Monday, July 18, 2011

ASBC: Marco Polo Confusion

The Anti-Social Book Club meets!

First off, I have issues with introductions to biographies--if the book can be summed up in 10 pages why read the book? Anyway, Komroff's introduction started getting long and pointless, and there was a prologue after that, so I skipped the last part of the introduction and the entire prologue. It's a big book, you know. I felt like I was wasting time. I went back at the end and read it just so I could say I read the whole thing, and the prologue was actually good. Point: Do we really need an introduction and a prologue?

So. Marco Polo. I didn't get the sense that Polo was writing for a desperate housewife who likes to read interesting travelogues, but instead for a businessman who likes to read facutal descriptions of business opportunities. I will expound. Polo's descriptions can be divided into two main categories. Business: because Marco Polo talks a lot about the local spices, wares, products, etc., that would be good for resale, and man: because Polo also likes to delve into the sexual habits of the local idolaters. In a very factual way, of course. Maybe it loses something in the translation, or maybe Komroff was right, that Polo doesn't really have a sense of humor or a poetic mind.  Anyway, a simultaneously boring and interesting read, due to the whole businessman thing.

Feel free to comment. More thoughts to come.


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