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Record 18516

Reading Experience:

'My instinct first led me to Dharmsala [sic], for many years the home of my uncle Robert Shaw who [...] was the first Englishman to push his way way right through the Himalayas to the plains of Turkestan beyond. Here [in his house] I found [...] books [...] and maps and old manuscripts. I was among the relics of an explorer,at the very house in which he had planned his explorations[...]. I pored over the old books and maps, and talked for hours with the old servants, till the spirit of exploration gradually entered my soul, and I rushed off on a preliminary tour on foot in the direction of Tibet, and planned a great journey into that country for the following year.'
Century: 1850-1899
Date: Between 1 Jun 1884 and 31 Aug 1884
Country: India
Time: n/a
Place: city: McLeod Ganj, village near Dharamsala ,Kangra Valley region
county: (now) Himachal Pradesh
specific address: unknown planters house
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:Francis Younghusband
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 31 May 1863
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: soldier and explorer
Religion: Evangelical Christian at the time later promoted his own brand of spirituality
Country of origin: India, English parents
Country of experience: India
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: unknown
Title: unknown
Genre: Classics, History, Geography / Travel, possibly Robert Shaw's own published works and manuscripts on Central Asian languages and culture.
Form of Text: Print: Book, manuscripts also mentioned
Publication details: unknown
Provenance: read in situ


Source Information:

Record ID: 18516  
Source - Print  
  Author: Francis E. Yoiunghusband
  Editor: n/a
  Title: The Heart of a Continent: A Narrative of Travels in Manchuria, across the Gobi Desert, through the Pamirs and Chitrai, 1884-1894
  Place of Publication: London
  Date of Publication: 1897
  Vol: n/a
  Page: 1
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: Francis E. Yoiunghusband, The Heart of a Continent: A Narrative of Travels in Manchuria, across the Gobi Desert, through the Pamirs and Chitrai, 1884-1894 (London, 1897), p. 1,, accessed: 21 February 2024

Additional comments:

Robert Shaw (1839-1879) was an orientalist and linguist as well as a government servant and explorer. While the nature of the books found in his house and read or 'pored over' by his nephew Younghusband are unknown, the evidence of reading experience points to works of travel, exploration and possibly Shaws own works on Central Asian culture and languages, as well as his 'Visit to High Tartary, Yarkand and Kashgar' (1871). Shaw was also known to have taken a translation of Herodotus' 'History' to Kashgar.



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)