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Title: After the end of travel : twentieth-century French travel literatures and theories
Author: Basu, Debjani Feroza.
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis investigates ways in which French travel writers since the twentieth centUfhave attempted to negotiate new subject matter for travel writing, without compromising the specificity of their role as both travellers and writers. The context for this study is the sense, popularized in the twentieth century, that travel, as a possibility. is faced with exhaustion. Concerns that there is nowhere left to go, that places and cultures have become homogeneous, and that travel is now a banal activity, are the basis of fears of the 'end of travel'. In response, a number of French travel writers have manifestly attempted to refresh the genre through practical innovation. However, there has been little recognition of this aspect of French travel writing by scholars ofliterature. In order to elucidate thematic innovations in twentieth-century French travel writing, this thesis explores interdisciplinary theories of travel, and examines how French travel writers construct travel in relation to overlapping practices and theories. Two major sociocultural developments - the rise of mass tomism and the increasing sophistication and rationalization of transport facilities - are fore grounded as factors blamed for the banalization of travel. These indicate nonnative conditions for traveL and are presented here as a reference point in the analysis of innovative travel practices. The final section of the thesis challenges some of the assumptions implicit in perceptions of the 'end of travel'. The notion that there is nowhere left to go is problematized by the subjective narratives of physically disabled persons, who may experience an end of literal travel that is an unexamined counterpart to a rhetorical fin des voyages. Also, science fiction and infonnation technology are sites for the negotiation of new fonns of travel that potentially undennine the notion that travel is an exhausted possibility. By focusing on the continuing importance of travel practices in a broad corpus of French travelogues, this thesis demonstrates the need for an interdisciplinary methodology that can account for thematic aspects of the geme, and it introduces new theoretical resources for this purpose. More specifically, it brings to attention, elucidates, and problematizes the privileged status of the body in contemporary French approaches to travel writing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available