Travel literature is travel writing aspiring to literary value.

Travel literature typically records the experiences of an author touring a place for the pleasure of travel. An individual work is sometimes called a travelogue or itinerary. Travel literature may be cross-cultural or transnational in focus, or may involve travel to different regions within the same country. Accounts of spaceflight may also be considered travel literature. Literary travelogues generally exhibit a coherent narrative or aesthetic beyond the logging of dates and events as found in travel journals or a ship's log. Travel literature is closely associated with outdoor literature and the genres often overlap with no definite boundaries. Another subgenre, invented in the 19th century, is the guide book. Early examples of travel literature include Pausanias' Description of Greece in the 2nd century CE, and the travelogues of Ibn Jubayr (1145–1214) and Ibn Batutta (1304–1377), both of whom recorded their travels across the known world in detail. The travel genre was a fairly common genre in medieval Arabic literature.[1] One of the earliest known records of taking pleasure in travel, of travelling for the sake of travel and writing about it, is Petrarch's (1304–1374) ascent of Mount Ventoux in 1336. He states that he went to the mountaintop for the pleasure of seeing the top of the famous height. His companions who stayed at the bottom he called frigida incuriositas ("a cold lack of curiosity"). He then wrote about his climb, making allegorical comparisons between climbing the mountain and his own moral progress in life. Michault Taillevent, a poet for the Duke of Burgundy, travelled through the Jura Mountains in 1430 and left us with his personal reflections, his horrified reaction to the sheer rock faces, and the terrifying thunderous cascades of mountain streams.Antoine de la Sale (c. 1388–c. 1462), author of Petit Jehan de Saintre, climbed to the crater of a volcano in the Lipari Islands in 1407, leaving us with his impressions. "Councils of mad youth" were his stated reasons for going. In the mid 15th century, Gilles le Bouvier, in his Livre de la description des pays, gave us his reason to travel and write: Because many people of diverse nations and countries delight and take pleasure, as I have done in times past, in seeing the world and things therein, and also because many wish to know without going there, and others wish to see, go, and travel, I have begun this little book. In 1589, Richard Hakluyt (c. 1552–1616) published Voyages, a foundational text of the travel literature genre. Other later examples of travel literature include accounts of the Grand Tour. Aristocrats, clergy, and others with money and leisure time travelled Europe to learn about the art and architecture of its past. One tourism literature pioneer was Robert Louis Stevenson (1850– 1894). Travel literature also became popular during the Song Dynasty (960–1279) of medieval China.[2] The genre was called 'travel record literature' (youji wenxue), and was often written in narrative, prose, essay and diary style.[3] Travel literature authors such as Fan Chengda (1126–1193) and Xu Xiake (1587–1641) incorporated a wealth of geographical and topographical information into their writing, while the 'daytrip essay' Record of Stone Bell Mountain by the noted poet and statesman Su Shi (1037–1101) presented a philosophical and moral argument as its central purpose.[4]

Literary travel writing also occurs when an author. Naipaul's India: A Wounded Civilization. H. Fiction Fictional travelogues make up a large proportion of travel literature. 8th cent. natural history and travel. The Americans. Sanderson and Gerald Durrell. These authors are naturalists. as in V. but Holmes was the first person to put all of these elements together into documentary travel lectures. Voltaire's Candide or Samuel Johnson's The History of Rasselas. photographer and filmmaker.[5] In 18th century Britain. S. Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957) and The Dharma Bums (1958) are fictionalized accounts of his travels across the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s. slide shows. Robert Louis Stevenson. Sometimes a writer will settle into a locality for an extended period. famous in another field. Homer's Odyssey (c. Welsh author Jan Morris and Englishman Eric Newby are or were widely acclaimed as travel writers although Morris is also a historian and Theroux a novelist. Mary Wollstonecraft. Bill Bryson and William Least Heat-Moon. travel literature was commonly known as the book of travels. and motion pictures were all in existence before Holmes began his career. though based on imaginary and even highly fantastic journeys – Dante's Divine Comedy. Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. The White Mary. This is similarly the case in Rebecca West's work on Yugoslavia. Examples of such writers are Samuel Johnson. D. One contemporary example of a real life journey transformed into a work of fiction is travel writer Kira Salak's novel. Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels. Charles Dickens. Rebecca West and John Steinbeck. Paul Theroux. Ivan T. where a trip becomes the occasion for extended observations on a nation and people. Travel literature often intersects with essay writing. BCE) – while other works. Travel and nature writing merge in many of the works by Sally Carrighar. who coined the term "travelogue". who write in support of their fields of study. Prince of Abissinia – nevertheless contain factual elements. Deborah Tall's The Island of the White Cow and Peter Mayle's best-selling A Year in Provence and its sequels. Although it may be desirable in some contexts to distinguish fictional from non-fictional works. which mainly consisted of maritime diaries. absorbing a sense of place while continuing to observe with a travel writer's sensibility. Examples of such writings include Lawrence Durrell's Bitter Lemons. as in the famous instance of the travel writings of Marco Polo or John Mandeville. which takes place in Papua New Guinea and the Congo and is largely based on her own experiences in those countries . Travel stories. almost every famous writer worked in the travel literature form Travelogues Burton Holmes was an American traveler.In the 18th century. Lawrence. Charles Darwin wrote his famous account of the journey of HMS Beagle at the intersection of science. such distinctions have proved notoriously difficult to make in practice. Many "fictional" works of travel literature are based on factual journeys – Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and presumably. travels and writes about his or her experiences. as was the profession of travel lecturer. Hilaire Belloc.

globalization. co-edited with T. journals. Gone Primitive: Modern Intellects.[10] The first issue of Studies in Travel Writing was published the same year. through his two co-edited volumes of essays on travel writing. anthologies. attracted over one hundred scholars and led to the foundation of the International Society for Travel Writing (ISTW). Discourses of Difference: An Analysis of Women’s Travel Writing by Sara Mills.g.g.Travel literature in criticism The systematic study of travel literature emerged as a legitimate field of scholarly inquiry in the mid-1990s. First. industrialization. globalization and its impact has become an attractive theme for travel writers. an inquiry into the primitivist presentation of foreign cultures. as well as a proliferation of travel writing anthologies. Language. explorations of the political functions of travel (e. along with the re-imagining of . Women Travelers in Colonial India: The Power of the Female Gaze [1998] by Indira Ghose). notably through the journal Studies in Travel Writing. English Travel Writing: From Pilgrimages to Postcolonial Explorations (2000) by Barbara Korte). most notably Comparative Literature. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (1992). Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing (2002). Hooper. an inquiry into the intersection of gender and colonialism during the nineteenth century.g. A plurality of factors has contributed to this enthusiasm. Levi-Strauss. organized by Donald Ross at the University of Minnesota in 1997. pre-1995 monographs are: Abroad (1980) by Paul Fussell. and Perspectives in Travel Writing (2004). travel writing far from being marginalized. and migration is expressed in other fields of literary study. as a consequence of the impact of modernization. Indeed. Radicals on the Road: The Politics of English Travel Writing in the 1930s [2001] by Bernard Schweizer). organizations. However.g. Haunted Journeys: Desire and Transgression in European Travel Writing (1991) by Dennis Porter. an analysis of colonial anxiety by Ali Behdad. „Tristes Tropique‟. and encyclopedias. The first international travel writing conference. Europe and Asia. and with it invigorating travel writing. “Snapshots from Abroad”. Among the most important. and Translation [2000] by Michael Cronin). The study of travel writing developed most extensively in the late 1990s. Hulme. postcolonial perspectives on travel (e. This growing interdisciplinary preoccupation with cultural diversity. laments the disappearance of adventurous travel. a close look at the psychological correlatives of travel. has emerged with a renewed vigour and intensity. the rise of post-colonial theory and post-colonial studies. Mary Louise Pratt's influential study of Victorian travel writing‟s dissemination of a colonial mind-set. Savage Minds (1990) by Marianna Torgovnick. globalization. Tim Youngs is a driving force behind the growth of the field. Annual scholarly conferences about travel writing. encouraged by the currency of Foucauldian criticism and Edward Said's postcolonial landmark study Orientalism. and Belated Travelers (1994). monographs. Second. in his classic work. held in the USA. despite Levi-Strauss‟ pessimism. saw an unprecedented upswing in the number of published travel literature monographs and essay collections. Major directions in recent travel writing scholarship include: studies about the role of gender in travel and travel writing (e. Across the Lines: Travel. co-edited with G. edited by Tim Youngs. this sentiment is consonant with the theme of loss that activates the book. and studies about the function of language in travel and travel writing (e. an exploration of British interwar travel writing as escapism. with its own conferences.

The very term post-colonial writing compels to compare this body of writing with the corpus of colonial travel writing which preceded it. have given a new impetus to the investigation of travel literature in relation to questions of power. As commentators like Homi Bhabha have pointed out. the way history and anthropology buttress the travel narrative constitutes its defining feature. cultural intervention and modes of sense-making. critics have pointed out that that his texts have become a site of an ideological split. sign. “everyone who writes about the orient must locate himself vis-a-vis the orient. be on our guard against seeking to establish a simple contrast between colonial and post-colonial writing. There are obvious discrepancies within colonial travel writing as well. colonial writers located themselves in a space suffused with superiority. archival investigation. The concept of narrative authority in travel literature occupies a contested theoretical space. on the other. power. His books such as “In an Antique Land” and “Dancing in Cambodia. In this work. the textual display of its impossibility.”This book represents the confluence of travel. subverts and repudiates colonial travel writing. This aspect opens up an interesting window into the textual economies and rhetorical strategies fuelling travel literature. It is evident that colonial travel writing operates firmly within the discursive matrix of Orientalism..” Clearly. the travel writings of Amitav Ghosh who enjoys a wide reputation as a novelist of the first importance. Admittedly. Ghosh uncovers a narrative of an Indian traveller to Aden. Post-colonial travel writing extends. Colonial travel is not monolithic any more than post-colonial travel writing is. desire. An important facet of travel writing is the complex ways in which narrative and discursive authority is acquired by the writers. anthropology and fictional recreation. What we find in colonial travel literature is a narrative authority acquired and established through the juxtaposition of a set of binaries” superior culture/ inferior culture. In the Cairo archives. On the one hand. This historical investigation combined with the author‟s travels from India to Egypt” both Third World countries with a long history. As the author explores the developments of the twentieth century. Flaubert is generally regarded as a travel writer of distinction. Jews. Post-colonial travel writings seek to unsettle these binaries. he also succeeds in bringing out vividly the close contact that existed among Arabs. and against which it is presumed to react in different ways. Middle East and India. The author has a remarkable ability to lead the reader forward with an irresistible narrative flow. some of them are highly abstract and exceedingly complex. of curse. expands.cultural encounters that it has promoted. These are some of the questions that one has to keep in mind as one moves forward into the analysis of narrative authority in travel writing. there is a desire to transcend the power relations of Orientalism through non-participation. in doing so. Colonial travel literatures were inextricably linked with Orientalism as Edward Said defined it. he discusses his field work in the Nile delta. modernity/primitivism. the relationship between the Western narrator and his Other is characterized by a deep ambivalence “the Other is both an object of attraction and repulsion at the same time resulting in the simultaneous generation of narcissism and paranoia. . representation. scientific world view/ superstition. India. In this book. It is many-sided and raises issues of great complexity related to textuality. For example. he is a business employee of a Jewish merchant living in Mangalore. Said remarked that. We must. he comes across a historically significant connection between the Mediterranean. However. enlightenment/darkness. and Indians through instrumentalities of trade and travel.

who possess little or no understanding of. As we sharpen our analytical interest in post-colonial writing. . some of the rhetorical strategies and representational devices that Ghosh deploys enable him to invest his narrative voice with a greater sense of intimacy. The first is through the encircling of cultural commonalities and shared social experiences of the observer and observed. Amitav Ghosh. where the observer defiantly occupies a privileged space. and some post colonial writers as well. A number of Indian-born or Indian-linked writers such as V. Naipaul. the culture and social structure of Egypt. Pico Iyer have authored travel narratives that are compellingly readable and offer useful points of contrast with colonial travel literatures. . through which the writer has acquired narrative authority. Unlike colonial travel writers. the cultures they are writing about. Salman Rushdie. There are three important ways. cordiality. and even less admiration for. in this text no such asymmetrical relationship exists. Vikram Seth. the history. and authority. travel literature produced by postcolonial writers should stir our imaginations and promote close study. Ghosh intimates to us his profound comprehension of the culture that he is dealing with. The second way in which Amitav Ghosh succeeds in securing narrative authority is through the purposive display of his sympathetic understanding of the language.S. to my mind.Our focus here is on the ways in which travel writers purchase a sense of narrative authority. Third. Unlike in the colonial travel writing.

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