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In 1819 Alexander Csoma de Koros, a young Hungarian scholar, set off on an odyssey in search of his own identity, or rather of the origins of the Magyar people. He ended up, through a bizarre sequence of events, in a Himalayan monastery - compiling an English dictionary of Tibetan for the British... Today we have Csoma de Koros to thank for much of what we know about Tibetan culture. Yet the marvel of his life is that, though he spent most of it in crushing hardship in the foothills of the Himalayas, he never set out to be a Tibetologist at all. The desire to travel, as Edward Fox so deftly illustrates, can be a terrible burden on the soul. Today we have Csoma de Koros to thank for much of what we know about Tibetan culture. Yet the marvel of his life is that, though he spent most of it in crushing hardship in the foothills of the Himalayas, he never set out to be a Tibetologist at all. The desire to travel, as Edward Fox so deftly illustrates, can be a terrible burden on the soul.
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