Tuesday, 25 March 2008
The Silent Traveller
Another find in Scriveners secondhand books of Buxton - The Silent Traveller in Oxford by Chiang Lee, from sometime in the 50's. Also in the series are The Yorkshire Dales (which I'd love to see) and a zoo one for kids which I found a copy of but was very disappointed by.
I've not read any of the text, but the illustrations make it quite clear what it's about - a Chinese artist exploring Oxford in drawings and observations. Some of the spot illustrations look as if they might accompany any typical Chinese poem, story or text-
- but then browsing through we start to see all the specifically English and Oxfordian characters and scenes -
One even serves to demonstrate to the reader how he is often mistaken for cinema's famous Chinese dectective (or more likely pointed and stared at). He graciously acknowledges a passing resemblance whilst pointing out clear differences -
The book would be delightful enough with just these black and white drawings dotted every 5 or 6 pages, but then turning the page you find the most amazing sumptuous scenes, all unarguably English but rendered in his intricate and delicate Chinese style, skewed perspectives and all -