Friday, April 10, 2009

An Australian in China Reprinted

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am not a fan of George Ernest Morrison – Morrison of Peking – though I enjoyed Linda Jaivin’s recent novelisation of his love life An Immoral Woman. Still, I think he was grossly overrated and just gets endlessly recycled as great without anyone reading his actual despatches. I argue as much in my forthcoming (June) book Through the Looking Glass: China’s Foreign Journalists From Opium Wars to Mao.

Still if you are going to read anything by Morrison then his earlier travelogue An Australian in China is probably best. When Morrison first arrived in China in 1894, he set out on what he described as “a quiet journey across China to Burma”. Dressed as a Chinese and engaging guides and servants as needed, he travelled by riverboat, sedan chair, mule, pony, and mostly on foot. In this book, Morrison describes his journey with the same vivid and precise vision that would later make him world-famous.

Nice to see it republished.


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