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Witness to the world

The term "travel writer" fails to express the literary range of master stylist Norman Lewis.

By Julian Evans   October 2003

Book: The Tomb in Seville Author: Norman Lewis Price: (Jonathan Cape, ?14.99)

When Norman Lewis died in July, at the age of 95, the obituaries persisted in referring to him, inadequately, as a travel writer. Even when preceded by the epithet, “one of our greatest,” the description seems to shrink his literary achievement, to shut Lewis up in a distinctly British and often frivolous genre, in which English prose can be chained to what Scott Fitzgerald once referred to as “that emasculated form of humour we call fun.”

Though he wrote, with humour, about his journeys and residences in foreign…

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