Sunday, December 05, 2004

From The Times (London)
Directions: Books of the week
Anthony Sattin

The Cruise of the Vanadis by Edith Wharton (Bloomsbury £16.99)
Literary discoveries often come about through luck — a chance find of a bundle of papers in an attic or an auction catalogue. Claudine Lesage made hers in the municipal library in Hyères, southern France, where she found an unpublished typescript describing a journey made by the American writer Edith Wharton.

Wharton is best known as the Pulitzer-winning author of novels such as The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth, but she also wrote about her travels — In Morocco, an account of a journey made at the end of the first world war, has just been reissued (Tauris Parke Paperbacks £8.99). There was no account, however, of Wharton’s first venture into the Mediterranean, in 1888, when, at 26, Wharton, with her husband and some friends, sailed from Marseilles to Algiers, where they chartered a yacht.

Sailing through the Mediterranean spring, they visited Tunis and Malta, went on to Sicily and Corfu, cruised through the Cyclades to Rhodes, then back through the islands to Athens and on along the Dalmatian coast.

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