In 1774, British traders longed to open relations with China so they sent a young Scotsman, George Bogle, as an envoy to Tibet. Bogle became smitten by what he saw there, and struck up a remarkable friendship with the Panchen Lama. This gripping book tells the story of their two extraordinary journeys across some of the harshest and highest terrain in the world: Bogle's mission, and the Panchen Lama's state visit to China, on which British hopes were hung. Piecing together extracts from Bogle's private papers, Tibetan biographies of the Panchen Lama, the account of a wandering Hindu monk and the writings of the Emperor himself, Kate Teltsher deftly reconstructs the momentous meeting of these very different worlds.
Kate Teltscher is a Reader in English Literature at Roehampton University. She has published numerous essays in academic collections and journals, and reviewed for the Guardian and the TLS. Her doctoral research, a study of British and European writing on India in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, was published as India Inscribed (OUP, 1995). The High Road to China is her first book for a general readership.