Jan Morris

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Jan Morris CBE, FRSL (2 October 1926 – 20 November 2020) was a Welsh historian, author and travel writer.


  • I resist the idea that travel writing has got to be factual. I believe in its imaginative qualities and its potential as art and literature. I must say that my campaign, which I've been waging for ages now, has borne some fruit because intelligent bookshops nowadays do have a stack called something like travel literature. But what word does one use?
  • To begin with, I did think so. I seemed to fear in myself more of a compassion towards detail rather than sweep, if you understand me. It seems to me I was exploring smaller things rather than larger things. But as the years have gone by, I seem perhaps simply to have widened to be moved equally by both, if you understand me, both by macrocosm and by microcosm. And that may be, again, another symptom of the fact that I've come to terms with what I am more completely than I had some years ago.
  • But I should say I would never use the word change, as in "sex-change" for what happened to me. I did not change sex, I really absorbed one into the other. I’m a bit of each now. I freely admit it. There is obviously all of this debate about it all at the moment, but for me it was never a black and white thing. Never could be. It was a sort of instinct. A question of spirit almost. But that’s all in that book I wrote, isn’t it?’

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