The Witness and the Other World: Exotic European Travel Writing, 400-1600

The Witness and the Other World: Exotic European Travel Writing, 400-1600

by Mary B. Campbell
     
 
Surveying exotic travel writing in Europe from late antiquity to the age of discover, The Witness and the Other World illustrates the fundamental human desire to change places, if only in the imagination.Mary B. Campbell looks at works by pilgrims, crusaders, merchants, discoverers, even armchair fantasists such as Mandeville, as well as the writings of Marco Polo,

Overview

Surveying exotic travel writing in Europe from late antiquity to the age of discover, The Witness and the Other World illustrates the fundamental human desire to change places, if only in the imagination.Mary B. Campbell looks at works by pilgrims, crusaders, merchants, discoverers, even armchair fantasists such as Mandeville, as well as the writings of Marco Polo, Columbus, and Walter Raleigh. According to Campbell, these travel accounts are exotic because they bear witness to alienated experiences; European travelers, while claiming to relate fact, were often passing on monstrous projections. She contends that their writing not only documented but also made possible the conquest of the peoples whom she travelers described, and she shows how travel literature contributed to the genesis of the modern novel and the modern life sciences.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The author follows the path of the travel-writer through twelve centuries. Attitudes and expectations are analyzed from the days when the 'other world' was assumed to be really 'other' and the 'witness' was prepared to encounter all manner of grotesque creatures. . . . Pleasure as well as profit may be derived from reading this book, not once but twice."—Geographic Journal

"Campbell has provided a valuable service, not only in attempting to map such distant and difficult terrain but also in drawing attention to its variety, interest, and worth, while at the same time producing a lively and readable book."—Speculum

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801421372
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
02/29/2000
Series:
9/26/1997
Pages:
312

Meet the Author

Mary Baine Campbell is Professor of English at Brandeis University. She is the author of The Witness and the Other World: Exotic European Travel Writing, 400–1600, also from Cornell, in addition to two books of poetry.

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