An adventure may be worn as a muddy spot or it may be worn as a proud insignia. It is the woman wearing it who makes it the one thing or the other.


The ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh : a woman in world history New York : Pantheon Books, c 2007 Linda Colley Women travelers Biography, Marsh, Elizabeth, 1735-1785 Hardcover. 1st American ed. and printing. xxxii, 363 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), maps (some col.) ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 307-345) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

This is a book about a world in a life. Conceived in Jamaica and almost certainly of mixed-race, Elizabeth Marsh (1735-1785) traveled farther and was more intimately affected by developments across the globe than the vast majority of men. Many biographies remain constrained by a national framework, while global histories are often impersonal. By contrast, in this book, Linda Colley moves repeatedly between vast geopolitical transformations and the intricate detail of individual lives.

She was the first woman to publish in English on Morocco, and the first to carry out extensive explorations in eastern and southern India. A creature of multiple frontiers, she spent time in London, Menorca, Rio de Janeiro, and the Cape of Africa. She speculated in Florida land, was caught up in the French and Indian War, linked to voyages to the Pacific, and enmeshed as victim or owner in three different systems of slavery.

She was also crucially part of far larger histories. Marsh’s experiences would have been impossible without her links to the Royal Navy, the East India Company, imperial warfare, and widening international trade. To this extent, her career illumines shifting patterns of Western power and overseas aggression. Yet the unprecedented expansion of connections across continents occurring during her lifetime also ensured that her ideas and personal relationships were shaped repeatedly by events and people beyond Europe: by runaway African slaves; Indian weavers and astronomers; Sephardi Jewish traders; and the great Moroccan sultan, Sidi Muhammad, who schemed to entrap her.

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