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The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton. Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review ‘s biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole.
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We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. The complete review ‘s Review:. Alain de Botton’s The Art of Alaon is again a book that combines literary, philosophical, and artistic speculations, as well as bits of biography and autobiography and applies these to a specific subject — in this case; travel, more or less.
De Botton specialises in this approach, indeed, it can be found in all his books, fiction or not. Well-read, with some artistic sensibility and a bit of a philosophical bent, de Botton generally makes an amusing if occasionally irritating guide.
After tackling Proust wellphilosophy badlyand love repeatedlytravel seems an appropriate subject, something the young and not quite jet-setting semi-intellectual is well suited for. In five sections, de Botton moves from Departure to Motives to Landscape to Fiajar to Return, offering for each but the last two reflective pieces, such as “On the Sublime”.
Each piece focusses on a specific place or severaland is considered through the refractive lens of some literary or artistic guide — Ruskin, Van Gogh, Edmund Burke, Edward Hopper, among others. And there are also many illustrations and photographs all, unfortunately, only in black and white: De Botton does nicely explore the strange thing that is travel — the desire to be elsewhere, the expectations and hopes, the reality, mind-journeys, etc.
He begins with a trip to the Caribbean, contrasting it nicely to Huysman’s des Esseintes a very unsuccessful travellerand captures the longings and disappointments of any travel-undertaking well. De Botton’s readers have it easier — they can just close the book when they’ve had their fill of him — but occasionally as one makes one’s way through the book one senses exactly how M.
Interestingly de Botton, always so keen to explore every detail, doesn’t pause to consider what it might mean that she is blocking him and the lovely beach out with her headphones and reading Durkheim. He remains focussed — nay, fixated entirely on himself. De Botton is also drawn to some quirky characters — travel-masters, of varying sorts — and he weaves them into his book, with varying degrees of success.
Dr nice contrast is world-traveller Alexander von Humboldt and Xavier de Maistre, best ds for his Voyage around my Room see our review with de Botton correctly pointing out that de Maistre — unlike the fictional des Esseintes — actually also had gotten around quite a bit in the world.
From Job to van Gogh, de Botton finds bits of biography and writing and art that he tries to apply to his subject.
Much of this is quite well done: In a sense The Art of Travel is more paean to art than travel. De Botton recognises and reminds readers that much of travel is uncomfortable, disappointing, and even boring.
A arte de viajar – Alain de Botton – Google Books
But, as he points out: Travel is much more arduous. De Botton even often emphasizes the simplest form of travel: Despite focussing on different parts of a journey and of the larger concept of travel, the book remains piecemeal. Art unifies the sections — and there is some narrative flow — but on the whole it could have done with a tighter structure. The very personal contemplation — de Botton’s I-experiences — also don’t work to best effect here.
Still, there’s a good deal of cleverness and fun to enjoy in The Art of Traveland readers not familiar with the figures de Botton introduces if you haven’t read Huysmans or de Maistre, for example will likely enjoy this cast of characters and, one hopes, eagerly pick up some of the books discussed. Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs.
The Art of Travel
The Art of Travel – US. The Art of Travel – UK. The Art of Travel – Canada. L’art du voyage – France. Die Kunst des Reisens – Deutschland. L’arte di viaggiare – Italia.