George Borrow’s Literary Works

George Borrow became “famous overnight” when he published his account of the five years he spent in Spain working for the British and Foreign Bible Society.  The Bible in Spain, although sounding like a religious book, is really much more a travel and adventure book.  Spain was in the midst of a civil war when George Borrow was there.

The Bible in Spain itself followed on from The Zincali, which George Borrow wrote at the end of his time in Spain.  The Zincali is a study of the Spanish Gypsies and their dialect of Romany (Caló).

Lavengro is semi-autobiographical and tells the story of George Borrow’s life until his early 20’s.  Again, he led a very interesting life and his family lived in Ireland and Scotland, travelling with his father’s regiment.  Lavengro is generally considered a classic.

Lavengro is followed by The Romany Rye which continues the story and is then followed by an “Appendix”, in which George Borrow vents his anger at groups he feels have hurt him.  The Appendix was infamous at the time, but is now as a very useful insight into what George Borrow believed.

Wild Wales tells of a prolonged stay and walking tour that George Borrow took in 1854 (partly with his family).  It’s widely regarded as a classic of travel literature, and is still in print in Wales.

George Borrow also made numerous translations — many being published after his death.

Lastly, shortly before he died, George Borrow published Romano Lavo-Lil: a Romany (Gypsy) language word-list with some notes on Gypsies.