A Morocco Anthology: Travel Writing through the Centuries
By Martin Rose, ed.
2018, AUC Press, 978-9-77416-8-468, $18.95 hb.
Reviewed by Robert W. Lebling on March 15, 2019
Western writers say there’s an almost dream-like quality to arriving in Morocco for the first time, as one world dissolves into another. The romance of Morocco comes from its heady blend of Arab, Berber and European cultures. The editor of this compact collection notes that in precolonial times Morocco was defined not so much by borders as by declaring the name of the ruling sultan at Friday prayers: The country had “an almost metaphysical existence, with boundaries woven of sound and prayer.” These brief and impactful excerpts from travelers’ stories take readers through Morocco’s four “imperial cities” of Fez, Marrakech, Meknes and Rabat, among other sites. Fes was first among the capitals and the greatest center of learning. Marrakech was the golden gateway to the Sahara, Meknes the fanciful creation of a single sultan, Moulay Ismail, and Rabat (the modern capital) infused by a cultural legacy of Andalusian refugees.