Past Perfect: Itching to Sojourn in Tiberias
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Alexander William Kinglake (1809–1891) was born in Somerset, England. He practiced law and served 11 years in the House of Commons, but his wealth and position in society led to a desire to travel abroad. He toured the Levant in 1844. Kinglake’s account of that journey, Eothen (“Towards the East,” 1849), changed the way travelogues were written. He didn’t set down facts and figures, or relate every place or ruin that he saw. He wrote a flowing narrative of only the experiences that struck his fancy in the casual manner of a long letter to his friend British novelist Eliot Warburton, who also wrote travelogues. Kinglake’s writing is full of irony and humor but also reflects a pompous air. His Victorian superiority comes across quite well as he relates his trip through the Galilee:

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