Friday, October 15, 2010

Collecting The Broadway Travellers

The Broadway Travellers is a book series published by George Routledge & Sons, London, between 1926 and 1937.  The Series, edited by Sir E. Denison Ross and Eileen Power, included 26 titles (a number were simultaneously published by Robert McBride, New York and Harper Brother, New York under the series name, The Argonauts Series and The Broadway Travellers respectively).  Five additional works were planned for publication but were never realized.

The great age of travel and exploration from the 14th century to the 19th generated numerous travellers’ records as well as records and experiences of the traders of the great Silk Road.  The Broadway Travellers made available editions of these classic works of that great age of travel and exploration. These editions of classic translations, often the first english translation, were edited and sometimes abridged from the original edition.  Neither poses a problem as the first English translations, even in 1926 were out of the finanical reach of interested readers and the new editions were targeted to the reader of the day (are still relevant today). 

My first introduction to the Series came with the acquistion of The Travels of an Alchemist:  The Journey of the Taoist Ch’ang Ch’un from China to the Hindukush at the Summons of Chingiz Khan.  Translated, with an Introduction, by Arthur Waley.  [The Taoist doctor left some of the most faithful and vivid pictures ever drawn of nature and society between the Aral and the Yellow Sea.]  {Published by George Routledge & Sons, 1931, Broadway House, Carter Lane, London. With 1 map.} 

This is a fascinating read and while available now via Print on Demand or Google Books, reading this edition just seems to connect the timelessness of the content with the importance of keeping this content alive.   While I acquired this for my collection of books about alchemy, I became so intrigued by the series that I am have put together a complete list of the titles published in the series. Perhaps you too will find a must have.

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