The Journals of a Victorian Traveller
by Martin Laurie
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 28 Jun 2020 | Archive Date 19 Aug 2020
The Book Guild, Book Guild Publishing
The Journals of a Victorian Traveller contains the transcribed and edited journals of Julia Biddulph who travelled the world with her husband during the last two decades of the 19th Century. The journals had remained unread since being rescued from the ruins of a bombed house in Canterbury during the Second World War.
Julia Biddulph was a daughter of the Empire; her husband was a soldier and Political Agent in India. Julia’s first journey to India in the 1860s had taken seven weeks. Within thirty years she records her record voyage from Charing Cross, London to Bombay in thirteen days and six hours. She had a great enthusiasm for life and preferred to take part, rather than watch from the side-lines, which would have been the easy option for ladies in similar circumstances to her own. The book is first-hand history; Julia records in her journals her day-to-day life from 140 years ago, some of the events that she witnessed would hardly seem possible, or even acceptable in today’s world.
A Note From the Publisher
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 13 members
It was an interesting read as it helped me to understand more about Victorian people and their attitude. Even if it's a bit slow at times it's engrossing. The descriptions of people and places were fascinating. Recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but having read several fictional books set in around this era, I thought it would be interesting to read a factual account. I found the sections in Australia, Japan and America to be the most interesting. Here, Julia writes in long passages rather than short entries of only a few sentences. The section in India after she marries (which was in the first half) was rather dull, just continual moving about and hunting expeditions. In spite of the warning at the beginning of the book, all the killing of animals and birds was the most horrible thing. I think people who have a stronger interest in the era (mine is only mild), and an awareness perhaps of some of the important figures, may find this far more fascinating than I did. Most of the notes added by the editor (I’m not sure this is the correct term) were interesting, but I did find a few of them excessive. For example, writing [sic] every time Julia writes verandah became irritating - we get it, she spells it differently! Especially when he already made very clear that he copied it out exactly as Julia wrote. I definitely enjoyed reading this real life account by a female Victorian traveller, it was very relaxing. I was given a free copy of this book, my opinions are my own.
This is a type of book which depends (beside writing) also on graphic form of the book. I like Victorian times and travelling, so the conjuction of both is really fascinating. These journals was discovered by great-great-grand nephew of Julia Biddulph, wife of British resident John Biddulph who worked in India on behalf on Queen Victoria (you can find him and a lot of other people easily on the internet. That is the part of fascination). Julia & John travelled a lot of years through India, later also east Asia, Japan, USA and Canada (and certainly many more countries). First half of the book is rather dull with short entries which can be pardoned because they had to slept in camps and move almost every day to somewhere else. It had to be tiring. The second half is much more interesting with long entries about places, people and curiosities they saw while travelling around the world. I've googled a lot of to see what they saw. It was peculiar to read about prices compared to today's times (10£ in hotel for 2 1/2 days was quite expensive). I'd like to see how finish copy of the book looks like because that would be part of the its charm. Will there be (hopefully) more photos? I'd like to see a map of their travels in India/world because in 19th century it was obviously more difficult to travel the world. (I'm still going to google some map of their travels by myself). also I found some typos in the book (don't know if you know already about them, but just to be sure): p. 19 - 26th, Sir" - the comma is in the upper index instead of the bottom line p. 57 - "Though their camps were very comfortable, .........even months on end could become very trying." surely it was not tiring?