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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Laura Eshleman
C LIT 322
Seattle Campus

Studies in Asian and Western Literatures

Topics designated by individual instructors.

Class description

Both travel and writing are journeys to where one isn’t. Alternately said, literature and travel are means through which one comes to know oneself and the world. Traveling has always been closely tied to the act of writing, of narrating physical and mental displacements, crossings and arrivals. This course will examine the poetics and politics of narrated accounts of journeys to places, real or imaginary. The diversity of travel literature is immense, including examples of diaries and journals, poetry, novels, guide books, journalism, essays, official reports, autobiography, and even science fiction. The course will attempt to offer students an introduction to travel literature by examining an international selection of texts, ancient to recent, that highlight a constellation of issues associated with travel literature. Some course themes: truth, authorship, imperialism and decolonization, anxiety about borders, experience and memory, time, sex and gender, exploration and encounter, Self and Other, mobility, immigration, rhetoric and aesthetics, geography and space, the bildungsroman, symbol and allegory, language, historiography, fantasy, and the dissemination of knowledge. The course will probe the boundary between the discourse of travel and other kinds of writing, and examine the intimate relationships between travel, writing, imagination, and desire. In addition to generating critical writing on the subject of travel literature, students will also complete a practica in which they produce a piece of travel writing that responds to course themes. All texts in English or English translation.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Laura Eshleman
Date: 10/21/2010