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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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Maureen Mulligan

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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In The Eyes of Some Britons

Aleppo, an Enlightenment City

Mohammad Sakhnini

This article examines the travel accounts of some eighteenth-century British travelers to Aleppo. It shows how these travelers’ identities were steeped in the world of others—in the entanglement with people from different cultures and religions—with no mention recalled in their diaries that Islam and Muslims were their enemies. As this article shows, these Britons posited Aleppo as a multi- cultural, multireligious city in which Europeans were not only men of riches and influence but also free to pursue their cultural and religious practices. This article concludes by emphasizing that British enlightenment practices—toleration, improvement, and freedom—were pursued both within European grand cities such as Paris, Edinburgh, and London as well as in Aleppo.

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Collecting and Memory

A Study of Travel Archives

Lee Arnold and Thomas van der Walt

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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Tourist versus Traveler Revisited

Back to the Eighteenth Century

Giuli Liebman Parrinello

Although a great deal has been written about the constantly debated relationship between tourist and traveler (tourism and travel) with often quite different ideological approaches being adopted, nevertheless consensus still seems to be a distant reality. In this article, the reasons for this apparent theoretical impasse are explored by tracing its historical origins. Most scholars agree that tourism as a modern phenomenon appeared on the horizon of Western European society in the second half of the eighteenth century, thereby allowing a broad historical and dualistic conceptualization of tourism, which added to its dynamic characteristic (travel) a notion of temporary sojourn including leisure (villeggiatura, spas, etc.). The background of an articulated Enlightenment revealed not only a new anthropological curiosity about the Other, but also features like conspicuous consumption and eudaemonism, which played and continue to exert a fundamental role in the tourism of yesterday and today. Furthermore, the emerging dialectic between the new social actor (the tourist) and the movement (tourism) can currently be read as a substantial and dramatic “figuration“ (Elias 1978a), encompassing unforeseen consequences within the framework of communication.

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Have You Ever Been in Bosnia?

British Military Travelers in the Balkans since 1992

Catherine Baker

Tens of thousands of British military personnel traveled in former Yugoslavia as peacekeepers between 1992 and 2007. The settlements where British forces established their military presence and supply chain were conceptually far from former Yugoslavia's tourist sites, but military travelers made sense of them by drawing on the commonplaces of previous travel accounts and the lessons of pre-deployment training. British military travelers constructed themselves as often frustrated helpers in Bosnia who struggled with political limitations on their activities but found satisfaction in improving socio-economic relations at the level of the immediate community. For troops, long otiose periods in a stabilizing and startlingly cheap country engendered a touristic sensibility. This article draws on published memoirs and more than fifty new oral history interviews with British peacekeepers and their Bosnian employees to illustrate how British military travelers drew on, perpetuated, and changed the patterns and representation of British travel to the Balkans.

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Reshaping Empire

Airline Travelers and Colonial Encounters in the 1930s

Chandra D. Bhimull

In the 1920s, Imperial Airways, the first national airline and antecedent of British Airways, launched in Britain. Within a few years, it flew passengers to Britain's overseas territories for the first time. This essay analyzes travel writings from these first flyers. It combines anthropological and historical approaches to expose the advent of airline travel transforming colonial encounters. It argues that the integration of high speed and the verticality of flight dramatically altered how metropolitan travelers related to the landscapes and lives literally beneath them. An anthrohistorical inquiry into the impact of airborne mobility, it also wonders how this new way of moving affected people on the ground, especially those in colonies. Scarcely examined in tandem, regard for both groups illuminates how the airliner's three-dimensional movements remapped racial hierarchies. Consideration of this new geometry of power helps us reimagine where empire and oppression, as lived experiences, are located, fueled, and executed.

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Gender and Culture in the Turkish Province

The Observations of a Russian Woman Traveler (1868)

Evguenia Davidova

This article examines Maria F. Karlova's relatively unknown travelogue about her visit to Ottoman Macedonia and Albania in 1868. She was a sister of the prominent Slavist scholar and diplomat Alexander F. Gil'ferding and traveled with him. She appears to be the only known Russian female traveler to publish a travelogue about the Ottoman Balkans until the late 1870s. Karlova constructs her gender identity through elite lenses against three principal backdrops: the Turkish province, Europe, and Russia. She offers an example of how gender and class can be inserted into discourses about Russian identity and Russia's place in Europe's symbolic map of modernity. She also introduces gender issues into debates about Russia's political interests and Slavophile views about the Balkans. This article argues that Karlova asserts her sense of belonging to European elite culture in order to raise the issue of women's emancipation. The travelogue provides insights into the process of gender construction in Russia. The intertwined themes of gender, class, and national identity are compared to contemporaneous Victorian women's travelogues.

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Counting Up the Lies

A Self-Reflexive Investigation of Craft and Fictionalization in a Modern Travel Book

Tim Hannigan

Travel writers seldom reveal the degree to which they deploy fictional elements in their notionally nonfictional books, nor do they discuss the precise motivations for and mechanics of fictionalization and fabrication in travel writing. In this article a travel-writing practitioner turned travel-writing scholar analyzes his own work: the thirteen-year-old manuscript of The Ghost Islands, an unpublished travel book about Indonesia. This analysis reveals various patterns of fabrication across what was presented as and intended to be a “true account,” including the craft-driven fabrications necessitated by reordering and amalgamating events, the omissions generated by attempts to overcome belatedness and to express antitouristic sentiments, the fictional elements introduced through the handling of dialogue and translation, and the self-fictionalization impelled by awareness of genre conventions. The article highlights the significance of writerly craft as a key—and largely overlooked—variable in the scholarly analysis of travel-writing texts.

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"It is Japan, but yet there is a difference somehow"

Editorial Change and Yezo in Isabella Bird's Unbeaten Tracks in Japan

Andrew Elliott

Substantially broadening the scope of previous scholarship on Isabella Bird's Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, this article draws attention to the editorial reworking that transformed the two-volume text (1880) into the abridged popular edition (1885), arguing that it is the latter that marks itself more successfully as a "travel" - not "touristic" - account. Moreover, in its redefinition of Yezo (Ezo, Hokkaido) as a climactic destination, many of the instabilities and anxieties of the Honshu travels are herein managed. While this process is quite clearly contingent on an assertion of Bird's difference from the Ainu, particularly in her adopted role as ethnologist/ethnographer, it is effected most successfully through the transfer of tropes of "savagery" from Ainu to Japanese.