The Wanderer in Arabia or Western Footsteps in Eastern Tracks


The Wanderer in Arabia or Western Footsteps in Eastern Tracks is an illustrated, two-volume work describing two separate journeys, in Egypt and in the Holy Land, undertaken in 1850‒51 by George T. Lowth (also seen as Louth), an Englishman. Little is known about Lowth except that he was a keen traveler who published eight other books, including other travelogues, poetry, and a novel. The first journey, described in volume I, was a three-month boat voyage on the Nile. It began in Alexandria, Egypt, where Lowth, his wife, and his crew first assembled, and then took them to Wadi Halfa, in present-day Sudan, and back to Cairo. The volume’s 18 chapters include descriptions of the towns visited, the populations encountered, river and desert scenery, and commentary on the social, ethnic, and economic conditions along the river. In the last chapter in the volume, Lowth compares the rule of the Ottoman pasha Muhammad Ali (in office 1805‒48) to that of his grandson Abbas I, during whose reign Lowth visited. Volume II, in 21 chapters, describes the second journey, from Cairo, across the Sinai desert and the Holy Land, to Beirut and Damascus, and back to Beirut, where the description ends. The desert chapters contain digressions about natural features, the customs of the desert tribes, and traveling by night. Other chapters detail the landscapes, scenery, the experience of traveling through changing weather, and the various people encountered. The volume concludes with a chapter about the worth of England—its wealth, religion, press, politics, and other achievements—and the necessity for Turkey and Russia to realize their comparative weaknesses in the “war” between them, an apparent reference to the Crimean War (1853–56). The work was published in London in 1855 and is dedicated to Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (ruled 1844‒93). The illustrations were made by unnamed friends of the author and were produced using the author’s original pencil sketches.

Last updated: October 30, 2017