Synopses & Reviews
Focusing on travel journals by writers, navigators, philosophers, scientists, and anthropologists--from the eighteenth-century grand tour to the modern period--Dennis Porter explores how male authors at different historical moments conceptualized and represented the lands they encountered. Efforts to portray unfamiliar peoples and cultures are shown to give rise to rich and complex works, in which individual psychic investments frequently subvert an inherited cultural discourse. In exploring the various uses and pleasures of travel, Porter interprets it as a transgressive activity animated by desire and haunted by different forms of guilt.
Broad in its historical scope and interdisciplinary in its approach, the book draws on literary theory, psychoanalysis, gender criticism, and the social history of ideas. Texts analyzed include works by Boswell, Diderot, Bougainville, Cook, Stendhal, Darwin, Flaubert, Freud, D. H. Lawrence, T. E. Lawrence, Gide, Lvi-Strauss, Barthes, and V. S. Naipaul.
Originally published in 1990.
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