Book of the month

19 Oct 2023

The Peregrinations of Pamela, H. E. Henderman, Heath Cranton Limited, 1912.

The Peregrinations of Pamela, H. E. Henderman, Heath Cranton Limited, 1912.

The Peregrinations of Pamela is a unique blend of travelogue, personal narrative, and humorous commentary written by H. E. Henderman. It recounts the journeys of Henderman and his wife in the early 20th century to Corsica, Sicily, the West Indies, Finland, Northern Africa, old Provence, and Cyprus.

Henderman, known for his critical approach, made detailed observations about the Cypriot way of life. He often provided historical context to their encounters, offering a more profound understanding of their journey. The narrative details their visit to Cyprus and mentions key cities such as Larnaca, Nicosia, and Famagusta. Henderman's travelogue is further enriched by his own photographs, providing visual insight into the places and people they encountered during their journey.

Meanwhile, while exploring these places, they encounter a variety of customs that add depth to their understanding of Cyprus. One such fascinating custom is the 'Friday morning bazaar,' where country folk flock to the markets, dressed in vibrant attire and engaging in lively transactions. Henderman, with his somewhat satirical tone provides a vivid portrayal of this scene, were women, bundles of embroidery in hand, beckon visitors with cries of 'Kyria! Kyria!' Another custom that didn’t failed the observational humor of the writer was the intriguing practice of locust picking, a necessity to keep the locust population in check. The locals, armed with butterfly nets, embarked on this mission, catching locusts for sale to the government. “In March, as soon as the sun gets hot, you may see people tearing over the hillsides with butterfly nets ; they are catching the locusts to sell to “Governum,” which takes this means of keeping down the pest.” Their interactions in the bazaar and the lively description of the locust’s picking, complete with the enthusiastic participation from the locals, offer a delightful insight into the island's culture and warmth.

While offering glimpses of Cyprus's captivating landscape, the book examines its political complexity and cultural richness, with a lighthearted and somewhat caustic tone approaching various subjects with a sense of amusement and irony.

Is important to note that the text reflects the attitudes of its era, written during a time when British colonialism was a prevalent global force. The author's perspective aligns with the colonialist narratives and stereotypes of that period.

In conclusion, the author's tone is characterized by a dry sense of humor, which adds a layer of entertainment to their descriptions and makes the text more engaging for readers. This humor allows Henderman to share observations and experiences while keeping the narrative light-hearted and enjoyable.

You can find this book, and many more, in the Research Centre of the CVAR.

The 'Book Of The Month' series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus).

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