Ever since the late eighteenth century, Tibet has exercised a particular hold on the Western imagination. A Himalayan kingdom, difficult to reach, it remained seemingly faithful to its age-old traditions, high above the great changes sweeping over the modern world. The Shangri-la of James Hilton’s Lost Horizon in 1933 was not his invention; the pacific, magical realm was already there as the land of Kim’s lama, described by Rudyard...
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