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Jan Morris (formerly James Morris) Biography

(1926– ), (formerly James Morris), The Times, Guardian, Coronation Everest, Coast to Coast, Venice

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Edgar Mittelholzer Biography to Mr Norris Changes Trains

British travel writer, born at Clevedon, Somerset, educated at Christchurch, Oxford. Morris became a journalist in 1947 after a period of military service. He held successive posts as a foreign correspondent with The Times and the Guardian from 1951 to 1962. He travelled with the 1953 Everest expedition, becoming widely known for his reports of the ascent; Coronation Everest (1958) forms an account of his experiences. Among the works which established Morris's reputation as a culturally and historically authoritative travel writer are Coast to Coast (1956), drawing on visits to the USA, Venice (1960, revised edition 1983), and The Presence of Spain (1964, revised edition 1988). His comprehensive and accessible trilogy on the British Empire in the nineteenth century consists of Pax Britannica (1968), Heaven's Command (1973), and Farewell the Trumpets (1978). In 1972 the sex change for which Morris had been preparing since 1964 was completed and from 1973 onward her books were published under her present name; the autobiographical Conundrum (1974) is widely regarded as the best account of transsexuality available. Among Morris's later publications are Hong Kong (1988) and Sydney (1992); the experimental Letters from Hav (1985) describes an imaginary city. Morris has also written extensively on Wales, where she chiefly resides, in The Matter of Wales (1984) and A Machynlleth Triad (1993).

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