The Emergence of Scientific Travel Since the early modern era, travel and knowledge have existed in a reciprocally enhancing relationship, as the field of Travel Writing Studies has shown. 1 When there was no other well-defined pragmatic aim
Florian Krobb and Dorit Müller
Donald H. Holly Jr.
Anthropology has had a long and uneasy relationship with the travel writing genre. In the earliest days of the discipline anthropology was a kind of travel writing, and then later, travel accounts formed the basis of much of the ethnographic record
Ongoing Ethical and Theoretical Dilemmas
Corinne Fowler and Ludmilla Kostova
As a hybrid discourse cutting across generic and disciplinary boundaries and giving expression to diverse perspectives on a wide gamut of intercultural relations, travel writing has found itself at the centre of a widening field of intellectual inquiry. This special issue focuses on the ethical parameters of travel in a range of texts produced in a variety of historical and national contexts. While the topic is not strikingly novel, the editors and contributors to this issue nevertheless believe that their critical interventions engage fruitfully both with earlier interpretations and current theoretical paradigms. The six essays that comprise this issue concentrate on specific ethical dilemmas, neither attempting fusion into a coherent body of theory nor constructing all-purpose systems of classification, but preferring instead to tackle critical practices and preconceptions from a variety of competing perspectives. As early as 1985 Mary Louise Pratt defined travel writing as ‘one of the most polyphonous of genres’, thereby alerting scholars to its resistance to the ‘disciplined’ mediation of cultural differences (Pratt 1985: 141) and hinting at the futility of generalizing methods of analysis. Taking into account the distinctive features of the object of inquiry itself, the site-specific contributions to this issue are in tune with the anti-universalist thrust of most present-day critical practice.
Michael A. Di Giovine
It has become a Structuralist truism in the social sciences to state that individuals define themselves by what they are not. It has equally become evident that travel—and particularly the voluntary, temporary, and perspectival type that we call tourism—is predicated on interaction with the Other. Travelogues are particularly salient “social facts” in this regard, for they both index such processes of identity formation, as well as contribute to them. Two edited volumes, Rolf-Hagen Schulz-Forberg's Unraveling Civilisation: European Travel and Travel Writing (2005) and John Zilcosky's Writing Travel: The Poetics and Politics of the Modern Journey (2008) provide compelling examples of how the multifarious and complementary processes of travel and travel writing not only index, but construct, European identity.
Under this rubric, Journeys presents Dr Annita Panaretou's assessment of the character of Greek travel writing and its place in a wider Balkan and European context, and a discussion of her position by three other scholars. The debate raises questions that go well beyond the immediate problem posed by the Greek case. What are the roles of history, ideology and emotion in the construction of identities? How does travel writing serve as a site in which these can be expressed, constructed and negotiated? And how, in the light of such issues, should we study particular national travel-writing traditions?
through this analysis. In spite of this, the importance of these authors, even in the narrower field of travel writing, is relatively unknown. This may be in part due to the fact that the study of German colonialism—although now firmly established
Wendy Bracewell and Alex Drace-Francis
In writings about travel, the Balkans appear most often as a place travelled to. Western writings about the Balkans revel in the different and the exotic, the violent and the primitive – traits that serve (or so commentators keep saying) as a foil to self-congratulatory definitions of the West as modern, progressive and rational. However, the Balkans have also long been travelled from. The region’s writers have offered accounts of their travels in the West and elsewhere, saying something in the process about themselves and their place in the world.
Visualizing Linguistic Space in Modern Travel Writing
This article focuses on the travelogue of the twentieth century. Deftly using the spaces of city/country to situate language and people Miranda France, in Bad Times in Buenos Aires: A Writer's Adventures in Argen tina (1999), presents a hierarchy of linguistic value and poignancy of place by semantically conflating English, Spanish, and indigenous Latin American languages with a different spatial positioning relative to the Other in the bustle of Buenos Aires. The consequence is the building of a hierarchical edifice—which metaphorically as it literally centers English, and places its speakers atop the city— situates Spanish and its speakers at a street level; and relegates indigenous peoples to the lowest metropolitan reaches—unseen and underground—marginalized to the periphery of her literary geoscape. This conflation of linguistic code with the synecdoche of space introduces another way in which to examine the politics of travel writing in a globally connected, multilingual world.
Facts, Fictions and the Invention of a Scientific Discourse in Early Modern Europe
Joan-Pau Rubiés and Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon’s endorsement of travel for the sake of the universal light of knowledge, in his posthumous scientific utopia New Atlantis (expressing his personal aspiration for the foundation of a scientific institution), identifies well the strategic place that travel literature had come to occupy in the culture of early seventeenth-century Europe. Travel literature is certainly not a unique European creation, but its remarkable development throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was crucial in the formation of a specifically Western discourse on human societies, one increasingly organised around a vision of natural and historical diversity but also tied inextricably to universalist assumptions and aspirations.
Wilfred Thesiger, Freya Stark and the 'Arabist tradition'
Freya Stark's The Southern Gates of Arabia (1936) and Wilfred Thesiger's Arabian Sands (1959) are commonly viewed as representing the last of the 'Arabist tradition'. Consequently, The Southern Gates of Arabia and Arabian Sands provide an opportunity to examine the Arabist tradition at a genealogical point of transition. Taking as its starting point the representational strategies deployed in each book, this paper will examine the extent to which these strategies are characteristic of Arabist travel writing and consider how Stark and Thesiger might be located in the context of the tradition's demise.