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Performing Identity

Early Seventeenth-Century Travelers to the Ruins of Troy

Vassiliki Markidou

The article focuses on three early-seventeenth-century (English and Scottish) leisure travelers’ accounts of the (alleged) ruins of Homeric Troy, namely those penned by Thomas Coryat, William Lithgow, and George Sandys. It argues that their rumination on the specific remains both shaped and reflected their manifold, fractured, and precarious identities while it also highlighted the complex dialogue taking place in these texts between a ruinous past and a fragmented and malleable present. The essay also examines the three travelers’ broken poetics, interspersed in the aforementioned accounts, and shows that they constitute highly self-aggrandizing narratives through which their authors perform their fragile identities.

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A “Steady Eye” in “A Moving World”

Comparative Perspectives on Travel Writing and Ethnography

Jörg Lehmann and Thomas Stodulka

How can travel books and narrative ethnography be compared? This article systematically examines the works of an eminent travel writer and an anthropologist with respect to paratexts, themes, lexis, named entities, and narrative positions. It combines quantitative methods with a close reading of three books. The article discusses whether a mixed-methods approach of close reading and quantitative analysis can be applied to comparing larger corpora of travel writing and ethnography.

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Unsolid Ground

Felipe Fernández-Armesto

Charles S. Maier, Once Within Borders: Territories of Power, Wealth, and Belonging since 1500 (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2016), xiii + 387 pp. Illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, and index. ISBN: $29.95.

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Among Cannibals and Headhunters

Jack London in Melanesia

Keith Newlin

Abstract

Why did London place his life and those of his crew at risk of imminent death when he voyaged to the Solomon Islands in 1908, a region he believed to be filled with cannibals and headhunters? Based on archival sources, the books London had read to prepare himself for the voyage, and recent ethno-history of the region, this article argues that London’s voyage did not occasion a more enlightened view of race, as some recent scholars have argued; indeed, his months in the Solomon Islands confirmed the racialist cast of his thinking. London undertook his journey into a region he perceived as dangerous as part of a sense of adventure that depended on demonstrating courage and manliness, and in the process he acted as a metaphoric headhunter himself.

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Book Reviews

Jackie Clarke, Melanie Kay Smith, Margret Jäger, Anne O’Connor, and Robert Shepherd

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Collecting and Memory

A Study of Travel Archives

Lee Arnold and Thomas van der Walt

Abstract

People’s travel collections serve as a memory aid to help them write travelogues, novels, or scientific reports when they return home. They may also have merely been a way to document a voyage or journey for future generations. Under the surface of any of these end uses is simply the need to collect, the need to hold on to memory—in the form of material culture, ephemera, photographic documentation or assiduous note taking. Travel archives are the materials (either in manuscript form or printed ephemera) that document the purposeful travel of an individual or group. Like family papers, they may be perceived as having limited value beyond their fellow travelers or family members. Irrespective of the motivation of the traveler, these collections often end up in repositories. How an archivist deals with this material is crucial to its future use.

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Personal Identity and Tory Commercialism in John Campbell’s The Travels and Adventures of Edward Brown (1739)

Matthew Binney

Abstract

Critics have argued that a shift toward the “inward” occurred later in eighteenth-century travel writing in part because of earlier questions of credibility. However, John Campbell’s fictional The Travels and Adventures of Edward Brown (1739) focuses upon the “inward” by drawing upon a technique already used in novels—that is, depicting the narrator as a consciousness. Consciousness, or personal identity, derives from John Locke and appears in Campbell’s travel account to demonstrate how circumstances define the narrator’s travel experiences. These circumstances at once establish the credibility of the narrator’s descriptions and also promote Campbell’s Tory commercialism. For the first, the narrator’s consciousness offers a credible account by describing how people live in time and place; for the second, the narrator demonstrates how personal identity and political ideology were attached from the outset, promoting commerce and colonialism through the narrator’s depiction of a nation’s circumstances that produce unique customs and commodities.

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The Spanish Civil War Described by Two Women Travelers

Maureen Mulligan

Abstract

This article contrasts two accounts by women written between 1936 and 1939 describing their experiences of Spain during the Spanish Civil War. The aim is to question how far travel writers have a political and ethical relation to the place they visit and to what extent they deal with this in their texts. The global politics of travel writing and the distinction between colonial and cosmopolitan travel writers affect the way a foreign culture is articulated for the home market through discursive and linguistic strategies. The texts are Kate O’Brien’s Farewell Spain (1937) and Gamel Woolsey’s Death’s Other Kingdom: A Spanish Village in 1936 (1939). The conclusions suggest women adopt a range of positions toward the Spanish conflict, depending on their personal commitment and their contact with local people, but their concern to articulate the experience of others in time of crisis has a strong ethical component.

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What Am I Still Doing Here?

Travel, Travel Writing, and Old Age

Robin Jarvis

Abstract

This article offers preliminary thoughts on travel writing from a gerontological perspective. Gender, race, and sexuality have provided important analytical frames for travel writing studies, but age has yet to function as a topic or point of reference. Through a consideration of five travel books by respected modern authors—Jan Morris, Dervla Murphy, V. S. Naipaul, Paul Theroux, and Colin Thubron—the article asks what motivates travel writers to stay “on the road” into their seventies and beyond, and what the distinctive features of travel narratives written at this life stage might be. The article aims to demonstrate the intrinsic fascination of travel books in which a strong abiding curiosity about the world coexists with an acute—and often melancholy—awareness of the passing of time and personal mortality.

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Book Reviews

William Nessly, Noel B. Salazar, Kemal Kantarci, Evan Koike, Christian Kahl, and Cyril Isnart