the supposedly complete online archive of The Observer and The Guardian. They would not have been unsigned at this date. Does the archive show anything not mentioned by Morton? Do Morton’s lists include material from this journey which did not find its way into the book?

Toynbee doesn’t say that the articles were revised when they were printed in book form in 1958. Fact-checking en route cannot have been easy. The Observer, and OUP subsequently, could have done more. I have looked at one of the Observer pieces, The Legend That Died (February 17 1957). It appears in the book in identical form, except for different paragraphing, as Past and Future in Japan.

Between Oxus and Jumna, OUP, 1961

Based on a journey to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan from February 19 to July 1 1960. Nothing is said in the book about previous newspaper or magazine publication. Morton lists one or two articles, including Observer syndications, which clearly derive from the journey, but nothing to suggest that the book was based on journalism.

Between Niger and Nile, OUP, 1965

Based on visits to the United Arab Republic from December 2 to 22 1961, Morocco from June 6 to 13 1962, and Nigeria, the Sudan, Ethiopia, the United Arab Republic and Libya from February 19 to April 22 1964. Toynbee writes in a Preface:

Most of the articles collected in this volume were written originally for the Observer News Service.

See again Morton’s tentative list of the OFNS syndicated articles.

Between Maule and Amazon, OUP, 1967

The Maule had been the southern frontier of the Inca Empire. It runs east to west a little more than halfway down Chile. Most of the book describes travels in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile in 1966. There are also impressions of places beyond the Amazon: Mexico in 1953, Guatemala in 1958, Puerto Rico in 1962, Venezuela in 1963. Nothing is said about previous publication, but at least part of the content had been syndicated by the Observer Foreign News Service.

All the travel books except the last two contain detailed itineraries. Some Problems of Greek History, OUP, 1969 contains an itinerary of his wanderings in Greece and Turkey in 1911-12. I am synthesising the five itineraries and information from other sources in a “page” (link on the left) called Itinerary. This is work in progress.

East to West, A Journey Round the World, OUP, 1958

Between Niger and Nile, OUP, 1965

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