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-
(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.
“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.”
Bookish.asia 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 Bookish.asia review here: http://bookish.asia/land-pagodas-%E2%80%A2-alfred-raquez/
Buy our book here: http://www.niaspress.dk/books/land-pagodas
Check out this excerpt from In the Land of Pagodas published in NeeHao magazine. It features a great section from our translation of Alfred Raquez’s first book: his description of a sumptuous dinner on a flower boat in Canton in 1898.
Then buy the book here: http://www.niaspress.dk/books/land-pagodas
Here’s nice a interview with myself and Paul about our translation of Alfred Raquez’s first book, In the Land of Pagodas.
Check out the interview here in English: https://china-underground.com/2017/04/13/curious-case-mr-alfred-raquez-parisian-fugitive-run-far-east/
Thanks to the good folks over at China Underground for their awesome support!!
My pal and fellow Monsoon Books author Rosie Milne runs a nifty blog called Asian Books and she was kind enough to post this puff piece about my scholarly translation with Paul Bruthiaux of Alfred Raquez’s travelogue In the Land of Pagodas which was recently published by NIAS Press.
Check it out and support Rosie’s blog…then buy a copy and support me!
Our friend Alfred Raquez visited Java in 1898 and wrote about it in an obscure article published in 1902. Paul and I translated and edited Raquez’s piece and our work has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Archipel, which is forthcoming.
Ahead of that debut, an excerpt that doesn’t include any of the scholarly work but mostly Paul’s English translation has now been published on the website of Indonesia Expat magazine. Now you can enjoy Raquez’s insightful observations and wry humor without our foonotes!
Feel free to buy our translation of Raquez’s In the Land of Pagodas, his book of travels through China in 1899, published by NIAS Press. That has lots of footnotes!