ORIENTAL ACQUAINTANCE: Scarce Account of an American Traveler in the Middle East
De Forest, J[ohn] W[illiam]. ORIENTAL ACQUAINTANCE; OR, LETTERS FROM SYRIA. New York: Dix, Edwards, & Co., 1856. 12mo. [viii], 285 pages plus  pages publisher's ads at rear dated Sept. 1, 1856. Original embossed dark purple cloth with gilt-stamped spine. [18.5 cm.] Spine sun-faded and with shallow chips to ends, light spotting to cloth, wear to corners with small areas of the boards showing. Light scattered foxing. Good plus.
FIRST EDITION. The author's second book. A sometimes humorous account of De Forest's travels in Ottoman Syria in the 1850's. Unlike many contemporary Western accounts of the Holy Land, the book emphasizes realistic descriptions of daily life, rather than observations of ancient relics, and the author is plainly critical of pilgrims and their reverence for sacred monuments. De Forest first visited Syria for health reasons in the 1840's and later returned to spend several years with his brother, a missionary. He includes descriptions of Smyrna, Rhodes, Beirut, Mount Lebanon, and Jerusalem.
"One of the more entertaining nineteenth-century American treatments of the Middle East." --Brian Yothers, Romance of the Holy Land in American Travel Writing, p. 88.
"A pleasantly written book descriptive of persons and scenes encountered in his travels." --Smith, American Travelers Abroad, D36.
John William De Forest (1826-1906), a native of Connecticut, wrote several novels, of which the best remembered is "Miss Ravenel's Conversion from Secession to Loyalty" (1867). He also published a history, one other travelogue, and contributed extensively to periodicals. His articles on the Civil War and Reconstruction, based on his Union service and his work for the Freedman's Bureau, were posthumously published in two books.
Scarce in the trade. BAL 4600.
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