"From the ancient cities of Petra and Babylon to the mountains of the Andes, Murphy’s travelogues are not only a vivid account of past glories but also a powerful testament to what must be protected for future generations. In an engaging and enlightening edition, meticulously researched and glossed, Bixby restores this neglected work, and its fearless author, to their rightful place in the long tradition of Irish travel literature."—Margaret Kelleher, University College Dublin
"The scope of this edited collection treads on new ground by looking at travelogues from the mid-twentieth century, a relevant period which saw the emergence of the Irish Republic, gender emancipation, as well as a second wave of colonial liberation across the world."—Marguérite Corporaal, Radboud University
"Bixby makes a convincing case for Murphy’s inclusion in the Irish canon of travel literature, a body of work he shows to be still wholly under-valued and under-examined."—Éadaoin Agnew, Kingston University, London
At the time of her death in 1962, Kathleen M. Murphy was recognized as “the most widely and most knowledgeably travelled Irish woman of her time . . . insofar as she let herself be known to the public at all.” An abiding interest in sacred sites and ancient civilizations took Murphy down the Amazon and over the Andes, into the jungles of Southeast Asia and onto the deserts of the Middle East, above the Arctic Circle and behind the Iron Curtain.
After the Second World War, Murphy began publishing a series of vivid, humorous, and often harrowing accounts of her travels in The Capuchin Annual, a journal reaching a largely Catholic and nationalist audience in Ireland and the United States. At home in the Irish midlands, Murphy may have been a modest and retiring figure, but her travelogues shuttle between religious devotion and searching curiosity, primitivist assumptions and probing insights, gender decorum and bold adventuring. Unaccompanied Traveler, with its wide-ranging introduction, detailed notes, and eye-catching maps, retrieves these remarkable accounts from obscurity and presents them to a new generation of readers interested in travel and adventure.
Patrick Bixby is associate professor of English at Arizona State University and resident director of the University Studies Abroad Consortium Summer School at NUI Galway. He is the coeditor of Standish O’Grady’s Cuculain: A Critical Edition.
Series: Irish Studies
6 x 9, 344 pages, 1 black and white illustrations, 12 maps