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Cover of Jane Fletcher Geniesse's biography of Freya Stark

Dame Freya Madeleine Stark, DBE (b. 31 Jan 1893, Paris, France - d. 9 May 1993, Asolo, Italy) was a British travel writer.

Contents

Life

Freya Stark was born in Paris, where her parents were studying art. Her mother, Flora, was an Italian of Polish/German descent, her father, Robert, an English painter from Devon.[1]

In her lifetime she was famous for her experiences in the Middle East, her writing, and her cartography. Freya Stark was not only one of the first Western women to travel through the Arabian deserts (Hadhramaut); she often travelled solo into areas where few Europeans, let alone women, had ever been.

She spent much of her childhood in North Italy, helped by the fact that Pen Browning, a friend of her father, had bought three houses in Asolo. She also had a grandmother in Genoa.[2] For her 9th birthday she received a copy of the One Thousand and One Nights, and became fascinated with the Orient. She was often ill while young, and confined to the house, so found an outlet in reading. She delighted in reading French, in particular Dumas, and taught herself Latin. When she was 16 she had an accident in a factory in Italy, when her hair got caught in a machine, and she had to spend four months getting skin grafts in hospital, which left her face slightly disfigured.[3]

She later learned Arabic and Persian, studied history in London and during WW1 worked as a nurse in Italy,[4] where her mother had remained and taken a share in a business. Her sister, Vera, married the co-owner.

In November 1927 she visited Asolo for the first time in years, and later that month boarded a ship for Beirut, where her travels in the East began.[5] She based herself first at the home of James Elroy Flecker in Lebanon and then in Baghdad, where she met the British high commissioner.

By 1931 she had completed three dangerous treks into the wilderness of western Iran, in parts of which no Westerner had ever been before; and had located the long-fabled Valleys of the Assassins (hashish-eaters).[6] During the 1930s she penetrated the hinterland of southern Arabia, where only a handful of Western explorers had previously ventured and then never as far or as widely as she went.

During World War II, she joined the British Ministry of Information and contributed to the creation of a propaganda network aimed at persuading Arabs to support the Allies or at least remain neutral. She wrote over two dozen books based on her travels, almost all of which were published by John Murray in London, with whom she had a successful and long-standing working relationship.

One can only really travel if one lets oneself go and takes what every place brings without trying to turn it into a healthy private pattern of one's own and I suppose that is the difference between travel and tourism.[7] -Freya Stark

Works

  • Baghdad Sketches (Baghdad, The Times Press Ltd, 1932; first London, John Murray edition 1937).
  • The Valleys of the Assassins (London, 1934).
  • The Southern Gates of Arabia (London, 1936).
  • Seen in the Hadhramaut (London 1938).
  • A Winter in Arabia (London, 1940).
  • Letters from Syria (London, 1943).
  • East is West (London, 1945).
  • Perseus in the Wind (London, 1948).
  • Traveller's Prelude (London, 1950).
  • Beyond Euphrates. Autobiography 1928-1933 (London, 1951).
  • The Coast of Incense (London, 1953).
  • Ionia, A Quest (London, 1954).
  • The Lycian Shore (London, 1956).
  • Alexander's Path: From Caria to Cilicia (London, 1958).
  • Riding to the Tigris (London, 1959).
  • Dust in the Lion's Paw. Autobiography 1939-46 (London, 1961).
  • Rome on the Euphrates (London, 1966).
  • The Zodiac Arch (London, 1968).
  • A Peak in Darien (London 1976).
  • The Journey's Echo: Selected Travel Writings (Ecco, 1988). ISBN 0-880-01218-8

References and sources

Notes
  1. ^ Stark (1950), p. 2-4
  2. ^ Stark (1950), p. 30-64
  3. ^ Stark (1950), p. 84
  4. ^ Stark (1950), p. 146
  5. ^ Stark (1950), p. 333
  6. ^ Salak, Kira. ""National Geographic article about Iran and Freya Stark"". National Geographic Adventure. http://www.kirasalak.com/Iran.html.  
  7. ^ Cited in Molly Izzard, A Marvellous Eye, Cornucopia Issue 2
Sources
  • Stark, Freya (1950). Traveller's Prelude. London: John Murray.  
  • Moorehead, Caroline (1985). Freya Stark. MIddlesex: Penguin ISBN 0-14-008108-9.  
  • Jane Fletcher Geniesse, Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark (New York: Random House, 2001).
  • Peter H. Hansen, Stark, Dame Freya Madeline (1893–1993), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  • Molly Izzard ' A Marvellous Bright Eye: Freya Stark', Cornucopia Issue 2, 1992

External links

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Freya Stark (1893-01-31 - 1993-05-09) was a British travel writer, born in Paris; her mother, Flora, was an Italian of Polish/German descent, her father, Robert, an English painter from Devon.

Contents

Sourced

  • Christmas ... is not an external event at all, but a piece of one's home that one carries in one's heart. in "The Wise Men" from Time and Tide
  • The most momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or evil.
    • As quoted in Ionia, a Quest (1954) by Freya Stark, p. 94
    • Variant translation of Pythagoras: The most momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or to evil.
  • One can only really travel if one lets oneself go and takes what every place brings without trying to turn it into a healthy private pattern of one's own and I suppose that is the difference between travel and tourism.[1]
  • To awaken quite alone in a strange town, is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.[2]

Unsourced

  • There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.[3]

References

  1. Cited in Molly Izzard, A Marvellous Eye, Cornucopia Issue 2. From Wikipedia: Freya Stark. Retrieved 2009-08-25
  2. The Great Ones - Freya Stark, History's Greatest Explorers on iExplore.com. Retrieved 2009-08-25
  3. Quoted on many quotation sites without references. Example: Quotations by Author: Freya Madeline Stark on The Quotations Page. Retrieved 2009-08-25

External links

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