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The Romany Rye by George Borrow


Hardcover. Conditon: Very Good.  1921. Humphrey Milford - The Oxford Press. The world's classics.

There was really nothing strange in being a Romany Rye back in the Victorian Age. First coined by George Borrow in the title of this book, the term means, in the Gypsy language, a "Gypsy Gentleman," an outsider of some means and education accepted and adopted by the vagrant road people of the 19th century English countryside. Between the Napoleonic Era and the First World War, there were many such men, artists, intellectuals and romantic adventurers, who joined Gypsy wagon trains and lived in their encampments out in the wild. But George Borrow, the unparalleled polyglot and author of extravagant bestsellers, was the first and foremost of them all. Sequel to Lavengro, his childhood memoirs, The Romany Rye tells the story of Borrow's own vagabond years in the 1820s, when he trekked along with the free spirits of the open roads. These were the pristine days before the railroads wiped out the travelling habits of ages; before harsher laws and constables put a stop to all vagrancy; before the repeal of the Corn Laws, the advent of the Empire and the machinery of the Industrial Revolution turned England into a wealthier but much bleaker place.