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Lisbon, City of the Sea: A History

Lisbon, City of the Sea: A History
Jack Malcolm

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"Lisbon: City of the Sea" is a beautifully written portrait of a much loved city, from its origins in Greek legend to the present day. Malcolm Jack vividly captures the rich and unique history of this haunting and attractive port whose prominent position on the Tagus estuary has inextricably bound its character with the sea. Lisbon is a city of steep inclines and complicated, unsymmetrical streets that criss-cross the hills only in the Baixa area near the river and in the more modern, northern part of the city does any form of a grid system appear. It has enjoyed a political history that has directed Portugal's focus more overseas than inland towards continental Europe, in part because of Spain's geographical position. Thus, the city has been stretched in one direction toward Brazil and in another toward the Cape of Good Hope and from there to Asia and the East. Beginning with its earliest inhabitants, Jack traces the city's life through its imperial success in the sixteenth century and the devastating earthquake that humbled the city and shocked Europe in 1755 to its current position as a vibrant and successful European capital.

Lisbon's romantic atmosphere has captured the imaginations of foreigners through the ages. Poets, writers and musicians have all drawn inspiration from different parts of Lisbon. This sensitive exploration of the city's many aspects draws out its cosmopolitan nature, as well as its colourful culture and self-image and brings us closer to understanding its true spirit. Engaging and accessible, this book will appeal to Lisbon's many visitors as well as anyone interested in European history.

Author Info

Malcolm Jack has written about eighteenth-century philosophy and literature and has edited the works of both Lady Wortley Montagu and William Beckford. His most recent book, Sintra: A Glorious Eden, was published in 2002. He has had a home in Portugal for many years.


'Malcolm Jack is a surefooted and erudite guide to the labyrinth of historical Lisbon. The city's Moorish past, the age of discovery when Lisbon was the harbour from which the limits of the world were explored, the architectural splendours of the Manueline age, the desolation of the great earthquake of 1755, the Grand Tours of Beckford and Byron, the weird urban fantasies of Pessoa, the hauntingly nostalgic airs of fado
all are conjured up in this splendid book.' Robert Irwin, Historian, Arabist and novelist'

A scholarly yet highly entertaining introduction to Lisbon. The author constantly draws on his extensive knowledge of contemporary travel literature but his main source of description and insight derives from his own, direct observation of all the nooks and crannies of old Lisbon and his unique ability to capture the spirit of the place. Recommended as essential reading for Lisbon lovers, prospective travellers, Lusophiles and others.' Professor Joao Almeida Flor, University of LisbonANGLO-PORTUGUESE SOCIETY NEWSLETTER'Any good historian must provide an engaging narrative, be able to relate ideas to history and provide savoury anecdote. Malcolm Jack does all of these things.'- Philip Jenkins'

a vivid biography of my favourite city'
Barry Humphries, Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781845114039
Publication Date: 30 Apr 2007
Number of Pages: 224
Height: 216
Width: 138
Illustrations: 8pp colour pltes and 16pp b/w inset

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