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Cover image for Laotian Pages translation by NIAS

Our excellent friend the superb Indonesian artist Sheila has completed the image for the cover of our upcoming translation of Alfred Raquez’s book of travel through Laos in 1900, Pages Laotiennes, to be published this year in a two volume set by NIAS Press as Laotian Pages.

The image uses Raquez’s postcard of Sao Si, one of the Laotian performers he brought to Marseille for the 1906 Colonial Exposition.

The building is based on the library at Wat Si Saket in Vientiane, which also was the model for the Laos Pavilion in Marseille in 1906 (see below).

The pattern on the woman’s sinh (the scarf) is based on a traditional textile pattern from Laos.

Amazing job, thank you Sheila!


Interview with WLG and PB redux

Awhile back, the website China Underground interviewed Paul and myself about our translation of In the Land of Pagodas (find it here:

Now the good folks at China Undergound have included that interview in their new digital magazine, which can be downloaded here:

Get it, dig it, feel it…then buy the book!


New Alfred Raquez article in Archipel

I am very pleased that my article and translations with Paul Bruthiaux of Alfred Raquez’s travels in Java are now published at Archipel, the leading journal in the field.

“Archipel is a journal of interdisciplinary studies on Insulindia (Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Timor-Leste), established in 1971, with a particular attention given to humanities.”

Check that out here:

Read an excerpt of the translation that was published in Indonesia Expat magazine awhile back, here:

APDP review in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Hong Kong

Esoteric, you betcha! Here’s the brief but positive review of our translation of Alfred Raquez’s Au Pays des Pagodes from the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Hong Kong….


In the Land of Pagodas: A Classic Account of Travel in Hong Kong, Macao,
Shanghai, Hubei, Hunan and Guizhou by Alfred Raquez edited and
translated by William L. Gibson and Paul Bruthiaux
Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2017, 530 pages with 5 maps and 56 b/w
illustrations. HB ISBN: 978-87-7694-201-4, US$90; PB ISBN: 978-87-
7694-202-1, US$33
(Reviewed by Colin Day)

This translation published by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies is
provided with a substantial introduction that tells us the material in the book
was originally published serially in 1898-99 in L’Echo de Chine: Journal des
Intérêts Français en Extrème-Orient, a weekly newspaper published in Shanghai.
It also tells us that the author using the pseudonym ‘Alfred Raquez’ was in
fact Joseph Gervais, a bankrupt, reprobate lawyer with a warrant out for his
arrest, who had fled France for the Far East in March 1898. Perhaps, with
such an author, one should not be surprised to find the writing lively and

Briefly, Raquez/Gervais travelled widely in China, as the subtitle of
his book suggests, and wrote daily reports that tell of his experiences and
more valuably convey his detailed observations of life and customs wherever
he went. His writing on Macao, for example, provides both a colourful
description of the city and its buildings and also of the people that he saw as
he travelled around. Then in the very next report he shifts gears and provides
a prosaic but useful report on the industries of Macao. This is thus both an
enjoyable travel narrative and a useful source of information on China at the
end of the nineteenth century.

Buy the book here:



WOW! South China Morning Post reviews APDP

Check out the glowing review in the South China Morning Post of In the Land of Pagodas, our translation of Alfred Raquez’s first book Au Pays des Pagodes, published recently by NIAS Press.


“Gibson and Bruthiaux have renovated Au Pays des Pagodes with detailed then-and-now research and addictive footnotes that often outshine the author’s original text.”

“As the co-editors dissect the “Raquez” text, they turn his readable fin-de-siècle memoir into In the Land of Pagodas – a fascinating steampunk travel blog that reveals much about the French community in China, and how Raquez reinvented himself in it.”

In the Land of Pagodas is an impressive academic update and required reading for anyone with a connection to China.”

Great review of In the Land of Pagodas! has given our translation of Alfred Raquez’s book In the Land of Pagodas a stirling review (this same reviewer also gave us our first review on Amazon which got us 5 stars)!

We are very pleased that Raquez’s travels through China at the turn of the century are gaining a wider audience thanks to our efforts.

Check it out the review here:

Buy our book here:


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