Talk:Travel literature/Archive 1

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Jules Verne

Where's Jules Verne? Few writers have conveyed the sheer excitement of exploration and discovery so grippingly as Jules Verne. Whoever is responsible for this page: you should feel ashamed. - Fabio Bittar —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:26, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Style of prose

I just merged this article with the contents of Travelogue per WP:DA, and while it's heart-warming to read so passionate prose about travel literature, the style of some parts of the article is unencyclopedic (too much praise, not enough facts). Could someone familiar with English travel literature go over this? Phils 15:18, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Outdoor literature

I've created a new article on Outdoor literature to handle adventure, exploration, natural history and environmental literature. Travel literature is more about civilization and culture while outdoor literature is more about the rest. I plan to move a lot of the material here, over to there, and am open to discussion/thoughts. Stbalbach 01:58, 1 September 2005 (UTC) this infomation rokss!!

The List below the text

Is a dogs breakfast, annoying to say the least not even alpha order, anyone prepared to help alpha order it? User:SatuSuro 11:23, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

It really should be in chronological order like outdoor literature to follow the development of the genre, along with a/the major work by each author. --Stbalbach 18:07, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

-Whats more, the most important travel writers of all time, laurie lee, is missing! (unsigned by a once ionly contributor)

Chronological is a good idea indeed - but in most cases the writers or works are not dated in the list, quite a job by looksUser:SatuSuro 16:21, 6 July 2006 (UTC)


Should't Herodotus or other Greek and Latin writers be mentioned as having written travel literature before Petrarch ? I don't believe that travel literature starts with the late Middle Ages.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Yes. The article is patchy. I'm doing some research on it and plan to do some upgrades in the future. -- Stbalbach 01:23, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

And, er, what about William of Rubruck??? And he had a predecessor, John of Plano Carpino, who also wrote a history of his travels to the Mongols, which is also an excellently accurate and interesting work.

yeah there are a few thousand notable travel authors, in fact a three volume encyclopedia on the topic. -- Stbalbach 21:21, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Anyone considered adding (talk) 01:34, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

19th C

Please do not forget one of the most important historical periods of the travel book is the 19th century and in particular "Around the World" trips and those to the "Orient". In particular there is an entire subgenra of books devoted entirely to Japan. There are writers like Bayard Taylor that are so well known as to become "experts" who edit later books on the topic of Japan. This period really starts at 1853 the the Perry Expedition and grinds to a halt in 1936 when we began to fight the Japanese in mainland China and tourism dropped off. There are hundred of books on this one topic and many are excellent examples. However there are travel books of the "Orient" in Portugese and Dutch back to the mid 15th century albeit rare.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

True. Probably the best resource available right now is the 3-volume Literature of Travel and Exploration: An Encyclopedia, noted in the references section. This is a tiny Wikipedia article on a topic that fills thousands of printed encyclopedia pages and 10s of thousands of works and authors and sub-genres. -- Stbalbach 20:30, 30 December 2006 (UTC)


When I studied Comparative Literature at University we used to refer to Travel Literature as Hodoeporics. However this Greek term is not as widespread as its synonym "Travel Literature". Would it still be worth mentioning in the article? Hroswith 14:35, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes sure. Any history of the terms usage would be great if you happen to know. Google Books shows it to be very uncommon, only in recent books, nothing in older works - it is also not in the OED which is a bad sign - kind of looks like a term used only very recently, might even be an academic neologism - nothing from 19th C texts (who often used Greek terms). I'll add a redirect in case one is not there. -- Stbalbach 15:31, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

I enjoyed reading this page about Travel Literature. Where would you suggest looking for information about the role of travelling across the course of history? Literature is a great record of what's happened, but it's not really detailed about the general sweep of vacation-taking history...I'd love some suggestions from the travel gurus out there. Thanks, K. (talk) 21:46, 20 December 2007 (UTC)


It's a pity to lose the sweetness of this article, but I've tried to make it read more like a Wikipedia page. I don't think too much harm has been done to it, the crit section needs work and something should probably be done about having 'Fiction' suspended there: anybody willing to help, get stuck in. the roof of this court is too high to be yours (talk) 18:16, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

"Made their livings?"

The unsourced phrase "made their livings writing travelogs" needed some tweaking. Theroux, Heat-Moon and Morris are still alive and presumably may write more travel books. Theroux and Morris "make their livings" from other writings as well. Theroux may have made more money out of book deals on his novels than from his best-selling travel books.--Dking (talk) 23:29, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Paul Bowles

The Sheltering Sky is a novel, not a travel memoir. The other book listed under his name is actually by ornithologist Kenn Kaufman. I have removed both titles, but have left Bowles' name as a travel writer since he did in fact write several travel books. I encourage someone who is familiar with his work to select the best of them for listing under his name. As to the book by Kaufmann, from the description of it at Amazon it would appear to probably fall into the travel genre. Again, I would encourage someone to add it. Possibly there could be a subsection of travel/nature books that could include Kaufmann, Gerald Durrell, John Burroughs, Theodore Roosevelt and others.--Dking (talk) 00:28, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

U.S. Presidents as travel writers

The Roosevelt book I added to the list is not just a hunting book, but the record of a two-year sojourn in a relatively exotic locale with side trips for hunting purposes. Apart from the three presidents listed here, two others may qualify: James Madison, for his journal of a trip he and Jefferson took to upstate New York in 1791; and Dwight Eisenhower, for his guide book to the battlefields of World War One and especially the revised edition based on his year-long research in France, 1928-29, which may have included input from others. However, I could not find a clear bibliographic record on the web of either of these books, although I am sure scholarly descriptions of both can be found easily (Susan Eisenhower goes into detail about her father's work on the guidebook in her bio of her mother). The Madison journal may be too brief to warrant inclusion. Eisenhower's work would probably fit into a section on the travel guidebook genre (along with the British 1940s "County Books" and other works) if adequate references can be found. I don't have time for this but suggest it as a To Be Done.--Dking (talk) 14:25, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

"Fiction" section needs a rewrite

This article certainly needs to acknowledge in some way the works of fiction that closely mirror actual specific journeys by the author. Kerouac's On the Road is given as an example and is a good one. But most of the rest of the examples are far-fetched, like Dante's Divine Comedy or Swift's Gulliver's Travels. Re The Odyssey, the best we can say is that it reflects in a confused way the general knowledge of the Mediterranean basin possessed by Greek seafarers in Homer's day; we have no way of knowing if it was influenced by an account of any actual voyage(s). I urge someone to do a total rewrite of this section.

P.S. Authors' voyages to exotic locales have clearly influenced innumerable works of fiction (e.g., the influence of Iceland on William Morris and of the Yukon and the South Seas on Jack London) but such works I think are beyond the scope of this article. Perhaps a separate Wiki article could be generated on such influences if published sources on the theme are available for citing. (On the specific writer-by-writer influences, abundant sources are available; e.g., Joseph Jones, The Cradle of Erewhon: Samuel Butler in New Zealand, University of Texas Press, 1959.)--Dking (talk) 23:33, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Merge with Travel writing and Travel journal

The current lede of this article states that "travel literature is travel writing of literary value." Because there is no authority that determines what is and is not of literary value and many schools of thought would declare all writing to be of literary value, both the Travel writing article and the Travel literature articles discuss the same topic. The Travel journal article is no different. As such, Travel writing and Travel journal should be merged here. Neelix (talk) 04:31, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

  • Support: This article is too short to stand on its own as it is, and perhaps it's most notable content would be the more literary materials--and with the explosion on the study of travel literature in the past 20 years, that distinction between writing and literature is much less significant. Everything that would not be considered literary could probably go under Guide book, which is where travel guide already redirects. Aristophanes68 (talk) 16:40, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Support: Too short.--Aa2-2004 (talk) 15:12, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - Do it.--S. Rich (talk) 16:12, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Nobody in his right mind will search for "travel literature" on Google. That is not an expression. Travel writing IS an expression. If you please, merge THIS article into Travel Writing. Really, 'travel literature' makes no sense. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:20, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I didn't realise that this discussion was taking place when I posted a comment today on the Travel writing Talk page, that is relevant. The merging of these articles makes sense and I think it should be done directly without further procrastination.Rwood128 (talk) 14:02, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Support merge of travel journal, and travel writing into this page. 'Literature' would be a good catch-all for them, and it makes for a better article to have it all together. --Funandtrvl (talk) 20:32, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

From Travel writing Talk page

Deletion of a minor revision

It is unclear why my very minor revision/improvement was deleted. Unfortunately the explanation given didn't help. I was working on Outdoor literature and realized that there was an overlap. Rwood128 (talk) 00:29, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Because it was an External link, it wouldn't belong in the "WP:See also" section. Also, instead of adding it as an WP:EL, it would be better to add prose to the article, and incorporate the EL as a reference. --Funandtrvl (talk) 00:47, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for so promptly clarifying. Sorry about the error. Unfortunately I only strayed onto this page and cannot offer any real prose content -- though it's obviously badly needed. Rwood128 (talk) 00:59, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

No problem, I know this article needs a lot of work! --Funandtrvl (talk) 01:12, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Confusing article and duplication

The relationship between this article and that on Travel literature needs clarifying. I'm presuming that this article is attempting to deal with ALL travel writing, not just writing with literary pretensions. Are both articles needed, especially as Travel literature is much more developed? Perhaps there should be a separate article on non-literary travel writing, such as travel guides? The use of the word imaginary also needs to be clarified: are fictional travels, such as Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, to be included? Rwood128 (talk) 13:47, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Travel writing about asia

Chinese life in town and country By Émile Bard

Rajmaan (talk) 03:24, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Bruce Chatwin

an English stylist of the 20th century. Hahaha Jellytussle (talk) 13:26, 10 July 2012 (UTC)


The section on notable writers is humongous, wouldn't it be better to put them on a separate page (a list)? 21 August 2013 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Engranaje (talkcontribs) 02:25, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

It's already a list, and in danger of becoming indiscriminate - there's fairly glaring recentism if you compare the centuries. The claims made ought to be supported by references; we could prune unsupported claims. Can't see why this would be improved if stand-alone, however - it could just become still more 'humongous' if left to its own devices, and then it'll get deleted at AfD. Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:38, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

Personally, I favour the idea of a long list. But I suppouse it can only flourish if it's separated from the main article (ad you said: "left to its own devices"). Most readers might prefer a short list, perhaps with no more than ten entries. However, a constantly growing, comprehensive and chronologically-ordered catalogue serves a more enciclopedical purpose. Why should it be deleted? Oddly, I had thought exaclty the other way around, that creating a separate page would be better for the sake of the list Engranaje (talk) 20:00, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

It is not a separate list of writers, with the article containing another list of books: it is THE list of writers-and-books, organised by date, then by writer, with books rather oddly in third place. If the list were organised as a sortable table, then readers could click to have it displayed by book title, by author's name, or by date as they preferred. It would make no sense to have one list of writers, one of dates, and one of books, would it now - they are columns or fields in the same table. The field that is currently missing entirely is of references. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:16, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
The phrase "constantly growing, comprehensive" is deeply worrying, as it implies not being encyclopedic as you suggest, but simply being of indefinite size and WP:Indiscriminate which is cause for deletion, not helped by being unreferenced, nor by having redlinked authors and books in the list. If the list is to be defended at all, in this article or not, it must be able to show notability and robust inclusion criteria. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:30, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

I see now how wrong I was, specially with regard to your second part. But it's unclear to me what's your plan. What would your suggestion be? Leave the list the lenght it is now and avoid any further additions? Shorten the list maybe? just fill in the lacking references? And the idea of a complete chronological list (at list with authors appearing on wikipedia) should be abandoned? Engranaje (talk) 04:42, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

I didn't make a proposal, merely opposed a (possibly premature) one. What to suggest? The key to avoiding indiscriminacy is to have strict, verifiable criteria for including an item in the list. The list would be short and good if we could define what we mean by travel literature: perhaps one might try something like 'studied as literature by at least 3 universities' (e.g. Hull - Lady Montagu, Graham Greene, DH Lawrence, ... Bruce Chatwin) or 'recommended in at least 3 published critical bibliographies' (e.g. Cox) which would accordingly be verified by 3 refs per item.
You can see this might take some study to devise. I suggest you make a table (e.g. in your user space) of candidate authors with a column for each candidate criterion (like the 2 candidates I've mentioned) and collect some refs from universities, published critical books, etc, and see what you get. With luck it will be a shorter and sharper list that will withstand AfD, spamming, and other attacks. It would be a big improvement. Chiswick Chap (talk) 06:57, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

The way I see it, the problem on the list does not lie in the academic references. First of all, the task of defining what is travel literature should be faced up in a different section in the article a section named "Definition" or something like that. And a strict criteria has its limits, because many works of literature are heterogeneous in nature and can be clasified in many ways. Besides, as far as I know, every work referenced here is regarded as travel literature. The criteria to select them would be their "notability", which is, at least partly, a subjective one. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Engranaje (talkcontribs) 00:00, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

If your criteria are subjective then the list / article will rightly be deleted at AfD. WP:Notability is not a subjective criterion because it relies on the provable existence of multiple reliable sources. If you choose a criterion such as I have suggested then it can be verified; if you don't, it can't. Notability of books or authors is not sufficient as a criterion for list inclusion as there are already very many and the number appears to be growing exponentially, which is unsustainable for a list. Chiswick Chap (talk) 06:29, 17 September 2013 (UTC)