sabato 14 aprile 2007

Medieval Travels

Travel Literature
Travel literature is a popular genre of published work today. However, it is rarely a dispassionate and scientific recording of conditions in other lands. As a literary genre, it has certain conventions. Readers are generally seeking the exotic, the other, the different in the places they explore in literary mode. We want to learn about the headhunters of Borneo, not the oil rig workers; the wildebeest and gazelles of Africa, not the various species of rats; the temples of Greece, not the takeaway hamburger restaurants. We would rather see the inhabitants of a Swiss mountain village dressed in anachronistic clothes that they wear for an annual culture festival than in their jeans and T-shirts. We may also be seeking our own origins and trying to tie our culture and customs to a sense of place. Australians and Americans lap up literary tours of the historic monuments of England and Europe. We mostly are not terribly interested in their football teams or descriptions of the London Stock Exchange. We demand disjunctions of time, place and continuity, not accuracy.
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