Allegorizings by Jan Morris - review by Zareer Masani

Zareer Masani

Posthumous Fresh Air



Faber & Faber 207pp £14.99

This posthumous collection of essays by Jan Morris, written for publication after her death, will be a delight for her many fans. The subjects range from sex, sneezing, trains, ocean liners and travel to conceptual topics such as nationalism, especially as it occurs in her beloved Wales. In life, Morris was unbelievably prolific, writing books on subjects as diverse as travel, art and imperial history. This anthology has some of that variety. She titled it Allegorizings because each of the essay’s topics has others concealed within it or links in her consciousness to something else.

However apparently trivial the subject, Morris is always witty, thoughtful and erudite. Reflecting on the humble sneeze, she laments its current suppression and the passing of the traditional, loud ‘atishoo’. ‘Like passing wind, we cannot always help it,’ she admits, ‘but I suspect social custom will make it less

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