Essay On Travel Literature

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Travel has fascinated mankind since the beginning of civilization. Be it pilgrimage, exploration of unknown land or experimentation, travel has remained a passion for mankind. Curiosity about foreign and unknown lands has always encouraged the people to travel and “documentation an integral aspect of the activity” (Hulme and Youngs 3). However, travel texts could never gain identity as a separate genre until recently because of their resemblance with both fiction as well as non- fiction. It’s been only in the past few decades that these travel texts have started getting much critical attention from the scholars which has resulted in travel texts being raised to the genre of travel literature.
Travel writings have shaped and influenced people’s perception about the foreign lands from the very beginning. Travel writers in all the ages have offered a remarkable insight into the culture and societies visited by them. Travel accounts are not just windows on societies visited but they are the mirrors that
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Similarly, in the Indian historiography too, there are no Indian voices to be heard other than the voices of colonial administration or records. In his seminal work Orientalism, Said demonstrated the relationship between power and knowledge that enabled Europe to dominate the Orient through a process of textual representation. He claims that “Knowledge [is] never raw, unmediated or simply objective”(Said,273). The knowledge of the Orient was exploited by the West to establish its dominion over the Orient. Said’s “Orientalism was the first work of contemporary criticism to take travel writing as a major part of its corpus, seeing it as a body of work which offered particular insight into the operation of colonial discourses”(Hulme,
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