Laotian Pages: A Classic Account of Travel in Upper, Middle and Lower Laos

Hardback: $135.00
ISBN-13: 9788776942472
Published: July 2018

Additional Information

752 pages | 310 illustrations, 13 maps, 2 volumes
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  • About the Book
  • Laos, 1900 – a frontier land caught in a power struggle between Eastern kingdoms and Western colonial powers, a fertile place teetering between an ancient pastoral existence and the modern machine age. Alfred Raquez’s Laotian Pages vividly describes his exploration of the diverse kingdoms of Laos at the turn of the last century with the same Parisian verve and ironic turn of mind that he brought to his first travel book, In the Land of Pagodas. Raquez’s keen eye and sensitivity to the exotic in both nature and human culture, combined with a mastery of the genre and his hallmark conversational style, transport the reader to the largely unexplored frontier of fin-de-siècle Indochina.

    Long known only to specialists on the history and ethnography of the region, this new work presents a scholarly translation into English together with Raquez’s original photographs that will finally allow a wide audience to experience the joys and hardships of travel in a land that is both timeless and forever changing. In addition, a wide-ranging introduction and extensive footnotes provide historical context and ‘then-and-now’ perspectives on the cultures and landscape that have undergone massive change in the past century.

    In the Land of Pagodas, a scholarly translation by William L. Gibson and Paul Bruthiaux of Alfred Raquez’s book of travels through China in 1899, was published in 2017 by NIAS Press.

  • About the Author(s)
    • Alfred Raquez, Author

      ’Alfred Raquez’ was the pseudonym of Joseph Gervais, a bankrupt French lawyer who fled to the Far East in the late 1890s and had access to some of the powerful players in French Indochina. He wrote prolifically about China and Indochina, took some of the earliest photographs of Laos and made the earliest field sound recordings in that land. He died under mysterious circumstances in Marseille in 1907. Confidence man, daring explorer, dashing bon vivant, proto-photojournalist and amateur ethnographer in equal parts, Raquez offers one of the more intriguing voices (not to mention mystery-filled yarns) of any commentator on the mix of ambitions and follies of of European colonial expansion into the Far East.
    • William L. Gibson, Editor

      William L. Gibson is a writer, researcher and
      occasional sound artist based in Southeast
      Asia. With a PhD in literature from the
      University of Leeds, he is also the author of a
      trilogy of hard-boiled crime fiction set in 1890s
      Singapore and Malaya.

    • William L. Gibson, Translator

      William L. Gibson is a writer, researcher and
      occasional sound artist based in Southeast
      Asia. With a PhD in literature from the
      University of Leeds, he is also the author of a
      trilogy of hard-boiled crime fiction set in 1890s
      Singapore and Malaya.

    • Paul Bruthiaux, Editor

      A prolific academic author and editor with a
      PhD in linguistics from the University of
      Southern California, French-born Paul
      Bruthiaux now lives in Thailand. His memoir,
      French Bred: Growing Up Provincial in a Bygone
      France, was published in 2012.

      Paul Bruthiaux taught linguistics in universities in California, Texas, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand. He is now a language consultant, editor, and translator and lives in Chiang Mai.

    • Paul Bruthiaux, Translator

      A prolific academic author and editor with a
      PhD in linguistics from the University of
      Southern California, French-born Paul
      Bruthiaux now lives in Thailand. His memoir,
      French Bred: Growing Up Provincial in a Bygone
      France, was published in 2012.

      Paul Bruthiaux taught linguistics in universities in California, Texas, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand. He is now a language consultant, editor, and translator and lives in Chiang Mai.