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Women's Travel Narratives in Early Modern Japan

Genre Imperatives, Gender Consciousness and Status Questioning

Laura Nenzi

In the two and a half centuries of Tokugawa rule (1600–1868) Japan underwent profound transformations of an economic, social, political and cultural nature. What began as an era of warrior rule, of apparently strict application of the law and of theoretically impenetrable social compartments evolved at a fast pace into a time when popular culture attained unprecedented brilliance, the samurai’s identity as fighters was virtually nullified and money often supplanted rank in mediating access to services. In this environment, travel and travel narratives came to play a significant role in the commoners’ gradual assertion of their own personas. Through a confrontation with otherness mediated by cultural precedent and implemented by detachment from the ordinary, the space of travel allowed for alternative creations of the self and re-definitions of the individual in society. Travel, to a great many people of all social standings, offered both a chance for recreation (in the leisure-related connotation of the term) and for re-creation (that is, re-generation, or creation of a new persona). Detachment from one’s pre-assigned social niche offered the possibility to challenge, however momentarily, one’s roles and identity by subtly questioning the parameters of gender and status that defined the individual in the space of the ordinary.

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Captured by Texts

Travel Tales of Captivity in Rabbinic Literature

Joshua Levinson

Although travel narratives are notoriously difficult to define, they all concern the crossing of some sort of boundary; “an encounter between self and other that is brought about by a movement through space” ( Thompson 2011: 10 ). Now borders, as

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Travel, Authority, and Framing the Subject

Elizabeth Justice’s A Voyage to Russia and Amelia

Matthew W. Binney

Russia contain the same travel narrative, yet the second edition includes more biography in an additional Introduction and four letters, which were also published in her semi-autobiography. Referring to such biographical elements as “Truth,” Elizabeth

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At the Threshold to the New World

Equator Crossings, Sunsets, and Claude Lévi-Strauss’s Tristes Tropiques

Michael Bies

equator crossings as travel narratives. As travel narratives, the accounts do not merely depict the ceremonies and rituals performed but they indeed mark, or reenact, such crossings by narrating them as “liminal” events, to borrow Victor Turner’s phrase, 5

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Introduction

Print Culture, Mobility, and The Pacific, 1920–1950

Victoria Kuttainen and Susann Liebich

, thus explore how print culture was part of the practices, experiences, mediations, and representations of travel and mobility. The special section moves beyond studies of travel writing and the literary analysis of travel narratives by discussing a

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New Mobilities, Spaces, and Ideas to Market

European Travel Writers and the Making of a Genre—Comment

Steven D. Spalding

both fields of inquiry. I examine the ambitions of the section, discuss strengths and weaknesses of each article, and then conclude with thoughts on ways forward. The introduction explains that “itinerant knowledge” is about travel narratives, mobility

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Landscapes and Races in Early Twentieth-Century Peru

The Travels of José Uriel García and Aurelio Miró Quesada Sosa

Rupert J. M. Medd

aficionados alike, and its overall direction was to assist the government in their attempts to modernize and attract investors. The ensuing debates and circulation of travel narratives opened up theoretical spaces from which to talk back to and put distance

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What Am I StIll Doing Here?

Travel, Travel Writing, and Old Age

Robin Jarvis

,” which, Alain de Botton suggests, has fueled some of the best travel narratives (2002: 117). Some travel writers do renounce the genre well before the end of their literary careers: Jonathan Raban, for example, has not published a travel book since

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Humanitarian Ideals between the Wars

(Re)Constructing Switzerland through Travel Writing

Sara Steinert Borella

Swiss authors and travelers Ella Maillart and Annemarie Schwarzenbach set off to drive from Switzerland to Afghanistan in a Ford roadster in late 1939, shortly before the outbreak of World War II. Their subsequent texts reveal as much about cultural norms prevalent in Switzerland in the late 1930s as they do about the actual journey to Afghanistan. This article explores Ella Maillart's The Cruel Way (1947) and Annemarie Schwarzenbach's All the Roads Are Open (2011) as constructions of the humanitarian principles that the Swiss have come to call their own. Both travel narratives call into question the national value of neutrality while echoing the language of emerging political and legal human rights discourses. The travel narratives of Maillart and Schwarzenbach thus contribute to the development of a literary discourse of human rights that will later become the standard narrative for Switzerland during and following World War II.

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Representation of an Absent Space

Construction of the United States and New York in 1950s and 1960s Czech Travel Writing

Mirna Šolić

Early postwar Czech travel writing was mainly concerned with representations of countries from the newly emerging Soviet Bloc and former European colonies in the developing world. In this way, travel writing played a role in nation building and the creation of new cultural identity. However, following the slow process of political liberalization, the United States became an increasingly visible feature of travel narratives, concomitant with interest and reception of American literature in the second half of the 1950s and throughout the 1960s. While focusing on the analysis of space and articulation of the identities of travelers/narrators, this article tracks the re-emergence of the image of the United States in various types of travel narratives in order to depict a trajectory from the representation of a strictly bipolar world in political reportage from the early 1950s, to its subversion in the travel writing of the 1960s.