The Second Journey : Travelling in Literary Footsteps

Abstract: In a time dominated by mass tourism and the search for what has been termed authenticity, travel narratives are again of academic interest. This study seeks to demonstrate how travel writers from the 1980s and 1990s increasingly turn to earlier texts for inspiration and guidance. The first texts, in this sense, work as both theoretical and practical maps for the second traveller who aims to emulate the experiences of the first traveller. The past is thus seen as a repository for authentic experiences.I outline the developments within travel, tourism and travel writing, in part to show that the arguments in this study stem from a number of academic fields, in part to account for the events and ideas leading up to the second journey narratives. The authenticity sought by second journey writers and tourists is defined as residing primarily in the past, and I discuss several strategies the writers employ to attain this desired authenticity: intertextuality being one of them. By referring to and quoting from the earlier text, a sense of authenticity is achieved. I also discuss issues of heroism, home, recognitions and disappointments.This study includes three case studies that illuminate different forms and aspects of second journeys. The first form shows how the scientific and adventurous journey has been seen as a predominantly male endeavour. Robert Falcon Scott, Robert Swan and Roger Mear's texts serve as examples here. The second form focuses on the solitary, female traveller, exemplified in texts by Mary Kingsley and Caroline Alexander. The third and final form demonstrates how the second journey can be used in biographical projects, using Robert Louis Stevenson and Nicholas Rankin as cases in point.Differences and similarities between these three forms, such as what kind of authenticity is desired and how the traveller goes about achieving it, how the writer uses the intertextual element, gender differences and shifting themes finally reveal that the travel text remains of current interest and that it can be developed in several ways to breathe new life into the genre of travel writing, despite critics' claims that there are no thoroughly authentic places left to travel to.

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