Overview of Course
Travel writing is about relationship—between different parts of the world, between individuals and cultures. The fundamental relation is between oneself and all that is outside the self, a relation which changes as one travels. We will read the letters and essays of other travelers to find out how they use detail to recreate personal experience and weave together layers of information to portray the complexity of the places they visit. As readings follow the itinerary of our voyage, the authors will be among the influences you will encounter and contend with in each port. The readings will also serve as examples of classical travel tropes—retracing steps, descents into underworlds, fool’s encounters with the wise. Frequent short assignments will help you capture your shipboard and on shore experiences. Class sessions will shift between discussion and analysis of assigned texts and active writing and revision sessions. As you discover what interests you, portions of the record you create over our weeks at sea will become the raw material you will build into a final portfolio of polished writing.