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Travels, Explorations and Empires: Writings from the Era of Imperial Expansion 1770-1835 Hardcover – May 2002


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Hardcover, May 2002
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'We must be grateful for the effort and thought that went into constructing Travels... Fulford and Kitson have produced a multi-volume anthology that is not only a very useful gathering of primary sources, but a good read as well. Its value to literary scholars, especially Romanticists, will be obvious. Its value to scholars in history, anthropology, ethnography, geography, and sociology should also be quickly recognized. Travels is itself a worthy addition to the eighteenth-century genre of collected exploration narratives it reproduces.' - Vincent Carretta, Eighteenth-Century Studies 'In each of the four volumes, there is a general introduction to the historical context of the region, useful introductions to each of the selected writers, and suggested further reading. This supplementary material is plainly written, and satisfies the needs of both the informed general reader and the more ambitious student of travel writing and Romanticism. That these volumes add much of value to the rapidly expanding body of recent scholarship on travel writing is unquestionable. Although there are very few studying or working at British universities who could afford to buy their own copies of these volumes, I would unreservedly recommend that their libraries invest in a set. The easy accessibility of such a wide range of primary travel writing texts can only contribute to teaching and research, and the editors' scrupulous identification of which travel narratives influenced the major Romantic writers is especially useful for students of English Literature.' - David Johnson, Wasafiri 'The 3,200 pages of Travels, Explorations and Empires are a welcome addition to the modern-edition travelogues that are increasingly becoming available to scholars and students of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries... Indeed, this compilation will be of enormous utility to those historians or literature specialists seeking to contextualize their own focus - the travelogues on India for example - by allowing them to evaluate effectively the genre as it "manifests itself" in other regions.' - Andrew Curran, ASECS Book Reviews Online 'En masse, the full eight volumes of Travels, Explorations and Empires effect a remarkable circumnavigation of the vast continent of Romantic-era travel writing - an undertaking in its own way as ambitious and heroic, if less dangerous, as the literal circumnavigations recounted in the collection... Romantic-era travel writing is of great interest in its own right, on both historical and aesthetic grounds. That said, however, the fascination of the genre, and the usefulness of Travels, Explorations and Empires, increases still further when one brings the documents collected here into contact with what remains the principal interest of most Romanticists today, the canonical literary texts of the age. The volume-editors of Travels, Explorations and Empires do an excellent job in identifying the many exchanges - running in both directions - between the traditionally "minor" genre of travel writing and the more highly regarded "imaginative" literature of the period. In doing so, they demonstrate the striking extent to which the major romantic authors, Wordsworth, Coleridge et al, were immersed in travel writing, and in the debates which were being thrashed out in travel writing. An older style of scholarship thought simply in terms of "source-hunting" as it explored these links. Recognising the full range and richness of Romantic-era travel writing, however, we perceive a more complex and more intimate dialogue taking place between Romantic literature and the supposedly lesser genre from which it so habitually borrows - and in this regard also, Travels, Explorations and Empires provides an invaluable resource for all those interested in the literary culture of the Romantic age.' - Carl Thompson, British Association for Romantic Studies Bulletin 'Within the academic market, however, Fulford and Kitson's target is wide. These are writings they believe should be read across the disciplines, as befits the broad influence of Romantic exploration narratives. The diversity of this collection of journeys makes their case clearly: is it history? literature? science? politics? - the only difficulty university libraries should face is deciding where to shelve it.' - Christopher Ondaatje, The Times Higher Education Supplement 'Such a comprehensive collection of Romantic-era travel narratives is unprecedented. This exquisitely produced and impeccably edited collection offers a wealth of fresh material to scholars of Romanticism, and because it is engaging, readable, and well-annotated, it should also prove of interest to undergraduates and general readers. Travels, Explorations and Empires: Writings from the Era of Imperial Expansion belongs in every university library, and individual purchasers will also find it a worthwhile investment (especially at the special discount prices posted at the Pickering & Chatto website). Ultimately this collection may prove of greatest value to instructors who seek to design courses on Romantic literature in the context of new geopolitical realities, and new constructions of ethnicity and gender, that emerged in an era of British imperial expansion on a global scale.' - James C McKusick, The Wordsworth Circle 'The majority of these volumes - vast indeed - had their day in the sun and have since been confined to the dark depths of great research libraries where they must be visited in person or with luck summoned via interlibrary loan to your campus or local branch. (Personal experience suggests you forget about requesting long-distance delivery of anything printed prior to 1800.) But now, thanks to the London house of Pickering & Chatto and to the labor of love performed by a total of seven editors in all, we have in handy four-volume form (North America, the Far East, North and South Poles, and Middle East - about fifteen hundred pages in all) a tissue sample from one great body of early travel writings... no academic or major municipal library should be without this great contribution to literary, historical, and social studies.' - Robert Eisner, Nineteenth-Century Prose 'This handsomely-produced anthology of Romantic era travel writing, under the general editorship of Tim Fulford and Peter J Kitson, rides a growing wave of academic interest in travel writing... Yet a problem attendant on this resurgent interest in "Voyages and Travels" has always been the difficulty of getting hold of the primary texts, at least for those without access to a major research library. Travels, Explorations and Empires should do much to rectify this situation... [and] should itself enable an exploration of Romanticism's complex entanglement with the many expansionist discourses of the era; it is an expensive collection, but any library seeking to represent seriously the writings of the Romantic age should probably make the investment.' - Carl Thompson, British Association of Romantic Studies Bulletin and Review 'Tim Fulford and Peter J Kitson, the editors, have compressed this cornucopia into eight volumes, four of which have now been published - North America, The North and South Poles, The Middle East and The Far East and four of which are still to come. To anthologise such an amount of material is a daunting task, the scale of which is emphasised when one considers that only English-language sources have been used, and "familiar" areas such as the Alps have been ignored. They have succeeded admirably, producing a body of research that not only portrays but explains the birth of travel literature. The result makes for fascinating reading... Therein lies the strength of Travels. While paying tribute to the exploits of famous folk, it excels in its depiction of less glamorous individuals... If its contents have popular resonance, Travels is not, alas, a popular series. You are unlikely to find any of these expensive volumes in the high street, and if you do, you won't be taking them to the beach. They are aimed squarely at the academic market, each volume and entry being introduced in learned terms by learned experts. This doesn't mean they are forbidden to ordinary mortals - Fulford and Kitson have done their utmost to make the information accessible - but the professional touch is inescapable... Travels does not pretend to be anything that it is not, and it delivers what it promises. Its extracts evoke the rawness of discovery in an age when vast portions of the atlas were blank and when large portions of the world's population lived in ignorance of each other. Its commentary, meanwhile, describes how travel journals affected writers, artists, scientists and politicians alike.' - Fergus Fleming, The Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Editorial board Tim Fulford is at Nottingham Trent University, and is author of Coleridge's Figurative Language, Landscape, Liberty and Authority, and Romanticism and Masculinity Peter Kitson is at the University of Dundee, and is author of YWES, Coleridge and the Armoury of the Human Mind and is co-editor of Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation Tilar J Mazzeo is at Oregon State University Debbie Lee is at Washington State University Indira Ghose is at the Freie Universitat, Berlin Nigel Leask is at Queens' College, University of Cambridge

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