Persian Pictures: From the Mountains to the Sea
Gertrude Bell's fascinating account of a lifetime of travel and a lifelong enchantment of Persia.
'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 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.
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