Book review : A Jerusalem Anthology

A Jerusalem Anthology
Travel writing though Centuries
Edited by T.J G0rton and Andree Feghali Gorton
Published by AUC
ISBN 9789774188420
Price £11.99 paperback

Jerusalem has a special status as a city that is both terrestrial and celestial. The name includes a cognate for ‘peace, ‘ but the old stones of the city have witnessed epic bloodshed and destruction over the centuries. The three great monotheistic religions all regard it with especial fervour, and it has for at least two millennia attracted pilgrims intent on seeing it before they die. This rich and compelling anthology of travellers’ writings attempts to convey something of the diverse experiences of visitors to this most complex and enigmatic of cities. A Jerusalem Anthology takes us on a journey through a city, not just of illusion and powerful accumulated religious emotion, but of colours, lights, smells, and sounds, an inhabited city as it was directly experienced and lived in through the ages. Memoirs of visitors such as as sixth-century AD pilgrim Saint Silvia of Bordeaux, medieval Jerusalemite al-Muqaddasi, Grand Tour voyagers Gustave Flaubert and Alexander Kinglake, the humorous Mark Twain, or the cynical T.E. Lawrence provide vivid and sometimes disturbing vignettes of the Holy City at very different times in its tumultuous history.

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