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Travellers, Novelists, and Gentlemen

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

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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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PART ONE

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Chapter One Travel Books as Objects of Scholarly Interest Travel Books and Travel Writing: Generic Issues in Synchronic and Diachronic Perspectives The Anti-Generic Bias of Anglophone Scholarship Charles Forsdick—himself a professor of French Literature at Liverpool University and the author of numerous articles and four books on travel literature in French— wrote in New Approaches to Twentieth-Century Travel Literature in French: Genre, History, Theory (2006) that: It has been claimed that anglophone scholarship, heavily influenced by postcolonialism and notions of (neo)colonial discourse, has focused on travel literature's ideological taintedness to the detriment of considerations of the text's literariness, whereas many francophone scholars, drawing on narratology and genre theory, tend to emphasize literary typology to the detriment of understanding what Edward Said has usefully dubbed the “text's worldliness.”1 And by quickly adding that “careful consideration of form and genre can in fact enable reflection on the textualization of travel,”2 he expressed his conviction that a middle of the road approach, avoiding the extremities of anglophone and francophone scholarship, and at the same time drawing strongly on both of them is possible; he was to put this into practise in his book. I, in turn, believe that such an approach can be fruitfully employed to trace the developments of the travel book as a genre. Considerations in relation to forms, history, generic definitions and generic boundaries have never been at the centre of the attention of anglophone scholars since they started writing in a more or less regular...

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