Travel literature is a coherent narrative of people, events, sights, feelings, adventure and exploration by an author touring a foreign locale. Travel writings related to essay, guidebook, travelogue or itinerary have overlapping boundaries, so are grouped together as travel literature. This article focuses on travel literature that is more of interest to a tourist.
History of Travel Writing
Petrarch ascended Mount Ventoux in 1336 and wrote about this pleasant travel to see the top of the mountain. He made an allegorical comparison between climbing the mountain and his own moral progress in life. After him many travelers noted their travel impressions. In 1589 Richard Hakluyt published his travel voyages, which remain the foundational text of the travel literature. Robert Louis Stevenson is pioneer of tourism literature.
Types of Travelogues
Some great travel specialists, travel worldwide and make their living by writing about it. Paul Theroux, Jan Morris (travel historian), Eric Newby and William LH Moon are a few of them. Some author’s travel writing intersects essay writing e.g. V.S. Naipaul’s “India, A wounded civilization and Rebecca West’s ‘Black lamb and grey falcon.’ Travel and nature writing tends to merge in many works. Gerald Durrell and Ivan Sanderson are such naturalist authors. Charles Darwin’s famous account of journey on HMS Beagle intersects science, natural history and travel.
Literary travel writings based on authors’ experiences are also very popular. Some authors are Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, Robert L Stevenson, D.H.Lawrence, John Steinbeck and Evelyn Waugh.
Homer’s Odyssey, allegorical journeys of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Voltaire’s Candide or Jonathan Swifts Gulliver’s Travels are the fictional travelogues of the mythical journeys.
Unpublished literary writings are available as online travel journals or travelogues written on the move while being constantly updated.
These are a series of publishing’s dealing with a particular country, city or region. They provide useful information on hotels, restaurants, sight seeing and other travel tips. These are particularly handy for first time travelers and are mostly compiled by specialists.
The two basic objectives of travel writing are to inform readers of facts and create an interest in them by way of impressions. The travel writer should do preliminary research of the place, make actual notes and be perceptive of people, customs and atmosphere along with landmarks and scenery. Photographs are an essential part to create visual impact of the article. A sophisticated writing style that includes imagery and has narrative dialogues or other fictive technique makes for interesting reading.
A travel article written in a pleasing style will attract the reader and arouse his curiosity about the places described in the piece.