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."