Victorian Asia Bibliography

copyright 2001 Historical Novelists Center

We are putting here all the period travelogues and the later analyses and histories, of colonial activity. This was the heyday of European empire-grabbing.

Austin, O. P.

"Queer Methods of Travel in Curious Corners of the World" **
National Geographic magazine, NGS, Washington, DC; Nov.1907, pg 687-715
A great deal on the relative carrying capacity of animals, so you can select horse, camel, or ox. Mentions the difficulties of getting about in Hong Kong and the native transportation in India. T1

Baker, Samuel White, Sir, 1821-1893

Cyprus, As I Saw It In 1879
Released: Jan 2003
Eight Years' Wanderings In Ceylon

Bird, Isabella L. (Isabella Lucy), 1831-1904

Let us simply say that when Miss Bird went travelling to recruit her health, she normally chose some isolated part of the world where she often was the first European to set foot, or at least the first European woman. All of these are based on her letters home to her sister. She rhapsodizes on sunsets, notes the vistas and canyons, investigates every detail she can of local life, and in general is a great substitute for a time machine.
Among the Tibetans *****!
Many high mountain adventures, including "pass poison" or mountain sickness affecting horses as well as humans. All the grandeur and danger of travelling in this period. T2
The Golden Chersonese And The Way Thither*****!
(events after 1874)
The redoubtable Victorian traveller continues her adventures around the world, here in Indonesia and Sumatra. T2
Journeys in Persia and Kurdistan, including a summer in the Upper Karun region and a visit to the Nestorian rayahs *****!
Korea and her neighbours : a narrative of travel with an account of the recent vicissitudes and present position of the country *****!

Unbeaten Tracks in Japan: An Account of Travels in the Interior Including Visits To The Aborigines of Yezo and the Shrine of Nikko *****!
(after 1878); Project Gutenberg
Accounts of the more isolated areas, where the Japanese live in extremely primitive ways, let alone the Ainu villages. T2
Yangtze Valley and beyond : an account of journeys in China, chiefly in the province of Sze Chuan and among the Man-tze of the Somo territory *****!

Bruce, George

The Stranglers: The Cult of Thuggee and Its Overthrow in British India *****!
Longmans, London, 1968; 234 pgs., 8 plates, bibliography, index
Fascinating book, about the British discovery of the ancient subculture, that contributed to its own final downfall because they felt they had, by their own recent breaking of the divine laws (against harming women, children, etc.), deserved their punishment. Also includes the British struggles with the Dacoits. T2

Harfield, Alan

The Indian Army of the Empress, 1861-1903 ***
Details the forces and actions of the British Raj in far greater breadth than an Osprey book. T2

Hayes, M(atthew) Horace, F.R.C.V.S., 1842-1904

A guide to training and horse management in India : with a Hindustanee stable and veterinary vocabulary and the Calcutta Turf Club tables for weight for age and class
1878; Calcutta : Thacker, Spink, and Co.

Hudson, Roger, ed.

The Raj: An Eye-Witness History ****
The Folio Society, London, 1999
Compiles excepts from may letters, diaries, and memoires to give the experience of the British in India, 1600-1947. T1

Ingraham, Holly

People's Names: A Cross-Cultural Reference Guide to the Proper Use of over 40,000 Personal and Familial Names in over 100 Cultures *****!
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC; 1997; 613 pgs, index, select annotated bibliography
The Contemporary half will provide your Asian and European naming needs, both individual and family names. T1.

Kinglake, Alexander William, 1809-1891

Eothen, or, Traces of Travel Brought Home from the East
Released: Jun 1995

Knight, William Henry

Diary Of A Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet


Nock, O .S., editor

Encyclopedia of Railroads ****
Galahad Books, NY, 1977; 480 pg, index
History of railroads and equipment over the entire world, including Africa, Asia, and south America. Sections on equipment and operation, also the great luxury trains, past and present. Gorgeous colour layout, oversize. One lap-breaker worth the effort of lifting. T1

Osprey Military Books

The worst book out by Osprey still gets three stars. The best are five stars and a bang. These are each a dense, military monograph on weapons, tactics, strategy, and history, with some little cultural background. Rarely at libraries, you will usually find these where military miniatures are sold. T2
In the usual Men-at-Arms Series:
  • The Taiping Rebellion 1851-66; #275
  • The Boxer Rebellion; #95

Pakenham, Valerie

Out in the Noonday Sun: Edwardians in the Tropics ****
Random House, NY, 1985; original British edition, The Noonday Sun, by Methuen London Ltd., London
While covering the British African and Asian empire from about 1890 to 1930. Rare for a British book, it has an index. Lots of pictures, very readable. You'll probably get caught by other chapters, too: consider it background research on the world your characters live in. The section of Biographical Notes is like a mini-encyclopedia of the main players. T2

Rawlinson, George, 1812-1902

History Of Phoenicia YY
Released: Sep 2000
An outmoded history of a semi-historical civilization, the first part gives a detailed description of the area in the later 1800s, for which it is valuable. T2

Robinson, H. Russell

Oriental Armour ****
"Detailed, scholarly survey of defensive armour used in the Middle East and Asia--from the scale armour of ancient Egypt to Japanese "modern" armour of the 19th century. Over 300 line illustrations (largely the author's own work) and over 100 photos depict armour of Persia, Turkey, India, China, Ceylon, the Philippines, Korea, Tibet, and other regions. A splendid overview of the decorative qualities and crucial defensive features in a book that brings together much previously inaccessible material." Better than Stone on the subject. T2

Thompson, John

China and Its People in Early Photographs *****!
19th C; now from Dover Publications, Inc., NY; 272 pg, 200 photos
Some of the earliest (19th century) photos, all the things that foreign artists had been trying to capture and that Chinese painting gives us like images in fog. 200 B&W plates. T2

Wallace, Alfred Russel, 1823-1913

The Malay Archipelago, the Land of the Orang-utan and the Bird of Paradise: A Narrative of Travel, with Studies of Man and Nature
Volume 1
Volume 2

Worswick, Clark

Princely India; photographs by Raja Deen Dayal, 1884-1910 *****!
Knopf, NY, 1980; 151 pgs, forward by J. Kenneth Galbraith
Worswick provides the text to Dayal's gorgeous photos. Remember, much of this will apply to earlier decades, or even centuries. Just compare it to the paintings, and see how little has changed. T3

To Victorian Britain and Europe Bibliography

To Indian Bibliography

To North Asian Bibliography (China, Tibet, Korea, Mongolia)

To Maps of Asia

To Munson's photographs of India

To Monograph on Corsets

To 1861 Horse Care

Back to Times and Places: East Asia