Contemptuous of Europe's 'civilising mission' in Africa, Mary Kingsley's (1862-1900) extraordinary journeys through tropical west Africa are a remarkable record, both of a world which has vanished and of a writer and explorer of immense bravery, wit and humanity. Paddling through mangrove swamps, fending off crocodiles, climbing Mount Cameroon, Kingsley is both admirable aContemptuous of Europe's 'civilising mission' in Africa, Mary Kingsley's (1862-1900) extraordinary journeys through tropical west Africa are a remarkable record, both of a world which has vanished and of a writer and explorer of immense bravery, wit and humanity. Paddling through mangrove swamps, fending off crocodiles, climbing Mount Cameroon, Kingsley is both admirable and funny....
|Title||:||The Congo and the Cameroons|
|Number of Pages||:||114 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Congo and the Cameroons Reviews
This is a great little excerpt book. Kingsley is a fascinating woman, well ahead of her time, and she writes very entertainingly. It is hard to believe the original book was published in 1897.The book covers her travels through modern Gabon and her ascent of Mt Cameroon.There is some wonderful writing with this book.The rocks are covered with moss and ferns, and the mist curling and wandering about among the stems is very lovely. I have to pause in life's pleasures because I want to measure one of the large earthworms, which, with smaller sealing-wax-red worms, are crawling about. He was eleven inches and three quarters. He detained me some time getting this information, because he was so nervous during this operation. P50.My men shouted to me above the roar that it was a 'bad place'. They never give me half the credit I deserve for seeing danger, and they said "Water all go for hole down there, we fit to go too suppose we fall.' 'Don't fall,' I yelled which was the only good advice I could think of to give them just then. P112.
Suuuper colonial Africa. Mary Kingsley is hilarious, and her observations about the nature around her are fascinating. Only three stars because as can be expected from Victorian Colonial literature, there's a lot of racism about the people hauling her supplies up a mountain. As I said, entirely expected, but not something I want to read.
Lovely book with beautiful language and such picturesque descriptions! I imagine Tolkien read this book and took her description of the Cameroon mountain for his land of Mirkwood.
Kingsley is an author I had not previously heard of and the brief introduction to this volume was not particularly enlightening. As for the text itself, like others in the Great Journeys series it consists of short excerpts from books by the author.Kingsley's archaic and ponderous prose style takes some getting used to for a modern reader, but the book does benefit from her witty descriptions and amusing anecdotes concerning her travels in Africa. Her gift for light comedy comes across clearly, though it is interesting for a modern audience how she characterises Africans as childlike buffoons. Apparently she travelled to Africa as an anthropologist and was sympathetic to local customs to some degree, but also subscribed to some aspects of the notion of the 'civilising mission' of Colonialism. It could be the case that these excerpts do not give the full picture of the whole works they are taken from but without the benefit of detailed notes on this in the book, it is impossible to tell if this is the case or not.Quite enjoyable to read though not the greatest in the series, it is worth a look if you are interested in aspects of colonial Africa in the 19th century. A more detailed introduction and the addition of footnotes would have made for a superior production.
2010 bookcrossing review:These aren't the longest of reads =). This one was pretty interesting, and a good read; very descriptive - I really got an image of the African mountains and mangroves in my mind from this little book.This one is from the late 1800s, and from one of the few female adventurers in this collection. It's kind of amazing that this young woman went off travelling into Africa on her own and coped with it all. Impressive. There's a couple of short chapters in here, one about the mangroves along the west coast around the equator, and one about seeing elephants and gorillas. But the bulk of this book is about her hiking expedition up Mount Mungo in the Cameroons. The weather is tough, scorching sun or thrashing rain. There's one brief description which evokes how much she suffered from the sun, saying that her face is a pain, and like a mask, and everytime she moves it cracks and starts bleeding. A case of very bad sunburn.The very brief biography at the start is interesting as well. It mentions that she made three trips to Africa, and ended up dying on the third, aged only 37.
MHK was obviously a bit of a lass, roaming around West Africa in the years before 1900. This little book features her writing on the mangrove swamps typical of the final reaches of the great African rivers, describing an ecology based on death and decay, and the dangers of turning tides and being marooned in crocodile country.Two thirds of the book deal with an ascent she made of Mount Cameroon at an unseasonable time of the year, gain a mist shrouded peak and become one of the first Europeans to have achieved that.She is not particularly though when it comes to her dealings with the Africans who carry her equipment and strike camp for her. She writes of child-like buffoonery, with her boys falling asleep with their heads in the embers of cooking fires and their noisome arguments about shirts and trousers. This is only a selection from her larger book, but I don't expect that will provide any critical insights into life in the European colonies.
An enjoyable but short book (I believe this "book" is in actual fact a short extract from her 1897 book "Travels in West Africa") full of the obvious charms, humour, but also the colonial prejudices of Victorian-era exploration yarns. I'm particularly interested in Cameroon so this was very interesting on that front. I would also recommend doing a little digging into the fascinating and inspiring life of Mary Kingsley.
Loved this short introduction to Mary Kingsley, she writes with such a modern voice and tone. Evocative description. Kingsley is feisty and funny and reading this made me want to read her work in full. I absolutely love penguin's great journeys series it has allowed me to sample the work of some wonderful historic travellers and the reading experience of these books is not just one of spatial travel but of time travel. An excellent series and this title is very definitely an excellent read.