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Journalist, children's author and translator, Matilda Betham-Edwards inspired a generation of writers. A correspondent of Henry James and a friend of George Eliot, she belonged to a literary network that spanned the globe. Published in 1868, her account of her journey to the Sahara received immediate critical acclaim for its graceful prose and intelligent insights. Leading readers through the Dordogne to Madrid and on to the mosques and malaria of North Africa, Edwards introduces her audience to relics, landscapes and ancient edifices that reflect a wide spectrum of religions and societies. A farmer's daughter, she pays special attention to the living and working conditions of agricultural communities and their struggle for survival in nineteenth-century Europe. As one reviewer for the Examiner explained, 'stay at home readers can hardly do their travelling by proxy more easily than by running through her entertaining pages'.