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Cocking, Ben (2011)
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: PR
Eric Newby’s A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush (1958) ends with an account of an apparently chance meeting in 1956 on a mountain side with Wilfred Thesiger. The account is, in many respects, typical of Newby’s style, witty, well observed and self-deprecating. By contrast, Thesiger’s account of this meeting in Among the Mountains (1998) is characteristically more serious in tone and is somewhat dismissive of Newby’s endeavours. Their meeting has been perceived as a symbolic encounter between traditional travel writing and an emergent, modern form with their authorial personas seen as representing forms of postwar “imperialist nostalgia”. However, a comparison of these books reveals inconsistencies and variations in the authorial personas they portray and to which others have ascribed to them. In so doing, this paper aims to examine the extent to which “imperialist nostalgia” is manifest in their work. Whilst the term usefully helps situate Newby and Thesiger in a postwar context, the differences and instability of this theme in A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush and Among the Mountains warrants further exploration.
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