Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese & Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece
Illustrated by Katyuli Lloyd
Introduced by Artemis Cooper
Patrick Leigh Fermor's celebrated travel memoirs of Greece, presented in a two-volume set, illustrated and with photographs from the first editions.
Once described as ‘a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene’, Patrick Leigh Fermor has also been called the world’s finest travel writer. In 1958 he completed Mani, an account of his wanderings in the Peloponnese, one of the wildest regions of Greece. He followed it in 1966 with Roumeli, a portrait of the country stretching from Macedonia to the Gulf of Corinth. More than a simple exploration of these two wild and remote regions, the books are a love letter to the country's culture, language, mythology and people – Leigh Fermor was in love with the idea of Greece as well as its reality, and his beautiful and often lyrical writing summons its very essence.
Along with his wife Joan Eyres Monsell, Leigh Fermor explored those isolated regions cut off to casual tourists by the jagged Taygetus mountains and inhospitable coasts. During their travels they met with Sarakatsán shepherds and ate twice-baked bread softened in spring water, spent the evening in one of the Mani’s famous ‘blood-feud’ towers and visited the cave said to be the entrance to Hades. In Leigh Fermor’s Greece the past is always present, and the country’s active relationship with its ancient and storied history is alive on every page. On the tiny island of Seriphos, a young boy shows Leigh Fermor the chapel where the head of Medusa is said to be buried, cheerfully presented to the writer as though the gorgon had been decapitated only the week before. In one charming incident, Leigh Fermor and his wife attempt to retrieve a pair of Lord Byron’s slippers, despite having lost the name of the man who has guardianship of them. The character of Greece, and Leigh Fermor’s passion for it, shine through in these encounters. The author and his wife would eventually make their home there.
‘Mani and Roumeli: two of the best travel books of the 20th century’
- Financial Times