notes on dutch literature

In Byron’s Footsteps

In Masters on February 11, 2013 at 10:03 AM

lord byron
When Tessa de Loo saw Albania for the first time, no foreigners were allowed to enter. Filled with a great curiosity, longing, and a sense of wonderment by this isolated land, de Loo gazed toward the mountains that stood like ‘the backs of patiently waiting elephants’ across the water from Corfu. Inspired by the famous Thomas Phillips portrait of Lord Byron in Albanian national costume, de Loo stole her way in and found a country suffering the hardships of post-communist reality and the constant and sometimes fractious clash between tradition and modernity. In the tradition of Bruce Chatwin, de Loo, the award-winning author of The Twins, has written a fascinating travelogue and a very personal reassessment of the life and works of Lord Byron: In Byron’s Footsteps, translated by Andy Brown.

Praise for the Dutch Edition of In Byron’s Footsteps
‘[One notes] the seriousness and humour with which De Loo laces her contribution to superior travel literature… She gives her report in the form of letters to Byron (My dear friend, My dearest George) alternated with chapters where she recounts Byron’s journey. However euphoric De Loo’s report is not too affected, it stays lively and informative…. is a book of contrasts, surprises and disappointments, written cheerfully and with eye for details.’ – Vrij Nederland

A translator’s note from Andy Brown:
‘Translating In Byron’s Footsteps was a true labour of love. Like Tessa de Loo, I became acquainted with Byron as a teenager at school. I lost sight of him over the years, but travelling with him to Albania, I rediscovered him and saw his rebelliousness and humour in a different light.

Byron was not always loved in his home country, and the feeling was mutual. Before he left on the journey that would eventually lead him to Albania, he had ordered his business agent to sell his family estate, saying: ‘[…] allow me to depart from this cursed country, and I promise to turn Mussulman, rather than return to it.’ Tessa de Loo went to Albania to find Byron. Perhaps by translating her wonderful account of their journey together, I have helped her to bring him home.’

Tessa de Loo’s novel The Twinshas been translated into 25 languages. She is the author of The Book of Doubt, which is longlisted for the 2013 IMPAC. The Book of Doubt will be available in the US March 2013.
Tessa de Loo lives in south Portugal and Paris and is one of the most successful writers in the Dutch language.

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