The Way to Xanadu
Caroline Alexander, in the thrall of Coleridge's poem, Kubla Kahn, seeks to visit the sites that inspired Coleridge's opium-induced dream and romantically exotic poem.
She, of course, visits Mongolia, but also Ethiopia, Kashmir, and, surprisingly, Florida.
I enjoyed this book very much. I've loved the poem since I first read it in my early teens, and it made me realize how much this poem has contributed to my own love of the romatic and exotic.
I loved her travels just for the sheer adventure and exoticism alone, but I was also fascinated by the connections she made to Coleridge and what inspired him to write the poem. I believe that most of her conjectures about what inspired Coleridge are accurate. After all she does have a PHD, and has been fascinated with this poem for most of her life, so she would have extensive knowledge of the subject. It seemed that she almost entered Coleridge's head at times.
I found this book to be a wonderfully readable hybrid of flights of fancy to the most exotic of realms and down-to earth historical and biographical details, etc.. This was a unique little book that was a pleasure to read