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the Complete Review
the complete review - travel

A Journey around my Room

Xavier de Maistre

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To purchase Voyage around my Room

Title: Voyage around my Room
Author: Xavier de Maistre
Genre: Travel
Written: 1790
Length: 82 pages
Original in: French
Availability: in Voyage around my Room - US
in A Journey Around My Room - UK
in A Journey Around My Room - Canada
Voyage autour de ma chambre - Canada
in A Journey around my Room - India
Voyage autour de ma chambre - France
Die Reise um mein Zimmer - Deutschland
Spedizione notturna nella mia stanza - Italia
Viaje alrededor de mi habitación - España
  • French title: Voyage autour de ma chambre
  • Written 1790, first published in 1795
  • The French text of Voyage autour de ma chambre is available online
  • Translated by Stephen Sartarelli
  • Published in Voyage around my Room: Selected Works of Xavier de Maistre, which includes an Introduction by Richard Howard, Joseph de Maistre's 1811 Preface, as well as two other works by Xavier de Maistre:
    • Nocturnal Expedition around my Room (see our review)
    • The Leper of the City of Aosta (see our review)
  • The new UK edition (Hesperus, 2004) was translated by Andrew Brown
  • The new UK edition has a Foreword by Alain de Botton

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Our Assessment:

A- : charming idea, well-executed

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Guardian . 4/6/2013 Nicholas Lezard
The Washington Post . 17/4/2005 Michael Dirda

  From the Reviews:
  • "There is irony upon irony here, like the tiers of a multistorey cake, and the joy of this work resides in that." - Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian

  • "A Journey Around My Room and A Nocturnal Expedition Around My Room may seem mere sports, literary jeux d'esprit. (...) The English publisher Hesperus, which specializes in bringing out novella-length masterworks from around the world, deserves plaudits for adding these two little masterpieces to our reading lists." - Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       In 1790 Xavier de Maistre was punished for having gotten into a duel by being put under house arrest for forty-two days. De Maistre cleverly took advantage of his sequestration, finding within his own four walls a wealth of material to dwell on. His short book, Voyage around my Room, recounts his expeditions during that time. It is a travel book like no other.
       De Maistre suffered few hardships: he had his faithful servant tending to his daily needs, and his dog, Rosine, is a stalwart companion. Physically de Maistre could not roam far and so most of the travels were, indeed, leaps of the imagination -- but he did find a surprising amount of material in his fairly comfortable room. He slowly leads the reader around it, describing the pictures on the walls, the vistas and prospects within and beyond the room, exploring and dwelling on objects that are otherwise taken for granted. And what he see brings back memories, focusses ideas, leads him to look at things anew.
       De Maistre proceeds at a leisurely pace -- and is disappointed (as is the reader) at how soon the allotted time is up, knowing that in the outside world everyday life will not permit such fine contemplation. The room is "that enchanted realm containing all the wealth and riches of the world", revealed and revelled in when he has the time and peace to dwell on it.
       From the pleasures of waking or the contemplation of ancient myths, de Maistre describes his journeys -- his flights of fancy -- well. The tone is lively, often even exuberant, as he is surprised by all his discoveries. The chapters are very brief, and he jumps from topic to topic quickly. He covers little in great depth -- but it is just enough depth.
       An enjoyable voyage, nicely presented.

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A Journey Around My Room: Reviews: Xavier de Maistre: Other books by Xavier de Maistre under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Count Xavier de Maistre (1763-1852) pursued a military career, and also wrote several popular works.

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