Edward Said's oft cited claim that Orientalists past and present have spun imaginary geographies where they sought ground truth, has launched a plethora of studies of fictive geographies. Representations often reveal more about the culture of the writer than that of the people and places written about. Yet the study of imaginary geographies has raised many questions about Western writers' abilities to provide representations of foreign places; there is now much interest in Western mis-representations of places (imaginary geographies).
Writes of Passage explores the interplay between a system of "othering" which travelers bring to a place, and the "real" geographical difference they discover upon arrival. Exposing the tensions between the imaginary and real, Duncan and Gregory and a team of leading international contributors focus primarily upon travelers from the 18th and 19th Centuries to pin down the imaginary within the context of imperial power. The contributors focus on travel to three main regions: Africa, South Asia, and Europe - with the European examples being drawn from Britain, France and Greece.
This book presents a unique contribution from geographers - with their sensitivity to issues of place, space and landscape - to contemporary studies on travel writing, migration and other related areas across geography, literary criticism, cultural studies and history. Offering important insights from leading writers in the field, as well as a critical survey of travel writing across an international spectrum, Writes of Passage represents a valuable addition to the burgeoning literature on travel writing.
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Taylor & Francis
December 22, 1998
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