Travel gets us from one place to another—often with wonderful attendant enjoyment–but exploration makes us understand our travel, the places we travel to—and ourselves. The essays in this collection constitute a major step toward this understanding. They open up new areas for concern and draw many valuable insights and conclusions.
Flight 785 is bound for London and Brussels, but its passengers are destined to arrive at an unexpected destination. Theirs is a journey that will continue until they each find their true home and, in the process, uncover their innermost being.
Written by Naomi Gladish Smith, The Arrivals will intrigue readers from all walks of life and faiths and provoke discussion. We follow a small group of travelers---a husband and wife on their way to Ireland, a young woman beginning a fellowship at a prestigious British university, business people on their way to various conferences and meetings in Brussels, a minister coming to terms with his wife's desertion and his own fading faith, a small boy going to meet his mother in London---as they slowly unravel the mystery of the afterlife and learn that home is truly where the heart is.
Throughout his life, James Boswell struggled to fashion a clear account of himself, but try as he might, he could not reconcile the truths of his era with those of his religious upbringing. Boswell’s Enlightenment examines the conflicting credos of reason and faith, progress and tradition that pulled Boswell, like so many eighteenth-century Europeans, in opposing directions. In the end, the life of the man best known for writing Samuel Johnson’s biography was something of a patchwork affair. As Johnson himself understood: “That creature was its own tormentor, and I believe its name was BOSWELL.”
Few periods in Boswell’s life better crystallize this internal turmoil than 1763–1765, the years of his Grand Tour and the focus of Robert Zaretsky’s thrilling intellectual adventure. From the moment Boswell sailed for Holland from the port of Harwich, leaving behind on the beach his newly made friend Dr. Johnson, to his return to Dover from Calais a year and a half later, the young Scot was intent on not just touring historic and religious sites but also canvassing the views of the greatest thinkers of the age. In his relentless quizzing of Voltaire and Rousseau, Hume and Johnson, Paoli and Wilkes on topics concerning faith, the soul, and death, he was not merely a celebrity-seeker but—for want of a better term—a truth-seeker. Zaretsky reveals a life more complex and compelling than suggested by the label “Johnson’s biographer,” and one that 250 years later registers our own variations of mind.
Originally published in 1961, this shrewd, smartly written novel follows two American men traveling in Europe. Though both have struck out for the same continent, each man’s methods of and motives for travel lead him to have a very different experience than the other. Underlying it all is the premise that Europe--the contrast, the otherness of it--can be a refiner’s fire, deeply affecting a person’s character. Europe represents a crucial step in Stern’s development as a writer and stands as a witty, sharp point of entry into his writings and the writings of novelists who rose to prominence in the 1960s.
"There is something ominous about a swift river, and something thrilling about a river of any kind."—from Beyond the Hundredth Meridian by Wallace Stegner
Beginning above Flaming Gorge Dam in southwestern Wyoming, the Green River traverses the complete variety of terrain on the Colorado Plateau before joining the Colorado River above Cataract Canyon in southeastern Utah. Like its more famous cousin, the Colorado, the Green has captivated, capsized, and cajoled all types of characters with challenges and beauty to match its geologic variety.
In A Green River Reader editor Alan Blackstock brings this mysterious, magnificent, thrilling river to the reader with an interpretive guide that will inform both river novices and river veterans. Assembled here is every significant written testament to this "awesome ditch," from Domínguez-Escalante to Kit Carson and John C. Frémont; to contemporary American naturalists and writers including Wallace Stegner, Bernard DeVoto, David Brower, Ann Zwinger, Ellen Melloy, and Edward Abbey. Those with a story to tell—those who trapped the Green’s beavers, endured its wild rapids, were humbled by its imposing canyon walls, fought for its beautiful landscapes, or whose "pulse was hurried" by the "lofty chasms, walled in by precipices of red rock"—are collected here.
If you’re headed down the Green, make sure that your dry bag or ammo can has room for just one more thing, your copy of A Green River Reader.
Illusion and Disillusionment: Travel Writing in the Modern Age seeks to understand, expand, and challenge the boundaries of the modern travelogue across several literary traditions. Through an engaging cast of characters—China-bound missionaries, an Indo-Persian diplomat, a Turkish exile in India, a French schoolteacher touring America, Arab students in Moscow, a Japanese woman writer in Europe—this volume extends the study of travel writing beyond the frameworks of colonialism, imperialism, and Orientalism, focusing on the experience of travel itself.
Ranging from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, its eight essays analyze travelers from varied nationalities and social backgrounds, who followed different itineraries, used different means of transportation, and wrote for different audiences. The authors place the East and South Asian, Middle Eastern, and European texts and travelers in their socio-historical contexts. Exploring recurrent themes and structures in a set of travel narratives, these essays contribute to broader comparative and cross-cultural studies of travel, self-writing, and transnational lives.
Northern Arcadia is a comparative study of the accounts of foreign visitors to the Nordic lands during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Before the late eighteenth century, few foreigners ventured as far as Scandinavia. The region seemed a cold hyperborean wilderness and a voyage there a daring adventure. From the mid-1760s on, however, foreigners arrived in the Nordic lands in increasing numbers, leaving numerous accounts that became increasingly popular, satisfying a growing curiosity about regions beyond the traditional grand tour.
The pre-Romantic mood of the period—with its predilection for untamed nature and for peoples uncorrupted by overrefined civilization—further stimulated fascination with the North. European titerati discovered the Nordic sagas, finding them exhilarating, passionate, imaginative, and original. The French Revolution and the ensuing European wars effectively closed off much of the Continent to foreign travel, turning attention to the still neutral northern kingdoms.
Travel literature about Scandinavia thus illuminates the shift in the European intellectual climate from the enlightened rationalism and utilitarianism of the earlier travelers in this period to the pre-Romantic sensibility of those who followed them. In a Europe torn by war and revolution, sensitive souls could find their new Arcadia in the North—at least until the Scandinavian kingdoms themselves became engulfed by the Napoleonic wars after 1805.
The first scholar to examine as a whole the travel literature dealing with Denmark, Schleswig-Holstein, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and the Færø Islands, H. Arnold Barton discusses accounts left by both the celebrated and the obscure. Well-known travelers include Vittorio Alfieri, Francisco de Miranda, Mary Wollstonecraft, Thomas Malthus, and Aaron Burr. Literary travelers of the day included Nathanael Wraxall, William Coxe, Charles Gottlob Küttner, Edward Daniel Clarke, and John Carr.
Northern Arcadia brings out contrasts: among the various Nordic lands and regions; among the reactions of travelers of differing nationality; between the earlier as opposed to the later travelers of the time; between native Scandinavian and foreign perceptions of the North; between conditions in Scandinavia and those in other parts of the Western world; between then and now. It incorporates continuity and change, reality and mentality.
Ibn Battuta was, without doubt, one of the world’s truly great travelers. Born in fourteenth-century Morocco, and a contemporary of Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta left an account in his own words of his remarkable journeys, punctuated by adventure and peril, throughout the Islamic world and beyond. Whether sojourning in Delhi and the Maldives, wandering through the mazy streets of Cairo and Damascus, or contesting with pirates and shipwreck, the indefatigable Ibn Battuta brought to vivid life a medieval world brimming with marvel and mystery. Carefully observing the great diversity of civilizations that he encountered, Ibn Battuta exhibited an omnivorous interest in such matters as food and drink; religious differences among Christians, Hindus, and Shia Muslims; and ideas about purity and impurity, disease, women, and sex.
David Waines offers here a graceful analysis of Ibn Battuta’s travelogue. This is a gripping treatment of the life and times of one of history’s most daring, and at the same time most human, adventurers.
Ron Strickland has spent a good deal of time walking. He hiked the 1200 miles of the Pacific Northwest Trail in 1983. In 2004, he completed the Pacific Crest Trail, with a 1500-mile hike from the Mojave Desert to the Columbia River. In 2009, he hiked the length of the New England Trail.
He has also held a longtime dream of showcasing the best hiking of the Rockies, Purcells, Okanogan, Cascades, Olympics, and Wilderness Coast. He spent years raising funds, recruiting volunteers, cutting brush, digging dirt, and lobbying landowners, officials, and politicians—and in 2009, the Pacific Northwest Trail, which runs from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean, traversing three National Parks and seven National Forests, was finally declared a National Scenic Trail.
In this adventurous and moving memoir, Strickland—known in the backcountry as “Pathfinder”—shares his insider view of the joys and adventures of long-distance hiking. He intersperses colorful portraits of memorable trail characters and lush descriptions of hikes he knows firsthand. He also describes the experience of conceiving and establishing the Pacific Northwest Trail, detailing the setbacks and triumphs along the way.
Pathfinder offers the rich insights and experiences of a longtime hiker, inspiring readers to the wonder of hiking and the outdoors.
Travelers, Immigrants, Inmates was first published in 1995. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Identities are always mistaken; yet they are as necessary as air to sustain life in and among communities. Frances Bartkowski uses travel writings, U.S. immigrant autobiographies, and concentration camp memoirs to illustrate how tales of dislocation present readers with a picture of the complex issues surrounding mistaken identities. In turn, we learn much about the intimate relation between language and power.
Combining psychoanalytic and political modes of analysis, Bartkowski explores the intertwining of place and the construction of identities. The numerous writings she considers include André Gide's Voyage to the Congo, Eva Hoffman's Lost in Translation, Sandra Cisneros's House on Mango Street, Zora Neale Hurston's Dust Tracks on a Road and Tell My Horse, and Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz.
Elegantly written and incisive, Travelers, Immigrants, Inmates stands at the crossroads of contemporary discussions about ethnicity, race, gender, nationalism, and the politics and poetics of identity. It has much to offer readers interested in questions of identity and cultural differences.
Frances Bartkowski is associate professor of English and director of women's studies at Rutgers University in Newark. She is the author of Feminist Utopias (1989).
History passed in review along the highways of Texas in the century 1761–1860. This was the century of exploration and settlement for the big new land, and many thousands of people traveled its trails: traders, revolutionaries, missionaries, warriors, government agents, adventurers, refugees, gold seekers, prospective settlers, land speculators, army wives, and filibusters. Their reasons for coming were many and varied, and the travelers viewed the land and its people with a wide variety of reactions. Political and industrial revolution, famine, and depression drove settlers from many of the countries of Europe and many of the states of the United States. Some were displeased with what they found in Texas, but for many it was a haven, a land of renewed hope. So large was the migration of people to Texas that the land that was virtually unoccupied in 1761 numbered its population at 600,000 a century later.
Several hundred of these travelers left published accounts of their impressions and adventures. Collectively the accounts tell a panoramic story of the land as its boundaries were drawn and its institutions formed. Spain gave way to Mexico, Mexico to the Republic of Texas, the Republic to statehood in the United States, and statehood in the Union was giving way to statehood in the Confederate states by 1860. The travelers’ accounts reflect these changes; but, more important, they tell the story of the receding frontier.
In Travelers in Texas, 1761–1860, the author examines the Texas seen by the traveler-writer. Opening with a chapter about travel conditions in general (roads or trails, accommodations, food), she also presents at some length the travelers’ impressions of the country and its people. She then proceeds to examine particular aspects of Texas life: the Indians, slavery, immigration, law enforcement, and the individualistic character of the people, all as seen through the eyes of the travelers. The discussion concludes with a “Critical Essay on Sources,” containing bibliographic discussions of over two hundred of the more important travel accounts.
In a beautifully crafted narrative that transports the reader from the salons of Europe to the shores of Tahiti, Harry Liebersohn examines the transformation of global knowledge during the great age of scientific exploration. He moves beyond the traditional focus on British and French travelers to include Germans, Russians, and some Americans, as well as the Tahitian, Hawaiian, and other Pacific islanders they encountered. Germany gets special attention because its travelers epitomized the era’s cosmopolitanism and its philosophers engaged most fully in a multicultural understanding of humanity.
Famous adventurers like Captain Cook make appearances, but it’s the observations of such naturalists as Philibert Commerson, George Forster, and Adelbert von Chamisso that helped most to generate a new understanding of these far-flung societies. These European travelers saw non-Europeans neither as “savages” nor as projections of colonial fantasies. Instead the explorers accumulated a rich storehouse of perceptions through negotiations with patrons at home, collaborators abroad, salon philosophers, and missionary rivals.
Liebersohn illuminates the transformative nature of human connections. He examines the expectations these servants of empire brought to the peoples they encountered, and acknowledges the effects of Oceanian behaviors, including unexpected notions of sexuality, on the Europeans. Equally important, he details the reception of these travelers upon their return home.
An unforgettable voyage filled with delightful characters, dramatic encounters, and rich cultural details, The Travelers’ World heralds a moment of intellectual preparation for the modern global era. We now travel effortlessly to distant places, but the questions about perception, truth, and knowledge that these intercontinental mediators faced still resonate.
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