Travel-Writing Geezers

Yesterday’s South China Morning Post reviews a collection of travel writing by those over 60: To Oldly Go. The reviewer separates the writers into those who find travel wonderful, those who take themselves too seriously and those “who have gradually become world-weary, curmudgeonly and dryly amusing.” And then there was Evelyn Waugh:

who set the 20th-century standard for acerbic travel humour at the beginning of his career with non-fiction books such as Labels (1930), Remote People (1931) and Ninety-two Days (1934), and remained mordant and exasperated until his last travel book, A Tourist in Africa (1960). He was 57 when that was published, sadly making him a little too young to be quoted in this book.

Waugh was already a fully-fledged geezer at the relatively early age of 57, so the editors would have been justified in making an exception to their qualifying age in his case. The book contains articles by superannuated travel writers such as Colin Thubron and Matthew Parris. The article concludes with another plug for the excluded Waugh:

Jaded armchair travellers who prefer a nice sit down and a cup of tea will find reassurance in the anthology of Waugh’s early travel writing, When the Going Was Good (1946), which was most recently published by Penguin in 2011.

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