In Travel Narratives, Travel Fictions, Daniel Cooper Alarcón argues that travel literature performs important social and cultural criticism often overlooked in studies of the genre. By examining non-fiction and fiction novels and short stories that purposefully examine different types of travel in relationship to each other, Cooper Alarcón documents and highlights the sophisticated ways that both types of writing have anticipated and contributed ideas central to critical studies of travel, tourism, and migration. The author uses the term travel fictions to illustrate the ways in which travel narratives (supposed factual accounts of travel) often misrepresent, distort, and fabricate notions about the people and places they purport to describe, creating useful mythologies and hinting at the ways in which the acts of reading and writing have become an integral part of traveling–shaping not just itineraries, but perceptions and beliefs about places travelers visit. Both types of travel writing are influential in this regard and they frequently borrow from one another, mutually reinforcing ideas, tropes, and modes of representation, often in problematic ways.
Daniel Cooper Alarcón is associate professor of English at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Chapter One: Travel Narratives, Travel Fictions: The Prescient Case of Paul Bowles
Chapter Two: The Ruins of Manifest Destiny
Chapter Three: Travel Writing and the Tramp
Chapter Four: Travel Fictions and Literary Travelers: Jacques Poulin’s Volkswagen Blues
Chapter Five: Jasmine’s Shadow World of Migration
Chapter Six: Small Place, Smallest Woman
Chapter Seven: A Land Made of Its Representations
About the Author