Travel Writing: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Travel Writing

1st Edition

By Carl Thompson


232 pages

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Paperback: 9780415444651
pub: 2011-05-12
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An increasingly popular genre – addressing issues of empire, colonialism, post-colonialism, globalization, gender and politics – travel writing offers the reader a movement between the familiar and the unknown.

In this volume, Carl Thompson:

  • introduces the genre, outlining competing definitions and key debates
  • provides a broad historical survey from the medieval period to the present day
  • explores the autobiographical dimensions of the form
  • looks at both men and women’s travel writing, surveying a range of canonical and more marginal works, drawn from both the colonial and postcolonial era
  • utilises both British and American travelogues to consider the genre's role in shaping the history of both nations.

Concise and practical, Travel Writing is the ideal introduction for those new to the subject, as well as a crucial overview of current debates in the field.


"Given the popularity of travel studies and the quality of Thompson's effort, this book seems likely to become required reading for those interested in the genre. Summing Up: Highly recommended." - P. A. Riggle, Truman State University in CHOICE

"…a really exceptional introduction to the genre … as exhaustive in its coverage as it is scrupulous in its analysis of the different forms and effects of travel writing." Robert Spencer, University of Manchester, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 48.4

"This is an outstanding volume, cogently argued and intelligently illustrated. It is a highly recommended introduction for those curious about the subject, but will also constitute for those already familiar with the field a refreshing engagement with, and firm intervention in, contemporary scholarship on the form." Charles Forsdick, University of Liverpool, Studies in Travel Writing 17.1

"Carl Thompson’s Travel Writing is a concise, informative, and helpful introduction to the genre and the practice of travel writing study. Thompson offers a lucid and skillful orientation to the genre (introduction and chapter 1). The rich intellectual landscape he paints shows that travel writing scholarship deserves greater recognition than previously credited." Ryota Nishino, University of the South Pacific

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Defining the Genre Exclusive and Inclusive Definitions of Travel Writing Traveller’s Tales: Fact and Fiction in Travel Writing The Cultural and Intellectual Status of Travel Writing 2. Travel Writing through the Ages: An Overview The Ancient World Medieval Travellers and Travel Writing Early Modern Travel Writing The Long Eighteenth Century, 1660-1837 The Victorian and Edwardian Periods, 1837-1914 Travel Writing from 1914 to the Present 3. Reporting the World Discoveries and Wonders: Some Perennial Problems in Travel Writing Shifting Protocols of Authentication and Plausibility Authority and Factuality in the Modern Travel Book 4. Revealing the Self Grand Tourists, Pilgrims and Questing Knights: Self-Fashioning in Addison’s Remarks on Italy (1705) and Ralegh’s Discoverie of Guiana (1596) Writing the Self: Travel Writing’s Inward Turn The Imperious ‘I’ 5. Representing the Other Strategies of Othering I: Travel Writing and Colonial Discourse Strategies of Othering II: Travel Writing in a Post/Neo-Colonial Era 6. Questions of Gender and Sexuality Masculinity, Travel and Travel Writing Women’s Travel Writing in the 18th and 19th Centuries: Performing Femininity on the Page Women Travellers and Colonialism Women’s Travel Writing Today

About the Author/Editor

Carl Thompson is Senior Lecturer in English at Nottingham Trent University.

About the Series

The New Critical Idiom

The New Critical Idiom is an invaluable series of introductory guides designed to meet the needs of today's students grappling with the complexities of modern critical terminology. Each book in the series provides:

  • A clear, explanatory guide to the use (and abuse) of the term
  • An original and distinctive overview by a leading literary and cultural critic
  • Helpful definitions of the boundaries between the literary and non-literary
  • Basic guidance for the introductory reader in how the term relates to the larger field of cultural representation

With a strong emphasis on clarity, lively debate and the widest possible breadth of examples, The New Critical Idiom is an indispensable guide to key topics in literary studies.

Learn more…

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