In the autumn of 1834, Alexander Kinglake and John Savile set out together for Turkey and the Levant. When Savile was summoned home Kinglake, accompanied only by his guide and interpreter, went on by ship to Cyprus and Beirut, then to the Holy Land, Cairo, and Damascus. On his own in a foreign world, Kinglake used the solitary travel for prolonged self-scrutiny, and ultimately for liberation.
Eothen has the freshness of the immediate and the new. Kinglake kept it free of the details of geography, history, science, politics, religion, and statistics; it is far less about the countries and the cities he passes through that it is about himself. This is what makes Eothen a modern travel book, possibly the first and certainly one of the greatest of its kind.