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Travellers, Novelists, and Gentlemen

Constructing Male Narrative Personae in British Travel Books, from the Beginnings to the Second World War


Grzegorz Moroz

Travel writing studies have been focused mostly on women travel writers and on representations of the world and the other. This book adopts a novel perspective which diachronically combines the issues of genre and gender. The author postulates that the genre of the travel book in the British literary tradition was established and developed in the eighteenth century alongside the novel and the autobiography. He cogently presents the developments in earlier non-fictional travel narratives in order to expose both their similarities and fundamental differences from modern travel books. Underlying his research is the conviction that the narrative personae of travel books have always been placed in the foreground because of the key role of sentimental discourse and celebrity culture. This book competently analyses the main trends, techniques and constraints in the process of constructing male narrative personae in British travel books written between 1755 and 1939.


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I am grateful to the Clifford and Mary Corbridge Trust for two grants which enabled my extensive research in the most wonderful library in the world: Cambridge University Library. I am grateful to Prof. Bernfried Nugel, Chairman of the International Aldous Huxley Society, for the invitation, encouragement, and warmth during my research visit in the Centre for Aldous Huxley Studies at the English Seminar of the University of Münster. I am grateful to Prof. Tim Youngs, Director of Nottingham Trent University’s Centre for Travel Writing Studies for the invitation, encouragement and help during my research visit in his Centre. I am grateful to Prof. Krzysztof Hejwowski (University of Warsaw) for his constant support and encouragement, I am grateful and indebted to Dr. Barbara Polityska whom nothing escapes. Portions of Chapter Five appeared in an earlier version as “The Narrative Personae of Aldous Huxley”, Aldous Huxley Annual, Volume 9 (2009), pp. 145- 182. Portions of Chapter One were published as “Travel Books as a Genre in the Anglophone Literary Tradition”, in: Metamorphoses of Travel Writing: Across Theories, Genres, Centuries and Literary Traditions, ed. by Grzegorz Moroz and Jolanta Sztachelska (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010), pp. 21-29. I am grateful to the publishers, LIT Verlag and Cambridge Scholars Publishing, for permission to use the material here.

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