C M Doughty


 Charles Montague Doughty poet, explorer and writer.


Charles Montagu Doughty (August 19, 1843 – January 20, 1926) was an English poet, writer, and traveller born in Theberton Hall, Saxmundham, Suffolk and educated at private schools in Laleham and Elstree,[1] and at a school for the royal navy, Portsmouth. He was a student at King's College London, eventually graduating from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge in 1864.[2]

He was the father of Freda and Dorothy Doughty.

He is best known for his 1888 travel book Travels in Arabia Deserta, a work in two volumes which, though it had little immediate influence upon its publication, slowly became a kind of touchstone of ambitious travel writing, one valued as much for its language as for its content. T. E. Lawrence rediscovered the book and caused it to be republished in the 1920s, contributing an admiring introduction of his own. Since then the book has gone in and out of print.

The book is a vast recounting of Doughty's treks through the Arabian deserts, and his discoveries there. It is written in an extravagant and mannered style, largely based on the King James Bible, but constantly surprising with verbal turns and odd inventiveness.

Among authors who have praised the book are the British novelist Henry Green, whose essay on Doughty, "Apologia," is reprinted in his collection Surviving. Green's novels arguably show some direct stylistic influence of Doughty's book, as noted by John Updike in his introduction to the collection of Green's novels Loving; Living; Party Going.[3]

Doughty's epic poem The Dawn in Britain, originally published 1906 in six volumes, provides a preparatory basis and ideal to Laura (Riding) Jackson and Schuyler B. Jackson's project of establishing an access to what they argue is an inherent meaning of words in their Rational Meaning: a New Foundation for the Definition of Words and Supplementary Essays.[4] The Jacksons hail Doughty's work as being exemplary of this access to meaning through the linguistic understanding he demonstrates in his diction, in the care he takes with his choice of words, which favors pre-Shakespearean English for reasons "fundamentally linguistic, rather than literary." [5] Whole sections of the Jacksons' book examine Doughty's linguistic care and thinking.


  • Travels in Arabia Deserta (1888)
  • The Dawn in Britain (1906)
  • Adam Cast Forth (1908)
  • The Cliffs (1909)
  • The Clouds (1912)
  • The Titans (1916)

Mansoul or The Riddle of the World (1920) 



 Travels in Arabia Deserta was originally over 600,000 words long and over 1,200 pages.  

     Later versions were a quarter of that length;  modern reprints much smaller than that.   

My favourite is the illustrated version with many photos by Gertrude Bell and an introduction by Lawrence of Arabia                                     


The books above are VERY heavy going for the modern reader !





Above : Pages scribbled in his notebook hidden under his cloak on the Haj

Above : Note Dorothy was the famous potter of birds. 

Above : Portrait by his daughter Dorothy the bird sculptress


Click here to read about his daughter Dorothy famous bird potter 

 Click here to read about his brother Henry author of the Theberton Chronicles and other travel books