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The Travels of Marco Polo (1928)

by Marco Polo, Rusticiano da Pisa (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,850362,252 (3.57)83
A sparkling new translation of one of the greatest travel books ever written- Marco Polo's seminal account of his journeys in the east. Marco Polo was the most famous traveller of his time. His voyages began in 1271 with a visit to China, after which he served the Kublai Khan on numerous diplomatic missions. On his return to the West he was made a prisoner of war and met Rustichello of Pisa, with whom he collaborated on this book. His account of his travels offers a fascinating glimpse of what he encountered abroad- unfamiliar religions, customs and societies; the spices and silks of the East; the precious gems, exotic vegetation and wild beasts of faraway lands. Evoking a remote and long-vanished world with colour and immediacy, Marco's book revolutionized western ideas about the then unknown East and is still one of the greatest travel accounts of all time. For this edition - the first completely new English translation of the Travels in over fifty years - Nigel Cliff has gone back to the original manuscript sources to produce a fresh, authoritative new version. The volume also contains invaluable editorial materials, including an introduction describing the world as it stood on the eve of Polo's departure, and examining the fantastical notions the West had developed of the East.… (more)
  1. 40
    The Travels of Ibn Battutah by Ibn Battutah (bookwoman247)
    bookwoman247: Both men traveled extensively in Medeival times. It's interesting to compare the two; one from a Western perspective, and one from a Middle Eastern /North African perspective.
  2. 10
    Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino (Jannes, Jannes)
  3. 10
    El libro de Marco Polo by Marco Polo (caflores)
  4. 00
    Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu by Laurence Bergreen (JGolomb)
  5. 01
    The Journeyer by Gary Jennings (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Jennings tells 'the rest of the story' in this fictional work.
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» See also 83 mentions

English (29)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  Hungarian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Phew, finished it! My first comment would be that I had the cheapo Wordsworth Classics version, with minimal notes, and had to have computer going whole time to reference the places and people mentioned (most place names have changed hugely since thew 1200s) If you're planning to read it, DO get a better version!
It IS actually pretty interesting- to be transported into such an ancient, remote world by a European. In 3 (or in some versions 4) volumes, the reader is transported into the Polos' adventures.
Vol 1 starts with Marco's father and uncle taking off for a trading venture to Constantinople (leaving the pregnant wife of former in Venice)...and somehow just keeping going and ending up in Beijing with Kublai Khan. When they finally go home, the wife is dead and the unborn babe a 19 year old youth! They soon resume their travels with young Marco in tow. And here I'd have loved more info on the people involved- what was the motivation? Adventure, money (living gratis at the Great Khan's court)? Or missionary zeal? (The Khan wanted to learn more of the Church of Rome)? Vol 1 continues with short chapters on many places of Iran, Central Asia etc.
Vol 2 is given up to China, where they were based. Kublai Khan is treated with utter awe and respect; Marco is sent by him on various missions throughout the kingdom and continues the reports, many pretty samey and dull. Apparently Marco never actually got to many of the places included and relies on information from others.
Vol 3 takes us into SE Asia, Japan, Java, India, Zanzibar etc, as Marco is sent further afield. Those mongols surely did control,a ginormous realm!
And latter Vol 3(or Vol 4) focusses on battles between warring Mongol factions- uncle against nephew etc-through Turkey and beyond.
It's quite a read...interesting (somewhat) . ( )
  starbox | Apr 15, 2020 |
Reprint. Third volume of set originally a separate title (London : John Murray, 1920). 3 v. ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 20, 2020 |
Fact or fiction? As once the most well-travelled man in the world, who would contradict Marco Polo? When, 750 years or so ago, he told the West of his travels through a thousand lands and cities between Venice and the farthest East. Of an Oriental city with 12000 bridges, where dogs are eaten, and paper used is money, of unicorns, enchanters, of Xanadu, and Kublai Khan who rules a third of the earth, exotic manners and customs, of deserts filled with spirits, and on an island in the Arabian sea colossal eagles that pick up elephants and dash them to the earth.
Part of the poetic license is excused by the nature of this work’s recording. While imprisoned, Marco Polo narrated his adventures to a famous travelling romance writer, Rusticello, who had the good fortune to be sharing the same prison, and jotted them down. So the stories were embellished along the way, and blame for any exaggeration can at least be shared.
As an historical record then it cannot all be taken at face value, however considering that there is no evidence of anyone from the West travelling as widely as Marco Polo did until about 100 years ago, this remains a unique document of considerable historical interest. Albeit one that must be interpreted with caution. For pure entertainment however, this is difficult to surpass as far as historical travel writings are concerned. There is also a lot of material of interest in terms of history, culture, anthropology, sociology, and politics. By reading this we see the many ways in which societies can be structured, and the many permutations, real or fictitious, that humans can create. ( )
  P_S_Patrick | Nov 14, 2019 |
This is one of the most famous travel narratives in history, and probably the most famous from Medieval Europe. Its significance in opening up educated European minds to countries and cultures way outside their experience can hardly be overstated ("what really seems to have shocked Marco’s audience was his detailed depiction of entire civilizations that were completely unknown to them. This was a world where express messengers sped letters by foot, horse and dog-sled across thousands of miles in a matter of days, and where banknotes were legal tender when paper was barely known in the West;") He re-opened up knowledge of Asia lost since before the rise of Islam and was the first Westerner to describe the existence of Japan. Of course, his account is also spiced with myths and legends about fabulous beasts such as gryphons and legendary figures such as the fabled eastern Christian ruler Prester John. Polo was inevitably affected by the assumptions of his time, for example in believing Christianity superior to all other belief systems, but nevertheless remains remarkably open to other cultures and experiences. I thought this was particularly evident in the chapter on India, one of his less well known journeys, which was less relatively less repetitive and censorious than some of the others. Despite the book's intrinsic significance and interest, it is very repetitive in places, with very similar or even near identical descriptions applied to numerous city states in what is now China, or the other territories in the vast and sprawling Mongol Empire (its founder Genghis Khan, the grandfather of Marco Polo's patron Kubhlai Khan, conquered more land than anyone else in history in founding the world's largest empire on a single land mass). He is very fond of stock phrases about idolators, paper money, subjects of the Great Khan, and cities having all the necessities of life in abundance. Rhetorical devices such as "What else shall I tell you?" and "Why make a long story of it?" pepper the narrative. All this said, we don't know exactly how much of this narrative was written by Polo himself, a combination of curious traveller and hard-headed businessman, or by his co-writer Rustichello of Pisa, a professional romance writer whom Polo met in prison in Genoa in the late 1290s, after Polo had been captured in the conflict between that city state and his home city of Venice. What we do know is that nearly all of the places Polo mentioned in his book have been identified and he undoubtedly undertook his travels as he said (some sceptics have occasionally doubted the fundamental truth of his account because of his errors or omissions). Rightly a landmark of European literature. ( )
  john257hopper | May 26, 2019 |
In 1271, at the tender age of 17, Marco Polo set off with his father on a 24-year tour of Asia. A few years later, while imprisoned, he related tales of these amazing travels to a fellow inmate who put pen to paper and published them.

One can't help while reading to imagine what it might have been like to be the first European visiting such exotic places! Despite its age, The Travels of Marco Polo is surprisingly accessible to 21st-century readers. The narrative is casual, almost conversational. Polo's observations about the many peoples and cultures he meets are often quite amusing, though occasionally repetitive. His commentary is also at times racist regarding a culture's inferiority and then alternately praiseworthy of another's superiority to that of Europeans. I was fortunate to get my hands on the library's last remaining copy of an illustrated edition, which included colorful maps and attractive photographs of places, artwork and artifacts. It's a shame that this edition is now out of print.

"They are idolaters and have a peculiar language." – pretty much every new Asian culture Polo encounters ( )
  ryner | Apr 26, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (131 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Polo, MarcoAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rusticiano da PisaAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Armiño, MauroEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Øye, AgneteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Badel, Pierre-YvesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bellonci, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bertolucci Pizzorusso, Valeriasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blay, Frédéric LeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bringsværd, Tor ÅgePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Camesasca, EttoreEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cardona, Giorgio RaimondoContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carrera Díaz, ManuelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Corbino, JonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Della Valle, ValeriaAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dwiggins, W. A.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Friston, Adrian deIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Göransson, G.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gemme, Francis R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gordon, WitoldIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guignard, EliseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, PeterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Joki, Aulis J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jonckheere, KarelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Komroff, ManuelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lapshin, Nikolai FodorovitchIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Latham, RonaldEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malvano, Maria VittoriaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marsden, WilliamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Masefield, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moule, Arthur ChristopherEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Painter, Douglas M.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ricci, AldoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ronchi, GabriellaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rossabi, MorrisEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rugoff, MiltonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Segre, CesareForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strizzi, SergioPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
t'Serstevens, AlbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tusseau, Jean-PierreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waugh, TeresaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Witold, GordonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, ThomasEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yerasimos, StéphaneEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yule, HenryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I am a name
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much Have I seen and known, cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all.

Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
First words
The Venetian Marco Polo is not only the most renowned traveler in world history, but he and his book have generated more speculation then almost any other person or volume in world literature.
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A sparkling new translation of one of the greatest travel books ever written- Marco Polo's seminal account of his journeys in the east. Marco Polo was the most famous traveller of his time. His voyages began in 1271 with a visit to China, after which he served the Kublai Khan on numerous diplomatic missions. On his return to the West he was made a prisoner of war and met Rustichello of Pisa, with whom he collaborated on this book. His account of his travels offers a fascinating glimpse of what he encountered abroad- unfamiliar religions, customs and societies; the spices and silks of the East; the precious gems, exotic vegetation and wild beasts of faraway lands. Evoking a remote and long-vanished world with colour and immediacy, Marco's book revolutionized western ideas about the then unknown East and is still one of the greatest travel accounts of all time. For this edition - the first completely new English translation of the Travels in over fifty years - Nigel Cliff has gone back to the original manuscript sources to produce a fresh, authoritative new version. The volume also contains invaluable editorial materials, including an introduction describing the world as it stood on the eve of Polo's departure, and examining the fantastical notions the West had developed of the East.

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