THE VIRAGO BOOK OF WOMEN TRAVELLERS
MARY MORRIS, EDITOR
With Larry O'Connor
544pp. Virago. 14.99 [pounds sterling].
In the introduction to this anthology, Mary Morris (no relation) writes that "women's literature from Austen to Woolf is by and large a literature about waiting, usually for love". The writers selected here are the ones who didn't wait: they set out, by boat or bicycle, camel or dugout canoe, and sought their own adventures. The collection covers some 300 years of travel writing, beginning with the extraordinary Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), who had just--scandalously--made the journey from London to Constantinople alone, and finishing with the American writer Leila Philip, an apprentice potter in early 1980s Japan, learning the art of harvesting rice by...