A portrait in her own words of the female Lawrence of Arabia, the subject of the PBS documentary Letters from Baghdad, voiced by Tilda Swinton, and the major motion picture Queen of the Desert, starring Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Damian Lewis, and Robert Pattinson and directed by Werner Herzog
Gertrude Bell was leaning in 100 years before Sheryl Sandberg. One of the great woman adventurers of the twentieth century, she turned her back on Victorian society to study at Oxford and travel the world, and became the chief architect of British policy in the Middle East after World War I. Mountaineer, archaeologist, Arabist, writer, poet, linguist, and spy, she dedicated her life to championing the Arab cause and was instrumental in drawing the borders that define today’s Middle East.
As she wrote in one of her letters, “It’s a bore being a woman when you are in Arabia.” Forthright and spirited, opinionated and playful, and deeply instructive about the Arab world, this volume brings together Bell’s letters, military dispatches, diary entries, and travel writings to offer an intimate look at a woman who shaped nations.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,800 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
This tantalizing collection of excerpts from letters, diaries, and other assorted publications provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of Gertrude Lowthian Bell (1868 1926), one of England's most famous adventurers. Biographer Howell (Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations) grounds the selections with a family chronology and a narrative introduction of Bell's unconventional Victorian life. Bell's own words, especially when presented in generously sized selections, showcase a personality and intellect that glittered like the sun-drenched Arabian sands. An Arabist and linguist, she developed a facility for six languages, including Arabic and Persian skills that allowed her to write fine translations of Persian poetry. But mostly Bell was an adventurer, and readers will accompany her on some of her most daring exploits: climbing the Swiss Alps, journeying through the Syrian desert, and digging for archeological treasure in Iraq. She documented and mapped her travels for the British Foreign Office information that became crucial with the outbreak of WWI in 1914 and worked at the Arab Intelligence Bureau in Cairo with T.E. Lawrence, aiming to rebuild the Arab world with repercussions that would reach far into the next century. This is a nifty little volume that illuminates a remarkable life. Maps.