Of all those admirable and doughty Victorian Lady travellers Miss Amelia Edwards is surely one of the brightest lights, and this, her classic introduction to ancient Egypt, still stands up like an obelisk above the bulk of learned tomes and endlessly churned out travel guides.
Straightened means obliged her to earn her living, and she was already a successful writer and a talented artist and musician when, in middle-age, bad weather unexpectedly changed her life. Her painting holiday in France sabotaged, she took a boat from Marseilles to Alexandria, and hired a dahabiyah to venture up the Nile. The rest of her life she devoted tirelessly to the setting-up of professional excavation in Egypt, founding the Egypt Exploration Fund (with Reginald Stuart Poole) and establishing the first chair of Egyptology in in England at University College, initially occupied by her protege Flinders Petrie.
Nothing of the contagious enthusiasm and wonder she conveys, as the beauties of Egypt are daily unfolded before her, is lost from the subsequent research and painstaking erudition she crams into the pages of A Thousand Miles Up the Nile. The joy is as fresh as when first felt, and the reader feels privileged to share these experiences with her.