A sparkling new translation of one of the greatest travel books ever written: Marco Polo’s Travels

9780141198774Marco Polo was the most famous traveller of his time. His voyages began in 1271 with a visit to China, after which he served Khubilai Khan on numerous diplomatic missions. On his return to the West he was made a prisoner of war and met Rustichello of Pisa, with whom he collaborated on this book.

His account of his travels offers a fascinating glimpse of what he encountered abroad: unfamiliar religions, customs and societies; the spices and silks of the East; the precious gems, exotic vegetation and wild beasts of faraway lands. Evoking a remote and long-vanished world with colour and immediacy, Marco’s book revolutionized western ideas about the then unknown East and is still one of the greatest travel accounts of all time.

For this edition – the first completely new English translation of the Travels in over fifty years – Nigel Cliff has gone back to the original manuscript sources to produce a fresh, authoritative new version. The volume also contains invaluable editorial materials, including an introduction describing the world as it stood on the eve of Polo’s departure, and examining the fantastical notions the West had developed of the East.

Marco Polo was born in 1254, joining his father on a journey to China in 1271. He spent the next twenty years travelling in the service of Khubilai Khan across China, Southeast Asia, and India.  There is strong evidence that Marco travelled extensively in the Mongol Empire, and he was the first European to visit India since the classical age.

The Travels comes in a gorgeous foil-stamped clothbound edition designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith. It is published in the UK on 26 February 2015 and will be published in the United States in December.

Also on 26 February, an excerpt from Nigel Cliff’s new translation is published as Travels in the Land of Serpents and Pearls in Penguin Little Black Classics, at the bargain price of 80p.

Read more at Penguin Classics