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Tourists with Typewriters

Critical Reflections on Contemporary Travel Writing
Patrick Holland and Graham Huggan
Looks at how contemporary travel writing reflects gender, cultural history, and social class

Description

The first extensive survey of contemporary travel writing, Tourists with Typewriters offers a series of challenging and provocative critical insights into a wide range of travel narratives written in English after the Second World War. The book focuses in particular on contemporary travel writers such as Jan Morris, Peter Matthiessen, V. S. Naipaul, Barry Lopez, Mary Morris, Paul Theroux, Peter Mayle, and the late Bruce Chatwin. It examines some of the reasons for travel writing's enduring popularity, and for its particular appeal to readers—many of them also travelers—in the present.

The book maps new terrain in a growing area of critical study. Although critical of travel writing's complacency and its often unacknowledged ethnocentrism, the book recognizes its importance as both a literary and cultural form. While travel writing at its worst emerges as a crude expression of economic advantage, at its best it becomes a subtle instrument of cultural self-perception, a barometer for changing views of "other" (i.e., foreign, non-Western) cultures, and a trigger for the information circuits that tap us into the wider world.

Tourists with Typewriters gauges both the best and worst in contemporary travel writing, capturing the excitement of this most volatile—and at times infuriating—of literary genres. The book will appeal to general readers interested in a closer examination of travel writing and to academic readers in disciplines such as literary/cultural studies, geography, history, anthropology, and tourism studies.

Patrick Holland, Associate Professor of English, University of Guelph, was born in New Zealand and educated in New Zealand and Canada.

Graham Huggan, Professor of English, University of Munich, was born in Hong Kong and educated in England and in British Columbia.

"In its thrust and scope, I think it's the most interesting study of the modern travel book to date."
---Colin Thubron, author of In Siberia and Behind the Wall

"A goldmine of information and stimulation . . . Critical without becoming polemic, this articulate and well-written volume offers a wealth of insightful commentary on the works of a number of contemporary travel writers-among them, V.S. Naipaul, Barry Lopez, Jan Morris, Paul Theroux-and suggests a number of avenues for further inquiry. Holland concludes with an excellent bibliography of recent travel literature. A must for all academic and public libraries."
---Choice

Praise / Awards

  • ". . . one of the very best books on travel writing and the best I have read on contemporary travel literature. It is impressive in its range of references and perceptive in its readings. In showing how travel writing has flourished through late-capitalist hyper-commodification it avoids the pseudo-radicalism of criticism that looks only at the rhetoric and tropes of texts. And in admitting its own role in the market whose flow it seeks to disrupt, it should give pause to all of us who make a living this way."
    --Tim Youngs, New Formations, Winter 1999-2000
  • "With their critical, ground-breaking approach to travel writing, Holland and Huggan draw upon issues, such as postmodernism and the global circulation of (trans)cultural information, of current interest across the social sciences. T he book holds the reader's interest throughout. It is original in its conception and does not replicate existing travel surveys. It is perhaps the most successful work to date in providing a synthesis of travel discourse with current themes such as postcoloniality, postmodernism, commodification and gender. Since its authors treat travel writing as both a literary and a cultural form, it offers much to academic readers in literary/cultural studies. But its problematic and well-formulated arguments, in conjunction with the plethora of well-presented travellers' narratives, would also make the book appealing to scholars from fields such as anthropology, history, geography and tourism studies. More importantly, it could prove to be a valuable tool for undergraduate and graduate teaching, particularly insofar as it can sensitize students to the range, depth and development of a textual practice whose products enjoy an increasing popularity, fuel the reader's fantasy and spur the consumption of cultural 'otherness.'"
    --Vasiliki Galani-Moutafi, University of the Aegean Greece, Journeys, Volume 1, Nos. 1/2
  • ". . . a goldmine of information and stimulation. . . . Critical without becoming polemic, this articulate and well-written volume offers a wealth of insightful commentary on the works of a number of contemporary travel writers--among them V. S. Naipaul, Barry Lopez, Jan Morris, Paul Theroux--and suggests a number of avenues for further inquiry. Holland concludes with an excellent bibliography of recent travel literature. A must for all academic and public libraries."
    --J. K. Fugate, Kalamazoo College, Choice, July/August 1999
  • "In its thrust and scope, I think it's the most interesting study of the modern travel book to date."
    --Colin Thubron, author of In Siberia and Behind the Wall
  • "An eminently readable and informative study. It breathes tolerance and intelligence. It is critically perceptive and very au courant. It raises issues (coloniality, postmodernity, gender. . . ) and discusses books that readers of many different stripes will want to find out about."
    --Ross Chambers, University of Michigan

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 280pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2000
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08706-8

Add to Cart
  • $29.95 U.S.

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