Travel Writing, Form, and Empire: The Poetics and Politics of Mobility (Routledge Research in Travel Writing)

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Travel Writing, Form, and Empire: The Poetics and Politics of Mobility (Routledge Research in Travel Writing)

Travel Writing, Form, and Empire Routledge Research in Travel Writing Edited by Peter Hulme and Tim Youngs 1. Travel

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Travel Writing, Form, and Empire

Routledge Research in Travel Writing Edited by Peter Hulme and Tim Youngs

1. Travel Writing, Form, and Empire The Poetics and Politics of Mobility Edited by Julia Kuehn and Paul Smethurst

Forthcoming:

Visualizing Africa in NineteenthCentury British Travel Accounts Leila Koivunen

Travel Writing, Form, and Empire The Poetics and Politics of Mobility

Edited by Julia Kuehn and Paul Smethurst

New York  London

First published 2009 by Routledge 270 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016   Simultaneously published in the UK by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN   This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2008. “To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk.”

  Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business    © 2009 Taylor & Francis All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.   Trademark Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe.   Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Travel writing, form, and empire : the poetics and politics of mobility / edited by Julia Kuehn and Paul Smethurst. p. cm. -- (Routledge research in travel writing ; 1) Includes bibliographical references and index. 1.  Travel writing.  2.  Travelers’ writings--History and criticism.  I.  Kuehn, Julia.  II.  Smethurst, Paul.   G151.T678 2009 910.4--dc22 2008011716   ISBN 0-203-89097-3 Master e-book ISBN

  ISBN10: 0-415-96294-3 (hbk) ISBN10: 0-203-89097-3 (ebk)   ISBN13: 978-0-415-96294-0 (hbk) ISBN13: 978-0-203-89097-4 (ebk)

Contents

List of Figures Acknowledgements

Introduction

vii ix 1

Paul Smethurst

Part One

The Discursive Terrains of Empire 1 Asia, Africa, Abyssinia: Writing the Land of Prester John

21

Mary Baine Campbell

2 Richard Hakluyt’s Foreign Relations

38

Mary Fuller

3 Imperial Design and Travel Writing: New France 1603–1636

53

Jack Warwick

4 The Page as Private/Public Space in Mariana Starke’s Travel Writings on Italy

64

Susan Pickford

5 The Politics of Adventure: Theories of Travel, Discourses of Power

80

Ali Behdad

6 Relocating Domesticity: Letters from India by Lady Hariot Dufferin

95

Éadaoin Agnew

7 Translating Culture: Harriet Martineau’s Eastern Travels Lesa Scholl

108

vi  Contents Part Two

Unravelling Forms of Travel 8 Signs in the Jungle: Michaux in Ecuador

123

David Scott

9 Deep Maps: Travelling on the Spot

132

Peter Hulme

10 Making It Move: The Aboriginal in the Whitefella’s Artifact

148

Tim Youngs

11 Reconciling Strangers: White Australian Travel Narratives and the Semiotics of Empathy

167

Robert Clarke

12 To Witness and Remember: Mapping Reconciliation Travel

180

Peter Bishop

13 The Political Tourist’s Archive: Susan Meiselas’s Images of Nicaragua

199

Maureen Moynagh

14 Road to Nowhere? Los autonautas de la cosmopista by Julio Cortázar and Carol Dunlop

213

Claire Lindsay



Afterword: Travel and Power

229

Bill Ashcroft

Contributors Index

243 247

Figures

4.1

“Voltaire’s home at Ferney”.

72

4.2

“Voltaire’s home at Ferney”.

73

4.3

Page from Murray’s Railway Hand-Book, September 1850.

75

9.1

Peter Hulme, “These boots were made for walking”.

144

9.2

Peter Hulme, “Watching nothing happen in Cedar Point”.

145

13.1 Susan Meiselas, “Popular forces begin final offensive in Masaya, June 8, 1979”.

207

13.2 Susan Meiselas, “Sandinistas at the walls of the Estelí National Guard headquarters”. 208

Acknowledgements

We are indebted to Peter Hulme and Tim Youngs for their efforts in establishing the Routledge Research in Travel Writing Series with Routledge and giving us their expert guidance as series editors in the production of this, the first book in the series. The essays in this volume have been worked up from papers originally presented at the Mobilis in Mobile International Conference on Studies in Travel Writing, held at the University of Hong Kong in July 2005. The conference was a collaboration between the journal, Studies in Travel Writing, the Centre for Travel Writing Studies at the University of Nottingham Trent, and the Department of English at the University of Hong Kong. This volume represents only a small selection of the hundred or so papers presented at the conference (a further volume, Asian Crossings, edited by Steve Clark and Paul Smethurst, has been published separately), and we would like to thank all the participants and discussants at that conference for their various contributions. We would also like to thank Zoë Yuen for help in organizing the conference and the School of English at HKU for financial support. As well as the copy-editors and anonymous reviewers at Routledge, we would also like to thank Erica Wetter for her work in supervising the production of the book. In Hong Kong, Julia Chan and Howard Wong provided editorial assistance, and Bill Ashcroft generously agreed to read all the essays, write an Afterword, and give his full support to the project. We would also like to extend our gratitude to all the contributors who have throughout been most responsive and timely in honing their essays and making our job as editors so much easier. Julia Kuehn Paul Smethurst Hong Kong, June 2008.



Introduction Paul Smethurst

Mobility and Empire European travel writing, a corpus spanning several centuries, has been hugely influential in producing and circulating knowledge about the rest of the world and fuelling aspirations for expansion and conquest. Travel and travel writing, and the imaginative geographies they conjured, were crucial to the discursive formation of empire, especially by their insinuation and cementation of crude binaries such as the West/the Rest, attached to which were the clearly pejorative formulations of civilised/savage, scientific/superstitious, and so on. This discursive formation did not innocently propose categories which simply allowed the West (a problematic homogeneity) to define itself against a projected other. Imperialist discourse was built on a system of ideologically-informed asymmetrical relationships. In the context of travel and travel writing, the most significant of these were traveller/travellee, observer/observed, and narrator/narrated. Having science and empiricism on the western side of this divide might imply that a regime of ‘truth’ was being established, but scientific discovery in far-off places was commonly represented through earlier discursive structures of myth, romanticisation, and idealisation that had roots in Classical times. The melding of fact and fantasy in early modern travel writing especially is what allowed the ‘truth-regime’ of western knowledge about the rest of the world to present itself as fact while inculcating particular imperialist ideologies. Prior to this systematic distortion, and crucial to European imperialist projects, was European mobility, through which knowledge was garnered and returned, often haphazardly, to imperial centres, where it was refined, systematised, and used to inform further exploration and discovery. As knowledge was mobilised, so were the imagination and the desire for far-off places, and this provided huge demand for travel writing where the West assumed the narrative authority to represent ‘the Rest’. A further effect of western mobility on the discursive terrains of empire was to produce another binarism: the West’s mobility, science, and (modern) progress opposing the historical and geographical stasis of ‘the Rest’. The uneven development of travel and exploration (and travel writing) provided the West with both literal and

2  Paul Smethurst figurative mobility, and this gave imperialist discourse its vigour and means of dissemination. But from a modern perspective we might think of mobility as a destabilising force (as in Marx’s revolutionary dialecticism, or Nietzsche’s maelstrom of modernity). Instability and potential disorder are necessarily suppressed within the knowledge structures that give form to imperialist discourse. Mobility is in conflict with imperialism’s paradigms of order and control, and yet disorderly mobility is inherent in the idea of travel. It is essential to the traveller’s encounters with difference, with serendipity, and with motion in a psychological and ontological sense. Through the formal conventions of the travel narrative, mobility is spatialised and synchronised, so the travel writer is able to present reality as an orderly representation. There is a link, then, between imperialist discourse and the orderly presentation of travelling mobility in imperialist travel narratives. But if we were somehow able to reinstall a proper sense of mobility, and use this against the imposed imperial (and narrative) form in European travel writing, it might help to deconstruct that form. In the already deconstructed, or self-deconstructing, form of post-imperial or postcolonial travel writing, we can expect this disorderly mobility to be foregrounded. Relations between empire and mobility (literal, metaphorical, ontological, linguistic, and psychological) are therefore a major theme in the following chapters. In his introduction to Travel Writing and Empire, Steve Clark extends the proposition found in Edward Said’s Orientalism and Mary Louise Pratt’s Imperial Eyes that travel writing was systematically involved in imperial meaning-making processes. He raises several important questions about how these processes might have operated, in particular reminding us that little work has been done to date on the processes of production of these travel texts and their reception by metropolitan audiences.1 If one of the aims of analysing relations between travel writing and empire is to find ways of purging travel writing today of the ‘taint’ of imperialism, we need to understand fully how imperial meaning-making worked, especially the traffic between the signifying practices of travel writing and the ‘master structures’ of imperialist discourse. To imagine a form of travel writing that reflects on, problematises, and ultimately extricates itself from imperial meaning-making (and would properly attract the label post-imperialist or postcolonial travel writing), we need to explore how, and to what extent, travel writing summoned and wielded such force in the first place. In particular, we need to investigate the means by which travel writing reached its audience, who that audience was, what physical forms the writing took (such as journals, diaries, essays, guidebooks, logs, images, and anthologies), and who controlled its production. We also need to explore how the internal meaning-making processes operated through tropes, metaphors, and other figures in the representational practices of travel writing, and how these were keyed into what Foucault calls the “order of things”—the

Introduction  3 deep-seated structures of knowledge that underpinned imperialist discourse.2 There are two central questions which the two sections of this volume address in turn: (a) By what formalistic means did travel writing help to produce the rest of the world for a European audience before and during the age of imperialism, and (b) by what formalistic means might post-imperialist or postcolonial travel writing disavow and divest itself of that ‘tainted form’? Travel Writing: Criticism and Theory Travel writing from the Middle Ages to the present day is discussed in the chapters herein in the context of relations between, on the one hand, the idea of empire, imperialist (and post-imperialist) politics and geographies; and on the other hand, form. Form is to be considered here firstly in the literary sense as organising metaphors and other tropes, unifying structures (or disordering anti-structures) operating within the text, between texts, and on the production of the text itself, and secondly in the Foucauldian sense as the “ordering codes”, the “tabula, that enables thought to operate upon entities of our world”.3 As noted by Peter Hulme and Tim Youngs in their introduction to The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing, travel writing was until recently of limited interest to several academic disciplines.4 Travel writing studies might have continued as a marginal discipline, applied to a minor form of literature, if contemporary theory had not arrived to reinvigorate and revalue them. The turn to travel writing begins with a non-canonical or even anti-canonical interest in minor literatures, the margins of history, and the work of ‘ex-centric’ authors, all reflecting a shift towards more pluralistic social and cultural environments since the 1970s. The academic study of travel writing today is closely associated with five areas of contemporary theory, all of which are relevant to the chapters included here: 1. The idea of travel, and travel as motif and metaphor, are grist to the mill of poststructuralist theories of displacement and mobility.5 2. The politics of travel, and the spatial dimensions of knowledge and power it puts in train, are crucial to postcolonial and gender theory.6 3. The culture of travel encompasses theories of globalisation, tourism, postmodern geography, simulation, and the commodification of space.7 4. ‘Writing travel’ as a representational practice can be related to poststructuralist theories of presence/absence and the decentred subject. 5. The idea of theory itself travels in Edward Said’s appraisal of the cross-cultural enlightenment experienced by the mobile, self-exiled intellectual; and in Deleuze and Guatarri’s theories of nomadism and de­ter­ri­torialisation.8

4  Paul Smethurst Of these, postcolonialism and gender studies bring much-needed ideological critiques of western, imperialist, and androcentric worldviews prevalent in European travel writing, and which are increasingly out of kilter (historically and geographically) with the realities of postcolonial migrations, globalisation, and the spatio-temporal twists and turns of postmodernity. Historical and cultural revisionism, as it unravels the threads of knowledge and power in travel writing, is undoubtedly a productive and expanding area of travel writing studies. And discourse analysis, as espoused by Foucault, Hayden White, and Said, provides an appropriate methodology for assessing collective bodies of texts, such as the corpus of European travel writing. The more formalist techniques of traditional literary criticism, with its aesthetic critiques of individual texts of ‘high literature’, and the analysis of the internal signifying practices and meaning-making processes of literary language, might seem less useful here. But although formalism as an end in itself may not be very productive in the aesthetic critique of ‘non-literary’ travel writing, it does provide the means for connecting individual travel texts with the signifying practices of imperialist discourse. The chapters in this volume combine formalist approaches to travel writing, such as narratology, the analysis of tropes, and rhetorical analysis, with ideological critiques of postcolonialism and gender studies. Several chapters consider poststructuralist, or perhaps here postmodernist, approaches to genre, and strategies of anti-genre or cross-genericism, where porous boundaries between fiction, history, autobiography, and ethnography are foregrounded. There is also some consideration of the genre’s production, distribution, and audience, and the larger question of form/genre, as in the relation between travel writing per se and travel photography, cinema, video, and web sites. In general, the travel narrative is existential, ‘self-in-the-world’ writing, but after poststructuralism the subject here becomes a doubly contested site. Firstly, the ‘eye’ is no longer a stable site of observation, and secondly, the ‘I’ is no longer a stable site of reflection and judgement. From a theoretical standpoint, both are now performative constructions that assume narrative authority—the figurative re-enactment of (or the prelude to) assuming actual authority of peoples and places travelled to and written about. The strategies by which narrative (and actual) authority are sought, assumed, applied, and questioned in the context of both imperial and postcolonial travel narratives are therefore of particular importance. Empire and Form In The Order of Things, Foucault identifies two major ruptures in the ordering codes of western culture: one marking the end of the Classical age (middle of the seventeenth century) and one the beginning of the modern age (early nineteenth century). But a longer transition towards the modern would surely appear if we considered imperial form as one of the strands leading

Introduction  5 to the modern age. Imperial form already existed in a nascent, emerging, and peripheral state in the Middle Ages, both in Europe and further afield. Western imperial form would become dominant in Europe in the nineteenth century. It was characterised by the systems of binaries already mentioned, which organised (or ideologically constructed) well-fenced, absolute, and universal self–other and same–other oppositions. Through the structures of knowledge it derived from science and natural history, it also imposed spatial order: the hard lines of inside/outside, boundaries, orderly emplacement, and the symbolism of geometric shape, all of which projected order from the imperial centre to the farthest peripheries. Such ordering of space was not in itself new: it could be found, often with reference to the cosmos, in the spatial symbolisms of medieval cities, as well as in native villages. The innovation was the idea of enclosing, naming, and ‘rationalising’ geographical space on a planet-wide scale. This was what distinguished European imperialism from earlier symbolic geographies and structures of power. But the scientific and rational approach, through which the ‘truth-regime’ of this imperialist order is effected, is built on shaky foundations. The architectonic nature of imperial form, with its well-fenced system of hierarchies, would seem to rely on a higher, transcendent order (or perhaps, to distinguish this from earlier spiritual and mythological designs, a deeper pseudo-scientific belief), which would underwrite it. The transcendent signifier that would guarantee ‘truth’ was a fiction, a projected omniscience, which borrowed from the eye of linear perspective and the datum of geographical projection systems the idea that there was ultimately a scientific and computable order to the universe and a point outside the universe from which to observe it. Nevertheless, there is an apparently rational form here that would then be the foundation for thinking empire, and there would be a predilection to and predisposition for its order in imperialist politics and the imperial imaginary. Continuing this Foucauldian line of thinking to the point where the form described previously seems to deconstruct, we come to the famous example of Borges’s story of the Chinese encyclopedia, cited by Foucault. Here we find all the animals of the Empire divided into the following categories: “(a) belonging to the emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that which from a long way off look like flies”.9 This system of classification, which is in effect an anti-taxonomy, invites laughter, but it is an uneasy laughter because it shakes the foundation of western taxonomies and the stability of western imperial form. It invokes and teases Linnaean taxonomies through which natural history emerged as a structure of knowledge that would produce an imperial, planet-wide ordering of plants and animals according to western nomenclature. Borges’s imaginary Chinese ordering codes appear to distinguish same from other, but actually subvert the internal order implied in

6  Paul Smethurst their own alphabetic divisions by separating into categories animals who, by definition, must also be found in other categories. We can only guess at what ordering system might underlie the encyclopedia, but it flies in the face of western science and rational thinking. The unfathomable logic of the classification produces disjunctions and discontinuities, making proximate apparently random juxtapositions of: near and far, actual and figurative, reality and representation, dead and alive, general and particular, past and present, finite and infinite, wild and tame, domestic and foreign, seen and unseen. In so doing, it challenges the ‘normal’ principles of division on which the West’s systems of knowledge are organised and mobilised. Borges’s encyclopedia, alluding to early reports of the East by Oderic, Polo, and Mandeville (in which the idea of China as the West’s other is first seeded), is an example of how imperial form might be subverted in the western imagination. The other, more obvious threat to the West, a very prescient one given China’s resurgence, is that the first category is that of animals belonging to the emperor—the Chinese emperor—making clear that any ordering system is not innocent or immune from prevalent power structures, but in fact defers to them, and these power structures are not always western. The chapters in this volume are not only about the separate themes of empire and form, but also about the intricacies of their many connections in the context of travel writing, a genre in which mobility is central and potentially disordering. Questions of power, knowledge, and identity are explored here through a more formalistic study of travel writing than has previously been seen, and the first half of the volume can be read as a study of how the form (and genre) of travel writing helped articulate the idea of empire for a European audience. The second half of the volume brings the politics of form in travel writing to bear on contemporary, postcolonial travel writing in order to gauge the success of strategies designed to deconstruct that idea of empire by probing—and in some cases wilfully subverting—imperial form. Travel Writing and Empire: Order and Authority In making the connection between empire and travel writing, we need to consider how form in the sense of the imperial form described earlier, and form in the sense of representational practices are related: in other words, how power structures are replicated in textual patterns of signification and narrative authority. At one level, these are acquired and maintained through clear-cut binaries expressed in the narrative, such as superior culture/inferior culture, modernity/primitiveness, enlightenment/darkness, and scientific worldview/superstition. At another level, the patterns of signification reflect an orderliness based on: binarism; hierarchy; division of class, race, gender, and religion; and spatial order reflected in emphatic borders and divisions,

Introduction  7 geometric boundaries, and polygons of imperial geography. This orderliness can be found in the type of narrative voice the travel writer chooses, as well as in the textual and figurative structure, and in the motifs, images, and metaphors that circulate in the text. There are, of course, many ways in which the link between imperial form and the orderly form of imperialist travel writing can unravel. As with all binaries, these can deconstruct where, for example, the imperceptible degrees of gradation at the boundaries shade into each other. The modern archive of western knowledge was, after all, built on collections of native knowledge and specimens, mobilized and reordered within western institutions from where they might have appeared to emanate. Perhaps the main threat to textual orderliness comes from the essential link between travel writing and mobility. Mobility is the sine qua non of travel writing, and travel writers, having been granted mobility as imperial subjects, then assume the authority to narrate. The duty of imperial travelling subjects is then either to explore and extend the empire, or survey and reconfirm its territories and the ‘within-bounds’ of the places and peoples of empire. They fit experience and anecdotal evidence to existing structures, maintaining order by acting as intermediaries between the world of experience and accumulated knowledge—between the empirical and the imperial. Imperialist travel writing, in a tradition that reaches back to Marco Polo and beyond, is mobility in the service of empire. It increases the range of power, polices its territories, and continuously re-presents (and re-invents) the empire for a home audience—in Polo’s text, ostensibly for the Kublai Khan but, as an example of projected desire, for a European audience.10 But if mobility is enabling for the imperialist traveller, it is also potentially threatening and disorderly. For one thing, mobility threatens the status quo through the self-reflexive motif of ‘life as a journey’, the physical manifestation of metaphorical growth and transformation. Furthermore, travel is, in Foucault’s terms, heterotopian rather than utopian. Utopias are stable and orderly, and “afford consolidation”, although they have “no real locality” and cannot therefore be found in travel writing.11 They are ideal empires, sites of desire. Travel produces the overlapping of conflicting spaces and temporalities of heterotopias, which are the problematised sites where order and form no longer confer meaning on words and things. All travel writing is to some extent a heroic exercise to bring textual order to bear on the experience of heterotopia produced by travel; at best it finds provisional and translated meanings that approximate to an experience of these ‘mobile elsewheres’. Heteropias have a reflexive and political function in postcolonial and postmodern travel writing, as we will see later, but in imperialist travel writing the tension between the order of imperial form and the disorder of mobility implicit in travel is suspended, under erasure if you will. Certain effects of mobility are present, but imperial form demands that these are resolved through a narrative authority that replicates the authority of imperial order. Women’s travel writing might then present a threat to that

8  Paul Smethurst authority through a less-than-perfect adherence to the imperial hegemony. But for various reasons, not least the kinds of censorship and filtering that restricted what travel writing became available in print, women’s travel writing seems largely supportive of the imperial order, even though the voice and tone might be more nuanced, less strident, less imperious. In that Foucauldian sense mentioned earlier, imperial form has a theoretical structure that establishes and transmits imperialist ideology. The basis for this structure would be the clear delineation of categories and hierarchies, the major ones being class, gender, race, and religion. Samuel Smiles’ maxim, “A place for everything, and everything in its place”, conveys the idea of both imperial and domestic order—the domestic realm as a microcosm of empire. Women’s travel writing might then be considered disorderly in that it locates women outside their ‘proper’ place in the domestic sphere of the home culture (doubly at home). Similarly, working-class travel writing or black travel writing would also be disorderly, by granting mobility and authority to groups whose productive function in the empire was to stay in their place (in both senses) and work, unless pressed to go somewhere else. But the gender argument is too simplistic. Women were involved in empire at all levels. Queen Isabella, Elizabeth I, Victoria, and the figure of Britannia were deeply implicated in empire symbolically and materially. The presence of women as figureheads of empire did not, of course, confer femininity on empire, but rather brought women into the process of naked aggression and self-interest of the kind explicit in Columbus’s letter to the King and Queen of Spain and Sir Walter Ralegh’s entreaty to Queen Elizabeth to colonise Guiana.12 Women travellers are ambivalent figures in the imperial context, both validating and invalidating the interpretative models of gender and empire where the two impinge on each other. On one hand, the presence of women in the masculinised colonial terrain implies support for the system that enables that presence but, on the other hand, if ‘the domestic’ is to be regarded as the normal sphere for women in both models, a woman’s presence in the colony might imply either critique of an imperialist ideology that constrains women, or flight from womanhood itself, or both. In such situations the presence of women travellers might be conceived as counter-hegemonic.13 But in situations where the woman traveller is safely ensconced in an expatriated domestic environment with her retinue of staff beneath her and her husband in command above, the structures and hierarchies of empire and gender are validated and reinforced. Mobility for women was so restricted for much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that their presence beyond the domestic sphere was too anomalous to invalidate the general interpretative models. The majority of women travellers before the late nineteenth century were either very exceptional (the exceptions that proved the rule) or they were (very ordinary) wives of colonial administrators wedded to the empire, and compliant with its ideology and models. Such women, by importing and promulgating European forms of domesticity, with their

Introduction  9 familiarizing and comforting sense of order, introduced satellite cultures into the colonies. These served empire by imposing imperial order through a colonial style that insinuated the dominant culture’s authority through particular structures and spatial codes. The orderly domestic interior, with its (to outsiders) intimidating array of cutlery (a cultural code that signifies class), is, on a smaller scale, comparable to the grid-like urban designs, zoning, and colonial architecture imposed on foreign sites, all of which were designed to interpose imperial authority through imperialist spatial form— the outward manifestation of the structures of meaning and interpretative models underlying imperial order. There is strong coherence in the following chapters to the proposition that European travel writing since the Middle Ages shapes and reflects imperialist worldviews whose superstructure rests on the base of an ideologically charged imperial form (to borrow from Marx). This imperial form is binarist in nature and so the construction of binaries in the context of imperialist travel writing might be considered a discursive and rhetorical strategy consistent with imperialist ideology. Conversely, the deterring and deferring of binaries could be regarded as a post-imperialist/postcolonial move. Imperialist travel writing, as a form, organises binaries particular to the construction of imperialist worldviews and locates these in places which are to be incorporated or maintained within the empire. The primary mode of this form is referential—that is, same and not-same—and incorporating, and its main strategy is to harness the mobility and potential waywardness of travel under the order and control of systematic imperial mapping. In this case, the motion of travel is spatialised in a form of travel writing whose main aim is to fix potentially itinerant geographies into a stable, imperialistic scheme. Travel Writing and the Politics of Form: From the Order of Things to the Anti-Structure of Writing Back This collection of chapters on travel ranges across historical periods and across Hispanic, Francophone, and Anglophone cultures. Individually, the chapters are, in the main, concerned with their own local historical contexts, and only one or two move beyond a single period, locality, and text, or cluster of texts. It is worth therefore trying to draw together the common threads, which might, in the overall context of empire and travel, help us to identify a politics of form. In postcolonial travel writing, this would be found in the strategic manipulation of the texts’ organisation, with the aim of installing, subverting, and rewriting the imperialist form they seek to transcend. But there is no guarantee that such subversion in form will work in the sometimes fraught politics of postcolonialism, which is sometimes accused of continuing an overweening approach to the rest of the world. As Holland

10  Paul Smethurst and Huggan point out, postcolonial criticism is more likely to address travel writing from the imperial centres than from the former colonies.14 Contemporary travelogues may be filtered through a self-reflexive, postimperialist consciousness, but they may still reinforce an ordering of things, a form, that is still western in origin. As Charles Sugnet puts it: “Though the traveler no longer represents a literal imperial power and may specifically disclaim such complicity, he still arrogates to himself the rights of representation, judgement, and mobility that were effects of empire”.15 This points to a residual imperialism that still confers such privileges as mobility on one class (and for Sugnet, still one gender), and that class—the travelling class—operates in a neo-imperialist fashion and repeats the signifying practices of an earlier mode of travel writing. This may well account for much contemporary travel writing, but what of that travel writing which is self-consciously postcolonial and in which the postcolonial subject seizes the privileged space of the narrator and switches roles of traveller/travellee, observer/observed, and narrator/narrated? And what of a traveller such as Pico Iyer, who is both a postcolonial subject and a traveller in the new global space of capital where there is no privileged place for the narrator? Both he and we are immersed in the space of representation, perhaps the space of a new imperialism that has no national borders? Today’s cosmopolitan traveller, if Iyer is to be believed, is not necessarily carrying the baggage and privileges of empire, but is rather the subject of a new imperialist order that defines itself not through the binary geometries and polygonal geographies of imperialism, but through the heterotopia of multi-national capital. This traveller Pico Iyer defines rather too grandly as the “global soul”, as if the post-imperial tourist has magically transcended boundaries of empire and nation.16 Exoticism, it seems, can never quite be expunged from postcolonial travel narratives when these are aimed principally at western audiences. The exotic is more criss-crossed by the migrations of postcolonial geographies and perhaps is centred more on the writer’s heritage, but it remains a factor. More damaging is that the would-be revisionism of postcolonial travel writing is read as mere experiments in form (travels in an uncritical postmodernism): further evidence of western culture continuing to provide the meaning-making apparatus even through an aesthetics that denies meaning, unless provisional, and so stands in apparent opposition to the imperial form mentioned previously. It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between revisionism that bases itself on a new politics of form (writing back), and mere stylistic innovation basing itself in western aesthetics rather than the lifeways of the postcolonial subject—even if, or perhaps because, these coincide. Ideas of travelling theory and nomadism might invoke the lifeways of exiles and nomads, but they only theoretically relocate a western-looking consciousness, which returns more charged and empowered to see the world ‘as it really is’. For example, Roland Barthes’ The Empire of Signs, while seeking to move beyond Orientalist approaches to the East, seems only to extend

Introduction  11 Orientalism into a poststructuralist phase. Barthes abstracts Japan from its particular historical and cultural discourses only to impose his own theory of semiotics and signification. As a result of this abstraction, “Japan loses its sense of identity and agency as it becomes merely an illustrator of his views of signs and their circulation in society.”17 Holland and Huggan wonder how far “contemporary travel narratives [can] resist the continuing charge of cultural imperialism”.18 But notwithstanding the allegations of a western and cosmopolitan intellectual imperialism in postcolonial politics, there are genuine tactics and strategies employed by postcolonial travel writers to write back. And if new formal strategies in travel narratives can be interpreted as cultural critique of past colonialism and a continuing cultural imperialism, does it matter that these strategies are often developed in the metropolitan centres and do not arise from the indigenous or emergent culture of former colonies? Given that the readership of contemporary travel narratives is almost entirely metropolitan, if not exclusively western in any geographical sense, how can the form avoid the charge that it is not continuing to indulge in exoticism, in bringing the unfamiliar ‘home’, wherever that might be. Caryl Phillips’s reversal of the Grand Tour in The European Tribe is directly addressed to a white, European audience—black people are scrutinised by white readers, but the more significant reversal is that of Phillips performing the role of a black narrator interposing his blackness in the white discursive terrain of European travel. Phillips is simultaneously both one of ‘us’ and one of ‘them’ (from the West and the Rest). In Venice, he imagines the presence of Othello, although he finds only one other black man in the city, and his visit becomes an occasion to explore white European society from the moor’s point of view as a cultural and racial misfit. Phillips ‘blackens’ the white imaginary, and turns one man’s sexual jealousy into that of a whole race excluded from white European history.19 The form of the travel narrative remains entirely intact, but a black voice has hijacked the vehicle—Phillips has assumed the authority to travel, and to write. Postcolonial narratives seek to counter centuries of European prejudice based on models of representation that typify the genre of travel writing, such as the correlation of self–other; familiar–unfamiliar; and the aesthetics of distance that exoticises (rather than realises and recognises) far-off places. To offer a postcolonialist critique of the whole tradition of European travel writing, and the discourse it stands for, the postcolonial travel writer would need to subvert the very form of the travel narrative, which, in the case of Phillips, relies not only on occupying the privileged site of performative narration, but then on direct hectoring of the white, middle-class reader. But although this is a kind of writing back, it still reinforces the old distinctions of traveller and travellee in its reversal. Simply seizing the form of travel writing is already a significant step towards establishing postcolonial travel writing. But a number of established writers (Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth, Pico Iyer, V. S. Naipaul, and Phillips among them) have

12  Paul Smethurst at least one foot outside western culture and are increasingly using the space of travel writing as a mode of self-enunciation and cultural exploration. In the process, they are also seeking to extend the discursive boundaries and semantic horizons of the form, and in some cases, to subvert it from within. In the case of postcolonial writers, such as the ones just mentioned, narrative authority is linked to their postcolonial experience and heritage and to strategies of self-authentication. In their travel writing, the postcolonial subject engages in a “performative syntax of reassertion, engagements with historical contingency, challenges to colonial interpellations, and repossession of agency and gaze.”20 Indeed, postcoloniality becomes a condition of possibility for their textualities and a source of narrative authority. The Chapters The seven chapters included in the first part of the volume range from preemptive imperialist moves, such as attempts to organize and locate imaginary or anticipatory European empires (Campbell and Fuller), to attempts to overlay Christian notions of the savage onto an imperialist web sanctioned by God (Warwick), to designing imperialist typologies (Pickford), and to efforts to prop up grand imperialist schemes already showing signs of fracture (Behdad, Agnew, Scholl). Mary Campbell’s chapter on the location of “Aethiopia” (modern Ethiopia) and the legendary land of Prester John in medieval travel literature illustrates early examples of imperial form and meaning. “Aethiopia” shifts continents in the geographical imagination, and is variously located in India and Africa, but this apparent cartographic vagueness can be seen as a deliberate strategy in the formation of an imperialist discursive terrain. Aethiopia is first located in India as the home of Prester John, the legendary Christian ruler mentioned by Oderic, Polo, Mandeville, and others. He has to be located here to provide a Christian wing to a projected Christian empire, and India at the time provides this almost aesthetic “bookend”. But in a shift from simple spatial and symbolic binaries of medieval thinking, the European imperial imaginary develops a hierarchical sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’ in which the legendary kingdom of Prester John, if it exists, must necessarily be inferior to western Christendom. The idea of an under-developed Christian topos in Africa then suits the orderly imagination of an emerging imperialism. Mary Fuller explores Richard Hakluyt’s anthologizing of English travel writings in Principal Navigations (1598–1600) and questions the common generalisation of this as the progenitor of an imperial discourse firmly anchored in the maritime history and expansionist ideology of the English nation. Hakluyt, his book, and his sources are scrutinised here to reveal a far more complex history. Fuller questions, for example, the common assumption that Hakluyt’s motives in producing the 2,000-page volume resulted

Introduction  13 from a religious conviction—English empire as part of God’s universal plan. Furthermore, she questions Hakluyt’s Englishness by bringing to light the many foreign sources and contacts he used. In the end, the Englishness of Hakluyt and his book lie unravelled and shot through with the foreign. It is the subsequent smoothing over of historical facts and detailed signifying practices that makes Hakluyt retrospectively gel with dominant structures of knowledge: the imperialist discourse that would eventually claim Hakluyt and his book of English travel. Jack Warwick shifts attention to three French travellers who were nearcontemporaries of Hakluyt: Marc Lescarbot, Samuel de Champlain, and Gabriel Sagard, all of whom travelled to Canada in the early seventeenth century. In these travel accounts the empirical, the religious, and the mythical are sometimes entangled in the discursive terrain, but the establishment of stereotypical traveller-heroes and savages in want of (Christian) civilisation is an all-too-familiar trope of imperialist discourse. In what would become a ritual of degradation and desire in exploration literature, the representation of the savage sometimes transforms into the ‘noble’ kind. The savage is presented through this dualism of depraved-noble, emphasising his or her unstable representational status as the projection of European imperialist discourse. The traveller-hero, by contrast, is constant and in control of his destiny, even if his particular goal here—the North-west Passage—turns out to be beyond his ken. Although Hakluyt’s methods in gathering a corpus of travel texts together in the early seventeenth century to establish a discursive basis for British empire may not have been as orderly or imperialist as some have assumed, by the nineteenth century orderly (and by extension, imperialist and masculinist) geographies were predominant. Susan Pickford’s study of Mariana Starke’s guides to Europe reveals how Murray’s popular guide-books recast Starke’s potentially disorderly “rambling discourse”, and repositioned her travel accounts in his safely circumscribed series of European travel guides, where marks and margins on the page and the organization and presentation of details suggest imperial and masculine order. The fact that the systematised representation of places according to prescribed descriptive and qualitative categories was actually this woman’s innovation is a nice twist, highlighting the contradictions and disorderliness that underlie imperial form. Imperialist strategies revolving around the assimilation of the foreign into ‘home’ are explored both in Eadaoin Agnew’s chapter on the English domestic scene in British India, and in Lesa Scholl’s chapter on Harriet Martineau’s approach to the domestication of Egyptian cultures. For Agnew, the feminine in Lady Hariot Dufferin’s writings on India is not in opposition to a masculine imperial archive, but rather contributes to the normalization of colonialist relations. Dufferin does this by transporting Victorian domestic life to the hill stations of India, thereby mobilizing a recognizably English scene with its own caste system, head of family and wife, as metonym for

14  Paul Smethurst British rule. Naturalization of this scene infers that the English are ‘natural’ rulers at home and, by extension, wherever they make themselves ‘at home’. Scholl’s theoretical moves are similar, although through a different process and this time in Egypt. Translation is the metaphor here for fitting the foreign into the home culture through an approach that privileges the target language and culture. For Martineau, it is the metaphor of translation rather than the metonym of the English domestic scene by which the foreign is made to correspond to Victorian norms. Continuing the focus on the Middle East, Ali Behdad’s chapter takes a long historical view at the French imperialist tradition in the region from the late seventeenth to the late nineteenth century. Behdad draws attention to three imperialist constructions in travel writing: he begins with the Orient as a site of exotic difference in the seventeenth century, then moves on to accounts of its scientific and educational usage in the eighteenth, and ends with its representation as a commercially-centred adventure ground. Although the discursive pull of this chapter is towards historical division, it can be read, in the context of this volume, as the development of imperialist form. The chapters in the second half of this volume focus on travel writing which draws attention to imperial form in order to challenge it, especially by re-engaging with the potentially disordering mobility implicit in travel and travel writing. Where imperialist travel writings contain and spatialise mobility in imperialist structures of control (often figured in the metaphor of mapping), the travel writing described here generally foregrounds the motion of travel for its alternative meaning-making potential, such as the metaphorical possibilities of rambling, and undirected or circuitous motion, or in a refusal to move—the contrariness of a travel writing of reflective stasis, or of motion that does not register on a cartographic scale. Disorderliness is not just a recurring theme here, but it affects the form and extends the genre as well. In particular, the representation of temporal and spatial disjunctions, and reversals common in cinematic form, re-organises narratives which traditionally hold to the topographic logic (plot) of the journey. In the travel narratives discussed in these chapters, the motion of travel and the mobility of the travelling subject problematise the processes of signification, now released from the binary structures of an imperialist discursive terrain. In moves frequently deconstructive, and in the spirit of the free play of signifiers, these narratives equate mobility with a fluidity that displaces signs and induces disjuncture. But these are not always simply contra meaning-making. The discursive terrains of empire are often explicitly challenged, and mobility has been used as a device for unfixing travel from imperialist discourse to resituate it in other, often contradictory, spaces. The turn is from utopian to heterotopian. In his chapter on Henri Michaux’s travels in Ecuador, David Scott draws attention to the referential habits of the travel writer by focusing on semiotic difficulties implied by the fluidity of the Amazon basin. The jungle here

Introduction  15 is a terrain without fixed points, without the advantages of high ground metaphorically and practically. The fluidity of the Amazon region is indicative of the representational problems inherent in describing it, or perhaps the terrain is no more than the canvas on which representational problems are projected. Scott’s chapter brings out a strong sense in Michaux of being caught within the referent, trapped in the process of signification, and (my words, not his) not being able to see the woods for the trees. Peter Hulme chooses a more contemporary writer and a very different terrain for his chapter on William Least Heat-Moon’s PrairyErth (A Deep Map). But again, there is a ‘deep’ relationship between terrain and meaning, and between terrain and form. Reversing Michaux’s semiotic disorientation in unmappable space, Heat-Moon is rethinking relations between time, space, and experience by dwelling for some time on and in a single location which he criss-crosses with endless mappings, reminiscent of Thoreau at Walden ponds. But unlike Thoreau, Heat-Moon it is not seeking transcendence through nature; rather, he seeks a deep and slow encounter with ‘the real’. Mapping here covers all dimensions and especially that of time. Motion is stalled, fixed, leaving the traveller, apparently without end (and without purpose), “travelling on the spot”. By reducing motion to a minimum, mobility is in check, and a kind of spatial order seems to have been achieved. But order is soon disrupted when other kinds of mobility come into play. Motion comes not from movement across space, but backwards and forwards in time, a most unstable and destabilizing form of travel. In the post-imperialist context, the stillness of travelling on the spot gives way to a space-time in which the submerged indigenous culture of American Indians is brought to the fore. It is towards this absence/presence that HeatMoon travels. In similar theoretical and political terrain, Tim Youngs’ chapter is also firmly ‘grounded’ in the representational possibilities of sites associated with indigenous culture. It describes how contemporary Australian writers, collaborating with Aboriginal contributors, construct an inclusive and multi-form travelogue. Informed by the double-coded stylistic hybridity characteristic of postmodern form, these contemporary travelogues surrender the order of mapped space to a ‘double-crossed’ subjectivity, which attempts to incorporate (western) self and (aboriginal) other, and an interlacing form. But the chapter works through an interesting dilemma in postcolonial travel writing caught within the interpretative theoretical models of western discourse that it is trying to resist. Referring to Reading the Country by Krim Benterrak, Stephen Muecke, and Paddy Roe, Youngs draws attention to the book’s “formal experiments . . . multiple perspectives, and its engagement with Aboriginal ideas of movement”, seeing this in the first instance as representing “an implicit challenge to the travel narratives associated with European expansion, in which western protagonists move among peoples who are viewed as immobile by comparison” (Youngs, p. 148 below). But Youngs draws our attention to an irony here: Muecke’s innovations in form which

16  Paul Smethurst are designed to “give voice and representation to the Aboriginal presence” are meditated through western theory, so the West seems to be determining the representational form through which the Aboriginal presence is realised. Muecke is well aware of the potential mismatch of form to reality when he hears Aborigine Paddy Roe’s call to inject motion into this representation of Aboriginal history: “We must make these things move”. The challenge is to incorporate mobility in “the potentially static nature of our project: the production of a white man’s artifact, a book” (Muecke, cited in Youngs, p. 148, below). Robert Clarke’s chapter explores Reading the Country in the context of contemporary Australian travel writing, and through explicit reference to reconciliation, also the subject of Peter Bishop’s survey of travel writing. Reconciliation travel is charged with the duty to “witness and remember”. In contemporary Australian travel writing, vernacular narratives are found which self-consciously range across space in continual processes of remaking. These contrast with the insistence on order and control in colonial histories of space. But differentiating reconciliation travel writing from postcolonial travel writing, Bishop draws attention to the problem inherent in the latter of attempting to invert or replay the binary of “wounded– wounder”. This is the drawback of a postcolonial form directly informed by postcolonial guilt. Bishop looks more positively towards the extension of the travel writing form into ficto-documentary autobiographical works such as Sebald’s Austerlitz, which comes round to the subject of guilt and wounding via a journey through real places, sometimes loosely, and even metaphorically, associated with the Holocaust. The silence of the “yet to be reconciled” is not found in the conventional mode of the travel narrative, which follows the form of the “wounder” and is seeking a new form to contain the experience of the wounded. Taking what is the essential mode of travel writing—the presence of sites and spatial markers, and passage through and between these—Sebald points the way to a form in which fragmentation, displacement, and distortion of traumatic pasts might be represented. Reconciliation travel might be seeking narrative closure, but as Bishop points out, it rarely achieves it. Yet the form of reconciliation travel writing does seem to extend the possibilities of travel writing through the idea of spatial narratives, organized according to place and landscape, working through and across space and memory, rather than time and history, and avoiding the temporal order of linearity and closure. Places would then become the sites of memories, and travel the casting back and forth through these with the object of repairing routes and restoring destinations. Photographs and films might be another possibility for representing travel experience detached from the shaping and imperious, if not imperialist, force of narrative. Maureen Moynagh’s chapter on the archives of political tourists asks interesting questions about preserving memories of

Introduction  17 travel in a photographic form which seems immediately to bridge spatiotemporal distance. Here, it is the history of Nicaragua that is replayed in snapshots, revisited and scrutinized ten years later when a documentary film is made in the ‘footsteps’ of the sites depicted in those same snapshots. There are several paradoxes here. For one thing, there is an opposition between the archive (with connotations of imperialist discourse) that belongs to the political tourist (itself something of an oxymoron) and the fluidity of the touristic images it comprises. There is also a contradiction in that the political tourist is often granted a privilege of mobility that implicates her in nationalist and imperialist discourses. But the chapter is mainly concerned with the mutability of this archive, and in particular about how film is turned against ‘still’ photographs from ten years earlier. Film destabilises the archive, but then becomes self-reflexively archival itself as it reveals the relationship between the “reproducible, material form to which memory is consigned in the archive and the psychic value that material objects hold” (Moynagh, p. 204 below). At the same time a new kind of control is hinted at in the idea of the world on film and the drift towards total surveillance. As Moynagh points out, the ubiquitous tourist movie camera suggests internalisation of this more sinister discourse of control. Spending several weeks in a mobile home exploring the service areas of the Paris–Marseille autoroute might not be everyone’s idea of fun, or an account of such a journey everyone’s idea of travel writing. But Claire Lindsay’s chapter on Julio Cortázar and Dunlop’s travel narrative, Les Autonautes de la Cosmoroute (1983), shows this autoroute experience as a meaningful pastiche of travel narrative, with subversive intent working towards anti-genre. Some commentators have linked this with a travel literature of exhaustion— the end of travel, and not a very imaginative end. But although the postimperialist resonance is not obvious, this anti-journey through non-place is read by Lindsay as political comment on postcolonial Central America, at the same time as a postmodern parody without destination. Notes 1. See his introduction in Steve Clark, ed., Travel Writing and Empire: Postcolonial Theory in Transit (London: Zed Books, 1999), pp. 1–28 (at pp. 6–8). 2. “Preface”, in Michel Foucault, The Order of Things [1966 in French] (New York: Vintage Books, 1994), pp. xv–xxiv. 3. Michel Foucault, The Order of Things, p. xvii. Foucault describes the decline of the “half-empirical, half-philosophical” (p. xxii) humanism of the modern age, and anticipates “a new wrinkle in our knowledge” whereby the newly discovered centre of knowledge—post-enlightenment man—will disappear as soon as the new knowledge “has discovered a new form” (p. xxiii). The “new form” is perhaps the “anti-form” of post-structuralism: a form of disorder, the shape of disarray presenting itself as the new, superficial, order of things. 4. Peter Hulme and Tim Youngs in their introduction to The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).

18  Paul Smethurst 5. See for example, Michel de Certeau, “Spatial Stories” in his The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven Rendall (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984); Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge, 1994). 6. See for example, Sarah Mills, “Knowledge, Gender, and Empire” in Writing Women and Space: Colonial and Postcolonial Geographies, Alison Blunt and Gillian Rose, eds. (New York: Guilford Press, 1994) pp. 29–50. 7. See, for example, Dean MacCannell, The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class (New York: Schrocken, 1976); David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990); Michel Foucault, “Of Other Spaces”, trans. Jay Miskowiec, Diacritics, 16 (1986): 22–27. 8. See Edward Said, “Travelling Theory” in his The World, The Text, the Critic (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983), pp. 226–47; Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minnesota: Minneapolis University Press, 1980); Caren Kaplan, “Deterritorializations: The Rewriting of Home and Exile in Western Feminist Discourse”, Cultural Critique, 6 (1987): 187–98. 9. In “The Analytical Language of John Wilkins,” Borges describes “a certain Chinese Encyclopedia”, the Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge. The citation to Borges is in Foucault, The Order of Things, p. xv. 10. See Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, trans. William Weaver (London: Picador, 1979) p. 10, for a postmodern retelling of the relationship between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan. The empire has become entirely discursive—it is whatever Polo tells the Kublai Khan it is, and only Polo’s retelling keeps the empire from turning to dust. 11. Foucault, The Order of Things, p. xviii. 12. Columbus’ Letter to the King and Queen of Spain, 1494 (see the Internet Medieval Sourcebook at www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook.html last accessed 11/11/07); Sir Walter Ralegh, The Discoverie of the Large, Rich, and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana [1596], transcribed, annotated and introduced by Neil L. Whitehead (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997), p. 199. 13. See Cheryl McEwan, Gender, Geography and Empire (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000); Sara Mills, Discourses of Difference (London: Routledge, 1991); Indira Ghose, Women Travellers in Colonial India: The Power of the Female Gaze (London: Routledge, 1991). 14. Patrick Holland and Graham Huggan, Tourists with Typewriters: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Travel Writing (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998), p. 47. 15. Charles Sugnet, “Vile Bodies, Vile Places: Traveling with Granta”, Transition, 51 (1991), 70–85 (at p. 85). 16. Pico Iyer, The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, and the Search for Home [2000] (New York: Vintage Books, 2001). 17. I am quoting from a paper given by Wimal Dissanayake at a panel I organised— “The Discourse of Travel in a Portable Age”, at the fourth Crossroads in Culture conference, Tampere, Finland, 2002. The paper was entitled, “Narrative Authority in Post-Colonial Travel Writing”. 18. Holland and Huggan, Tourists with Typewriters, p. 48. 19. Caryl Phillips, The European Tribe [1987] (London: Picador, 1993), pp. 45–51. 20. Wimal Dissanayake, “Narrative Authority in Post-Colonial Travel Writing”.

Part One

The Discursive Terrains of Empire

1 Asia, Africa, Abyssinia Writing the Land of Prester John Mary Baine Campbell

The steps up which the Emperor goes to his throne where he sits at meals are, in turn, onyx, crystal, jasper, amethyst, sardonyx and coral; and the highest step, which he rests his feet on when at meat, is chrysolite . . . The pillars in his chamber are of gold set with precious stones, many of which are carbuncles to give light at night. Nevertheless every night he has burning in his chamber twelve vessels of crystal full of balm, to give a good sweet smell and drive away noxious airs. —Mandeville’s Travels (c. 1356) They told me that their houses and dwellings were made of reeds plastered with mud within and without. And in the said country there is no house of dressed stone, nor any other buildings, except that each king on reaching the throne builds a church in which he should be buried. —Francesco Suriano, Iter (c. 1482) The land of spices, something understood. . . . —George Herbert, “Prayer (I)” (1633) I Ethiopia, as it has mostly been called by its own people, occupied a peculiarly mobile and shadowy place on pre-modern European maps of the world. Homer does not quite seem to know where it is, when he speaks in the Odyssey of “the far Aethiopians, . . . most distant of men, who live divided, some at the setting of the sun, some at his rising . . .”. The biblical book of Esther does not really clear things up, though it echoes the pairing of extremities, when it tells us Esther’s new husband “Ahasuerus . . . reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and

22  Mary Baine Campbell twenty provinces”.1 Even the spices that reached Europe from the Malabar Coast of India were believed to be from East Africa, where Europeans had bought them from African middlemen since Roman times. The confusion of place between the Indian subcontinent and the East African highland country now chiefly constituted as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and parts of Somalia goes back a long time and belongs to more than one culture of western Eurasia. Political reasons for the fusion and confusion of two such disparate regions have shifted dramatically, but the persistence of the Ethiopian-Indian link is fascinating, and the confusion of regions since before the onset of European colonial expansion and domination has had consequences as real as their shared identity was imaginary. It is a persistence belonging first and foremost though to literary history, for during much of the time of mythologizing there was scarcely any direct or unmediated contact between Europe and either place, and knowledge was text-based. The legendary priest-king Prester John appears on the fourteenth-century Hereford Map in India and on Frau Mauro’s fifteenth-century map in Africa: literary history eventually shifted him from an India conceived as a utopian and compensatory other world to an Ethiopia known to lie below Egypt and next to Sudan in the real economic world of Venetian and eventually Portuguese trade. But that Ethiopia was never until recently seen outside the shadow of its “Indian” promise, though it was finally felt as a promise broken. Although the yoking of India and Ethiopia is earliest attested for European and Mediterranean culture in the biblical book of Esther, India’s earliest presence by name in the literature and lore of specifically Christian Europe is as the missionary destination of that most interesting of apostles, Doubting Thomas, in the late third-century apocryphal Acts of St. Thomas, which were translated into many languages, including the Ethiopian scriptural language of Ge’ez. Geographical plurality of location follows immediately, with Thomas’s Christian colony located in the northwest of India, the southwest Malabar Coast, the town of Malyapur (Mylapore) on the southeast coast, and with his relics buried in Malyapur and in Edessa in present-day Turkey, to which his holy remains seem to have, mostly, been ‘translated’. Later European visitors such as Friar Jordanus and Marco Polo found his cult established in Malyapur, where a Christian community held and still holds their church to be his burial place. A little later than the Acts of St. Thomas, we have the fourth-century account of Rufinus recounting the origins of Christianity in Aethiopia: when [Frumentius] arrived in India [i.e., Ethiopia] as bishop, such grace is said to have been given to him by God that apostolic miracles were wrought by him and a countless number of barbarians were converted by him to the faith. From which time Christian peoples and churches have been created in the parts of India, and the priesthood has begun. These facts I know . . . from . . . Aedesius himself [Frumentius’ companion]. . . .2

Asia, Africa, Abyssinia  23 The literary, or at any rate textual, plot thickens quite a bit in the twelfth century when—in 1121, to be precise—a successful Mongol-Buddhist warlord in Central Asia, Yeh-lui Tashih, decisively defeated the Persian army of the Seljuk king Sanjar and made his presence felt through a tale told by a Syrian bishop, the Frenchman Hugh of Jabala.3 During preparations for the Second Crusade, Hugh made his way in 1145 from his see in the Latin kingdom of Edessa to Rome and then Viterbo to present to Pope Eugenius III an account which has come down to us in the text that first seeded the immortal legend of Prester John, Christian king of India—or maybe of someplace east of India, or north of India, or of Aethiopia. It was Aethiopia where the potentate was tracked down by the Portuguese in the fifteenth century, and disappeared beneath an accumulating burden of fact. Bishop Hugh’s account of Prester John’s victory over the Selkuk Sanjar was transmitted by the historian Otto of Friesing. Otto had happened to be at the Pope’s court when Hugh visited, and later included an account of what he heard there in his Scriptores rerum Germanicum with regard to “[a] certain John, king and priest of the people living beyond the Persians and Armenians, in the extreme Orient, professing Christianity . . .”.4 Along with the famous hoax called The Letter of Prester John that followed about twenty years later, it coloured all subsequent accounts of an Asia understood as stretching from East Africa to Cathay but often anchored in mythical and eventually historical accounts of Abyssinia, a province the late thirteenth-century traveller Marco Polo places in “Middle India” (while at the same time debunking it as the Land of Prester John). The year 1121 had also seen a visit to Pope Calixtus by a certain prelate “John” of India, which news comes down to us in two independent accounts prior to Otto’s historia that laid some of the groundwork for the coalescence of the legend of the Christian conqueror, in their relations of the miracle of the shrine of St. Thomas; the miracle (or anyway its local fame, in one of various “Indias”) is substantiated by an account of it in an Ethiopian collection of saints’ lives. The legend of the re-animated hand of Doubting Thomas (perhaps the relic left behind when the rest of the body was taken to Edessa?) is itself wonderfully self-dividing. In the earlier of the two accounts it receives gifts from the local people, but closes at the approach of an infidel. In the later account it distributes the gift of the Eucharist to the faithful, though it closes similarly to the reach of infidels, who die as a result. This gift-giving ceremony occurs on the October feast day of the saint, during the dry season—or contrariwise the July feast day of the saint, during the rainy season: pick your expert. It divides in location as well: in the De adventu, one of the two twelfth-century texts from which we get the legend, the account of “India” may have been assigned by its scribe to India on the strength of Patriarch John’s account of this miracle as occurring at the ambiguously located shrine of Thomas, even if the traveller was really, as scholars now think, referring to the saint’s relics at Edessa.5

24  Mary Baine Campbell In 1320, Friar Jordanus of Séverac (sometime bishop of the east coast Indian city of Columbum) will describe Aethiopia but call it “India Tertia”, adding another and very similar account of Ethiopia under that name as a province of “Greater Arabia”: Of India Tertia I will say this, that I have not indeed seen its many marvels, not having been there, but have heard them from trustworthy persons. For example, there be dragons in greatest abundance, which carry on their heads the lustrous stones which be called carbuncles. These animals come together at the destined time, develop wings, and begin to raise themselves in the air, and then, by the judgement of God, being too heavy, they drop into a certain river which issues from Paradise, and perish there. 2. But all the regions round about watch for the time of the dragons, and when they see that one has fallen, they wait for lxx days, and then go down and find the bare bones of the dragon, and take the carbuncle which is rooted in the top of his head, and carry it to the emperor of the Ethiopians, whom you call Prestre John . . . Of Aethiopia, I say that it is a very great land, and very hot. There are many monsters there, such as gryphons that guard the golden mountains which be there. Here, too, be serpents and other venemous beasts, of vast size and venemous exceedingly. 3. There, too, are very many pretious stones. The lord of that land I believe to be more potent than any man in the world, and richer in gold and silver and in pretious stones.6 The complex history of persons and events contributing to this legendary Christian king and his mobile realm would take a book to unwind properly, but in the process we could learn a 500-year history of European contacts with and imagination of Asia, at least the Asia which was in some sense conjured by the words “India” and “Abyssinia” both, in the world Marco Polo lived in and wrote for.7 The “Indies” have been plural for a long time— and the French word for turkey is “d‘inde”—“of India”. Both of the latter terms refer to an edible bird indigenous to the east coast of what we now call the United States: the sacrificial lamb of the secular Thanksgiving holiday, modelled on the Jewish harvest feast of Sukkhot and celebrated first in Massachusetts by a worn-out group of Protestant Christian “pilgrims” from Amsterdam. II The high and late Middle Ages distinguish between three Indias in the geographical works, among others, of the friar, Odoric of Pordenone, who went as far as Cathay, Friar Jordanus, and the more famous books of the Venetian Marco Polo and the imaginary Englishman, Sir John Mandeville. These three Indias are India Major, India Minor, and India Tertia or Middle India,

Asia, Africa, Abyssinia  25 which Marco Polo calls Abascia (Abyssinia), though it is not yet definitively located in the East African countries we now refer to as Ethiopia and Eritrea. All these travellers—even “Mandeville” may name someone who went as far as the Holy Land—mixed experienced places with those known by hearsay and other texts, and though Polo himself got to the Red Sea coast of modern Ethiopia, he obediently inscribes his Abascia in the Indian subcontinent. On the other hand, he also notes that St. Thomas had first been a missionary to East African “Nubia”.8 The pattern of division seems to extend infinitely: Abyssinia and Aethiopia, for instance, were both actually indigenous names for the area now encompassed mainly by modern Ethiopia and Eritrea, a country of divided cultural heritage, Arabic in the coastal east (from long before the Muslim invasions of north Africa) and Hamitic in the western interior. It privileged, and still does, the Greek name—meaning “burnt” or ”shining faces”—we first see in the lines I quoted from Homer’s Odyssey when, at the beginning of Book I, Poseidon is called back from attending a burnt offering there by a council of the gods. That those “Aethiop” faces may be understood to be “shining” rather than burnt is an etymological possibility reflected not only in the line identifying them with sunrise and sunset, but also in the negative words, for instance, of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s thirteenth-century Parzival, when the African mother of the Christian hero Parzival’s half-brother is introduced like this: “If there is anything brighter than daylight, the queen in no way resembled it”.9 Marco Polo, describing Middle India, says he “was informed that the Christians of these parts, in order to be distinguished as such, make three signs or marks, namely, one on the forehead, and one on each cheek, which are imprinted with a hot iron. This may be considered a second baptism with fire, after the baptism with water”.10 It is reflected most consequentially in the mineral resplendence of the great potentate, so peculiarly distributed from the sunrise to the sunset of the indistinct and fundamentally distant land, summarised as the three Indias, and culminating in the human disasters of the Indian diamond mines and Italy’s colonial theft of the coastal areas of Abyssinia. For as Prester John announces in his twelfth-century Letter, “In one of [our] provinces flows a river called the Physon, which, emerging from Paradise, winds and wanders through the entire province, and in it are found emeralds, sapphires, carbuncles, topazes, chrysolites, onyxes, beryls, sardonyxes, and many other precious stones”. As for his own palace, “the roof is of ebony, which cannot be injured by fire. At the extremities, above the gables, are two golden apples, set in each of which are two carbuncles, so that the gold shines by day and the carbuncles shine by night. . . . The tables at which our court dines are some of gold and some of amythest; the columns supporting them are of ivory.”11 The painstaking work of historians with ancient texts from many parts of the Eurasian land mass has suggested to me at least that the emissary to the Byzantine Patriarch in 1121, possibly from Edessa, the so-called

26  Mary Baine Campbell “Indian Patriarch John” who went on to Pope Calixtus at Rome and spoke of “India”, was actually a Monophysite Christian from Ethiopia. The motif of shining and burning forms an intriguing linguistic sign of this connection in “Patriarch John’s” account (in the De adventu) of the annual monstration of the Body of St. Thomas on his feast day. The etymology of the Greek word “aithiops” includes its use in the epics as an epithet for wine, usually translated as “shining”. The saint’s body is taken from its silver shell and placed on a golden throne, where “the face shines like a star, having red hair hanging almost down to the shoulders [and] a [curly] red beard”.12 Odysseus, in his so-called “Cretan lies”, calls himself “Aithon”, a name which, according to Homerist Leonard Muellner, “has to do with hungry people whose stomachs are ‘on fire’ and who tell lies to get fed; they typically have red hair because of the fire in their bellies.”13 Is Doubting Thomas here fused with a previous wanderer from the eastern Mediterranean, Odysseus the liar? Whether or not the various traces of Greek tradition and lore I see in the De adventu and the Letter of Prester John would hold up to investigation, information from or about Ethiopia had no bones to stick to in a Christendom aching with anxiety and addicted to the aesthetic principle in geography. The history of knowledge is itself often a history of literature, and even political history is sometimes moved and under-girded by the kinds of meaning usually left to literary critics to decipher. Perhaps the most meaningful pivot for the intersecting political and literary history of medieval knowledge of India is the Letter of Prester John quoted previously, of which we have about one hundred extant texts in a large number of languages, including Icelandic and the Hebrew of a late medieval Italian Jew. It is this anonymous document, together with some reference to the Parzival romance of Wolfram von Eschenbach (c. 1210) and the Travels (c. 1356) of the imaginary Englishman Sir John Mandeville (by some accounts a physician from Liège, known as Jehan a la Barbe, or Jehan de Bourgogne) which now require closer scrutiny. Both writers knew that curious and influential forgery, and incorporated it into widely read texts that offered not merely geographical but spiritual maps of the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century mundus. The Letter opens thus: John the Presbyter, by the grace of God and the strength of our Lord Jesus Christ, king of kings and lord of lords, to his friend Manuel, Governor of the Byzantines, greetings, wishing him health and the continued enjoyment of the divine blessing. Our Majesty has been informed that you hold our Excellency in esteem, and that knowledge of our greatness has reached you . . . Now it is our desire to know whether you hold the true faith . . .; for while we know that we are mortal, your little Greeks regard you as a god; still we know that you are mortal, and subject to human weaknesses . . . If indeed you wish to know wherein consists our great power, then believe without doubting that I, Prester John, who

Asia, Africa, Abyssinia  27 reign supreme, exceed in riches, virtue, and power all creatures under heaven.14 What is it that compelled the literate of so many countries, including the Vatican itself, where the learned theologian Pope Alexander III composed and sent an answer to the Letter in 1177, to believe such a peculiar document, so conspicuously lacking in diplomatic formulas, so boastful and so vague? Desire—whether of the writer or of a demanding readership—is the force that chooses presences in a text. What, then, is desirable in this hoax? First, because it is most pragmatically desirable, is the strategic fact: a wealthy Christian prince on the other side of the Muslim barricades, whether of Egypt or of the Mongol imperium. Fear of Muslim expansionism was perfectly realistic, and not just with regard to the tottering Latin Kingdoms on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean: Edessa, Antioch, Tyre, Acre, and Jerusalem. They had not been saved by the recent and abject military failure of the Second Crusade, and were therefore more vulnerable than ever, in an increasingly destabilised Levant. Islam was as proselytizing and hegemonic a force as Latin Christendom, and the Muslim Turkish power energised by Mongol expansion was eventually to reach the port of Marseille and the shores of the Danube before falling back. But why, when news of Prester John first reached Europe through the medium of emissaries to Constantinople from what may in fact have been Aethiopia—a more accessible country and actually Christian—,did the name attach itself to “India” for three centuries? Pragmatic desires would not dictate such a displacement, so what did? The displacement was, to begin with, imaginatively possible. Everyone knew St. Thomas had evangelised India. That ‘knowledge’ was itself literary: the Acts of St. Thomas was not Scripture, but it was and had been widely popular for almost a millennium. And for almost as long, the late third-century Alexander Romance of the Pseudo-Callisthenes, particularly the fragment known as “Alexander’s Letter to Aristotle”, had transmitted an India of secular wonders. And then, “India” already meant “distant”, even perhaps “distance” itself. Friar Jordanus Catalini, for instance, one of its few actual medieval visitors and at least briefly bishop of the east coast city of Columbum (Quilon), repeatedly described it as “otherworldly” even though he had lived there, and his account of it is accurately titled the Mirabilia Descripta: What shall I say then? Even the Devil too there speaketh to men, many a time and oft, in the night season, as I have heard. [36] Everything indeed is a marvel in this India! Verily it is quite another world!15 And, while often quoting directly from the forged Letter, “John Man­de­ ville”, in his geography of the whole oikumene, used every means at his disposal to stress India’s imaginative distance from the ‘real’, from piling on the

28  Mary Baine Campbell organic and mineral wonders, to utopian critique of actual Christendom, to the placement of India, even the realms of the Christian Prester John, as beyond the realm of divine law—perhaps because they have escaped the need for law: Since they are such true and good folk, in their country there is never thunder nor lightning, hail nor snow, nor any other storms and bad weather; there is no hunger, no pestilence, no war, nor any other common tribulations among them, as there are among us because of our sins.16 “Asia” as a whole, which India epitomised, was a repository of otherness larger and deeper than Africa, or rather, more widely and anciently attested as such from the time of Alexander himself; and the Letter of Alexander to Aristotle, describing the scenes of the great conqueror’s eastern travels, was ubiquitous. Africa was certainly a player in the symbolic depiction of otherness, but it was not yet an otherness associated with wealth and power: it was not fully “opposite and equal” as the aesthetics of global geography required. The binary-loving imagination was energised by such concepts as “bonum” and “malum”, “Christian” and “infidel”, “Ponant” and “Levant”—and was threatened by the East–West dichotomy that the expansion of Muslim and Mongol societies seemed to demarcate. It was drawn to the notion (as is Jared Diamond today) that all significant difference moved across the latitudes, which could be known, rather than down the still incalculable longitudes. The Latin Christendom of the West, imperial since well before Christ, could know of eastern, not of southern empire. If India meant far, it also meant “limit”: Alexander’s empire reached that far; the Roman Empire found its furthest trading partners in South India; and although the much contracted experienced geography of western Europe in the Middle Ages included India only in the rare escapades of a Jordanus or Polo, it stood as the literary acme of all that did not characterise the hungry West. As late as Andrew Marvell’s plea to his “coy mistress” (1681), India was felt—not Cathay, not “Cipangu”, not the Moluccas—to summarise what Gulliver’s distant and virtuous Houyhnhnms used to call “the thing which is not”, that very thing its Gymnosophists (Brahmin philosophers) were famed for never saying. Imagining an alternative world of plenitudinous time that might permit the long extension of courtship with which the poet would frankly like to dispense, Marvell sketches the distance the lovers could brook: “Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side/ Should rubies find; I by the tide of Humber would complain”. India, outside the northern provinces of Sindh and Punjab, did not come under the sway of the Mongol imperium until the 1520s (when the Mughal Empire was founded by Tamburlaine’s descendant Babur), and so it could not be subsumed within the political knowability of that power that eventually engulfed Turkey. In Mandeville’s Travels and the Letter of Alexander to

Asia, Africa, Abyssinia  29 Aristotle, it is the fractured and diverse territory of unhegemonic marvels and mysteries, of moral critique, of virtuous or at least innocently libidinous utopias, just short of the unvisitable Earthly Paradise (as for Alexander, it had bordered on the tabooed Land of the Blessed). It is an empire only in name and rhetoric, to fulfil an aesthetic need for East–West symmetry in the oikumene. In Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, it marks the other end of the geography of knightly civilization, to which Feirfiz, the “speckled” Saracen half-brother of the grail knight, finally repairs, baptised at last, to father Prester John himself upon an Indian princess. As the zone of the limit, as the bookend matching far western Britain (itself imagined as a land of marvels and many kingdoms), and as a placemarker that could stand as a logical ‘end of the earth’, India made for definition. A Christian king there would be not just an ally against intervening Muslim hegemony but also an expression of Christianity’s global reach. When Pope Alexander answered the Letter of Prester John with a request for alliance and support, he obviously had real political and ecclesiastical hopes. But he played also into the spiritual geography of a vision of the world—a vision stronger than the facts that, in another era, could have led him to find, as did the medievalist research of Henry the Navigator in the fifteenth and the Hakluyt Society in the nineteenth centuries, a Christian king in the Aethiopia beneath the Muslim realm of Egypt to the south. Was it then the conflict between political facts and imaginary need that divided India into not two but three parts, of which one, “India Tertia”, was the repository of accumulating data about Abascia/Abyssinia/(A)ethiopia? Maybe so. But long before the quandaries of the Latin popes whose sees included the Levantine crusader states, even Homer could not say where that Aethiopia was to which the far-flung god of the ocean had gone to accept his hecatombs. The etymological work of the sinologist Martin Bernal stirred a tempest in the 1980s and 1990s with his speculations on the 80 to 90 percent of the classical Greek lexicon, along with a great deal of ancient mythology, that he traced to Egyptian Coptic and Semitic, rather than IndoEuropean, roots. In the controversy over Bernal’s work we saw yet again the conflation of Indian and East African cultures—and the insistent belief that the root of Greek culture must be Indian, could not be African.17 The story of “Aethiopia’s” restriction to a single and African country is the story of the literalism that emerged with the Portuguese Infante Henry the Navigator, when the mineral—almost face-burning—glitter and glow of Prester John’s kingdom came at last to be sought for its mineral wealth, and not for its mineral beauty—conventionally assigned to the streets of heaven as well as to the grandeur of an imaginary earthly king. In the only printed article of cultural analysis I have yet found on the topic, Michael Uebel explains this as an outcome of the fetishism that even the unreachable East of medieval imaginative literature participated in. The literary fact that inspires Uebel is the listing feature we find in the Letter, which is as well a constitutive trope for all accounts of the Indies: not only

30  Mary Baine Campbell is India saliently multiple but so are its wonders, whether primarily mineralogical, as in the Letter; zoological, botanical, and ethnographic, as in the Alexander Romance; miraculous, as in the Acts of St. Thomas; or more generally geographical, as in the travellers and their imitator Mandeville.18 I would disagree with Uebel’s attempt to codify such a convention as necessarily colonial or even proto-colonialist: the marvellous proper seems to me that which escapes or transcends colonial knowledge, though it may have proved a useful decoration in the rhetoric of texts which hoped to draw investors, private or royal, in mercantile ventures. Though listing itself is a primary feature of colonialist tracts and travel writing in the Age of Discovery, it is there an overwhelmingly commodity-oriented and anti-marvellous kind of listing. (Columbus, for instance, finds “no human monstrosities” or emerald sceptres in the marvellous Indies, but he lists spices, gold, slaves, and gum mastic as commodities that will interest Ferdinand and Isabella.) But I do agree with Uebel’s sense that the zone of the limit is described in a fetishizing kind of discourse. Marco Polo’s displacement of Abyssinia into “India Tertia” or ”Middle India” is an instance of that seizure of geographic and ethnographic difference that must categorise all such difference under a single term. For the imagination is necessarily orderly: it moves towards the single image for reasons of efficiency. So Marvell can place his sweetheart as far from the Humber as the “Indian Ganges”, rather than as far as “the Ganges OR the Nile”. It was this same economy of the imagination that required all the chief rivers of the exotic world, including the Nile, to spring from the Earthly Paradise, just east of India. It was the same economy that over time drew the important sites of the Holy Land into ever closer contiguity, so the pilgrim-tourist would be able to visit many at once, and experience a spatially-embodied density of reference that might match his or her expectation of the saturation of holiness proper to so sacred a territory. “India”, then, means distance, wonder, and also a defining end, an opposing alternative. But the question remains: if Aethiopia, the place in the physical and political geography of the modern world, must be accounted for, why must it be translated to the East rather than permitted its southern actuality? Put another way: why must “India” include “Aethiopia”? What has for a quarter-century now been the general explanation subsumed in the caustic phrase “the West and the Rest” does not say everything. Yes, no doubt Christendom, like any other national or multi-national imaginary, needed a monolithic other against which to define itself (an external other, as opposed to the Jews ‘within’, is particularly useful for purposes of conquest and colonization). But there were several compelling candidates over time, most of them more real than India, above all the expansionist Muslim Saracens and the Mongol Tartars.19 India, as we have noted, was understood as subject to neither—and indeed was home to effective if imaginary counter-others as the domain of a powerful Christian priest; the evangelised site of the miraculous shrine of St. Thomas; the region of the wise and world-spurning Gymnosophists who checked the arrogant

Asia, Africa, Abyssinia  31 imperialism of the pagan Alexander. The Mandeville author’s effort is to render an India and generally Asia more faithful to the supposed virtues of Christendom than Europe itself. Marco Polo the merchant had registered the perennial desire to turn the commercial world into a global village: his glorious but unvisited India Tertia “is extremely rich in gold, and much frequented by merchants, who obtain large profits”.20 And Wolfram’s attention to Parzival’s mongrel half-brother Feirfiz (son of fire?) the Saracen captures for the value-based civilization of chivalry a single world that stretches, unified by bonds of lineage and loyalty, from Camelot to, as Wolfram calls it, “Trabalibot”. Perhaps some clue to this mystery of motive can be detected in the rubble of its demolition. After the initial penetrations into Ethiopia of Italian and Portuguese merchants at the end of the fifteenth century, accounts of Prester John swung south and began to belong properly to accounts of Abyssinia, though the demolition of the dream-text was slow. At the end of the sixteenth century, the English adventurer Edward Webbe could still report a kind of worldly Paradise, paraphrasing the Letter: This Prester John of whom I spake before [and to whom “the great Turke paide tribute”], is a king of great power, and keepeth a very bountiful Court, after the fashion of that countrie, and hath every day to serve him at his table 60 kinges wearing leaden crownes on their heades: and these serve the meate unto Prester John’s table . . . These 60 kinges are all his wise Royes in severall places, and they have their deputies to supply their roomes, and these kinges live continually in Prester John’s court, and goe no farther than they may still be attendant upon him. . . .21 Webbe keeps the rhetoric and even the sentence structures of the Letter and Mandeville’s Travels. On the other hand, the abundance now is of power only and the crowns of the tributary kings are of lead, not gold. To conclude, we should consider some other post-medieval and more fully disenchanted accounts, including passages from a 1482 Italian itinerary of the way to Ethiopia, and the 1750 memoir of the Bohemian Franciscan Remedius Prutky’s travels to the African “Land of Prester John”. According to Francisco Suriano’s Iter of 1482: Having crossed the river we travelled for ten days and reached the court of the great king Prester John . . . [There were ten Italians living there— for 25 years, having not been permitted to leave . . .] I asked these men what they had gone to do in this strange land. They replied saying their intention was to seek jewels and precious stones . . . Then I asked [them] about the state of the country and its inhabitants. They told me that their houses and dwellings were made of reeds plastered with mud within and without. And in the said country there is no house of dressed

32  Mary Baine Campbell stone, nor any other buildings, except that each king on reaching the throne builds a church in which he should be buried.22 The king keeps his treasure in caves under a strong guard. This country has much gold, little grain, and lacks wine; it has a very large population, a brutish people, rough and uncultured. They have no steel weapons for combat. Their arrows and spears are of cane.23 The early sixteenth century saw the long and important account of the chaplain Alvarez who accompanied the embassy of Dom Rodriges of Lima to Ethiopia in 1520 at the request of the Ethiopian king Lebna Dengel.24 Muslim aggression from the coastal regions, under the Somali Mohammed Granyé (which would temporarily take over most of the feudal Abyssinian kingdoms), stimulated Lebna Dengel’s request, and it was answered after a gap of several years by a small group of mostly European Christians from the Portuguese Indian colony of Goa. Alvarez was more interested in converting the more or less Coptic Ethiopians to the Roman confession than in establishing trade links, fortresses, or factories, and his account of the journey thus emphasises religious and cultural—and sometimes striking natural—features of the territory between the northern port of Massawa and the highland region, farther west and south, of “Prester John”. But Dom Rodriges’ and the Portuguese crown’s interests, though they included Romanization, were broader, and the early chapters of the voyage routinely report the pillaging and burning of Muslim coastal towns before the party reaches the Christian highlands of Abyssinia proper. Alvarez’s is one of the most richly detailed pre-modern accounts of Ethiopia we have by a European traveller and, although it is certainly more complimentary than the brief Italian itinerary quoted previously, it nonetheless displays a proto-colonialist point of view: fertile as the country is, feudally ornate as is its system of political honour and control, powerful as its Prester John appears in his imperial command of several kingdoms, it is nonetheless a place of raw materials rather than workmanship, and little enough of that is mineral. Many churches use silver or even copper utensils, lion skins rather than richly worked brocades are usually the clothes of power, Prester John’s white and mobile tents replace gem-encrusted palaces, morality is loose (for example, both men and women have the right to divorce) and monks are, mirabile dictu, often greedy and corrupt. The traces of St. Thomas can still be sensed—for instance in the report of the faithful sticking their hands through narrow openings in a stone screen that guards a holy tomb at one of the stone-cut churches of Lalibela. Links with Asia—not India but Arabia Felix—are alluded to in references to Queen Candace (who in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is brought by marriage to Syria). But the rhetoric of pragmatic detail replaces that of splendorous hope, and this imperium stands in need of European religion and morality, European craftsmanship, and European military assistance against the eventually, if temporarily, regnant Muslim power of the coast.

Asia, Africa, Abyssinia  33 Portuguese and eventually Jesuit influence was ended in the 1630s under the reign of Fasilidas (Sultan Sagad II). By 1751 there had been only one western first-hand account before that of the Franciscan mission of the Bohemian physician, Remedius Prutky. Despite his eighteenth-century belatedness and his apparent ignorance of the medieval tradition, Prutky is even more disappointed than Suriano, and though a missionary himself his tone is more openly colonialist: [Prester John] however is a title which the Emperor of Abyssinia has never borne and never wishes to hear, especially when you consider that he is not a priest . . . Though the realm itself is of the richest and most expensive, he cannot enforce his taxes from such widely dispersed provinces, each governor follows his own judgment far removed from the imperial palace, and the emperor collects but little of the annual revenue. Of any other source of income he is without knowledge, and although the veins of the land abound in ores of all sorts, gold, silver, iron, etc. in great quantity, yet for want of suitable managers . . . the richest emperor of olden times is now become poor, and the most splendid is now become wretched. Neither iron, nor precious metal, nor metal such as copper, tin, lead, mercury, have they the wit to find . . .; much the less can they mine silver or gold, beyond what they find on the surface of the earth. The Abyssinians are lazy, ignorant, idle, over-bearing, they labour long at nothing, they go naked and gorge themselves on raw flesh and they aspire to nothing further: with all their laziness they hold gold itself in little or no esteem, as I shall describe later.25 What we hear in both quoted passages, under the cynical ring of optimism about the weak defence of the emperor’s treasure, is the (long, slow) end of the European geography of symmetry. In place of a pair of Christian empires bracketing the circle of lands, we now see a more hierarchical and less spatial binary: the haves and the have-nots. Both texts admit that the Ethiopians are Christian, but they are clearly not brothers like Parzival and Feirfiz, nor pen-pals like Prester John and Alexander III. Their ignorance and weakness will require an opposite but much more than equal strength and business literacy, their wealth needs “managers”, and Europeans are there to offer a new kind of partnership. What the newly colonialist Europe requires of Ethiopia is its under-developed vulnerability, its utopian failure to “hold gold in any esteem”. So much, once again, for the Land of Dreams Come True. And yet one might find in this story, despite the awful recent history of the region, after Eritrea’s freedom from European control and the gradual abeyance of the European triumvirate of Italy, Britain, and France in the region, at least an allegorical spot of hope. Ethiopia/Abyssinia has not been a canonical topos in the Anglo-French literature of colonial and postcolonial theory and revisionist history, though it seems to me it could have

34  Mary Baine Campbell been, given its outlier status (never a European colony),26 the complexity of its ambivalent but mostly successful resistance to European powers struggling for influence there, and its peculiar relationship as real historical place and sovereignty to the richly-contested but undeniable dominance of Said’s model of the colonial imaginary. “Aethiopia” has been in European letters a place of interest and fantasy since the earliest and most fundamental of ‘western’ texts, the Hebrew Bible, the Homeric epics, and the Christian New Testament, not to mention the most popular and widely circulated texts and images of the long medieval period. It is neither India, Arabia, nor Africa, but in functioning as part of all three it might at least have productively confused or offered nuance to early hypostatisations of the continents in the intellectual ferment of the 1970s and 1980s. When I suggested “Aethiopia” and “India” as terms for a problematising chapter in my dissertation, which became a book about medieval and sixteenth-century exotic travel writing, I was told that everyone had always known where India was, and I did not check to see if my advisor was right.27 No review of the eventual book ever complained about its silence on Africa. I have only now begun to consider the significance of this neglected history. As I am neither a theorist nor a proper historian myself, never mind an Africanist, my contribution to this discussion is “merely literary”, as the phrase goes. But as a critic, I think that when “Ethiop” is a rhyme word in a seventeenth-century English poem (as in Crashaw’s “Let it no longer be a forlorn hope/ To wash an Ethiop”), when it is an epithet in a Homeric epic of geographical knowledge, it is then also a term that has functioned in the collective and not “merely literary” toolkit of the world in which those texts have their power, their prestige and, for good and ill, their usefulness.28

Notes 1. Homer, The Odyssey, trans. Richmond Lattimore (New York: Harper Collins, 1999), I, pp. 22–24. The Bible, Esther 8:9. 2. This account appears in bk. 9 of Rufinus’s late fourth-century translation and continuation of Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesiastica. I have quoted the translation from the most convenient English translation available to me in France, in Robert Silverberg’s valuable The Realm of Prester John (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1999), pp. 174–75. 3. My account of the events in Central Asia that provoked the origins of the Prester John legend is based for the most part on the work of two Russian historians, Vsevolod Slesserev, in his Prester John: The Letter and the Legend (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1959) and L. N. Gumilev in his remarkable Searches for an Imaginary Kingdom, trans. R. E. F. Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987). 4. Otto of Freising, Scriptores rerum Germanicarum in usum scholarum, ed. A Hofmeister (Hannover-Leipzig: n.p., 1913), p. 365. 5. The two twelfth-century accounts of Patriarch John or the unnamed Archbishop of India are found on the anonymous De adventu patriarche Indorum ad Urbem sub Calixto papa secundo, in which the patriarch is named John,

Asia, Africa, Abyssinia  35 and a corroborating letter from Odo of Rheims to a certain Thomas. More about these two texts can be found in Silverberg, Slesserev, and Charles Nowell, “The Historical Prester John”, Speculum 28 (1953), pp. 435–45. 6. Jordanus [Catalini] of Séverac, Mirabilia Descripta: The Wonders of the East, ed. and trans. Henry Yule (London: 1863); a new and less fusty edition and translation, also with introduction and commentary, has just appeared in French by Christine Gadrat, Une image de l’Orient au XIVe siècle, les Mirabilia descripta de Jordan Catala de Sévérac (Paris: École nationale des chartes, 2005). 7. I have already cited the comprehensive works of Silverberg and, especially, Gumilev and Slesserov; for additional twists and tidbits, see also a recent nonscholarly, but bookish and well-informed travelogue by Nicholas Jubber, The Prester Quest (London: Transworld Publishers, 2005). 8. I quote for convenience from Manuel Komroff’s translation of Marco Polo’s Divisament du monde, The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian (New York: The Heritage Press, 1982). The major scholarly editions in English (important for all scholars of the text) are Henry Yule and Henri Cordier, The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian, Concerning the Kingdoms and Marvels of the East, 3rd ed., rev. (London: John Murray, 1929), and A. C. Moule and the French sinologist Paul Pelliot’s variorum edition, Marco Polo: The Description of the World (London: George Routledge, 1938). For Odoric’s text, see Henry Yule, ed. and trans., Cathay and the Way Thither, Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China, 4 vols. (London: Hakluyt Society, 1915). I quote from C. W. R. D. Moseley’s Mandeville’s Travels (London: Penguin, 2001): The translation draws on several of the major English versions. On the myriad versions, or “Mandevillian multitext” of the Travels, see the erudite and thoughtful account of Iain Macleod Higgins, Writing East: The “Travels” of John Mandeville (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997). 9. I quote the English from Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival, trans. Helen M. Mustard and Charles E. Passage (New York: Vintage Books, 1961). For the German text, see part II of Dieter Kühn, Der Parzival des Wolfram von Eschenbach (Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1997). 10. Komroff, Polo’s Travels, ch. 35. 11. I quote the English from Silverberg, Realm of Prester John, p. 44. Silverberg translates Zarncke’s painstaking reconstruction of the ur-text in Friedrich Zarncke, “Ueber eine neue . . . Redaction des Briefes des Priester Johannes”, Berichte ueber die Verhandlung der koeniglich saechsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften (Lepizig: 1877), vol. 29. There are, of course, very many available. For the Latin, see Der Presbyter Johannes in Sage und Geschichte, ed. Gustav Oppert (2nd ed. Berlin, 1870), pp. 168–79. For the interesting and important Hebrew version, see The Hebrew Letters of Prester John, ed. Edward Ullendorff and C. F. Beckingham (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982). 12. Silverberg, Realm of Prester John, p. 30. 13. Personal communication, 25 March 2005. I am grateful to Professor Muellner for his assistance. 14. Silverberg, Realm of Prester John, pp. 41–45. 15. Yule, Mirabilia Descripta, pars. 35, 36. 16. Moseley, Mandeville’s Travels, p. 178. 17. Martin Bernal, Black Athena, vol. 1:The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1987). The tempest has been very durable: for a recent summarizing and rebuttal, see Martin Bernal, Black Athena Writes Back: Martin Bernal Responds to His Critics, ed. David Chioni Moore (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001).

36  Mary Baine Campbell 18. Michael Uebel, “Imperial Fetishism: Prester Among the Natives”, in The Postcolonial Middle Ages, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (New York: Macmillan, 2000), pp. 261–82. 19. Joan-Pau Rubiés offers a magisterial historical account of our text-based knowledge, using European but also some Arabic texts, of the ‘real’ India (or rather the ‘real’ South India) over the centuries between the thirteenthcentury Franciscan missionaries and early modern traveller-cosmographers, in Travel and Ethnology in the Renaissance: South India through European Eyes, 1250–1625 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). 20. Komroff, Polo’s Travels, p. 426. 21. Edward Webbe, The Rare and Most Wonderfull Things Which Edw. Webbe an Englishman Borne Hath Seene and Passed in His Troublesome Travailes, in the Cities of Jerusalem, Damaska, Bethlehem and Galely: And in the Lands of Jewrie, Egypt, Grecia, Russia, and Prester John (London, 1590). Webbe gives here a confused account of his experiences as a “master Gunner” for the Turks in their war against Prester John (freed from his fate as a galley slave because of his expertise). 22. This is rather an underestimation of the extraordinary complex of eleven churches carved out of living rock at Lalibela in the northern province of Wollo, the eighth wonder of the world. It wore out the vocabulary of the Franciscan missionary in 1520, Francisco Alvarez, whose extensive and widely read account of his journey is available from the Hakluyt Society as The Pres­ ter John of the Indies: A True Relation of the Lands of the Prester John, being the narrative of the Portuguese Embassy to Ethiopia in 1520, written by Father Francisco Alvares, trans. Lord Stanley of Alderley (1881), rev. and ed. with add. material C. F. Beckingham and G. W. B. Huntingford, 2 vols. (Cambridge: The Hakluyt Society, 1961). 23. Francisco Suriano, “Iter S, from Cairo to Barara, A. D. 1482”, in Ethiopian Itineraries, circa 1400–1524, ed. O. G. S. Crawford (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, for the Hakluyt Society, 1958), pp. 109, 44–5. Cf. Marco Polo: “These people of Abascia are brave and good warriors, being constantly engaged in hostility with the Soldan of Aden, the people of Nubia, and many others whose countries border upon theirs. In consequence of this unceasing practice of arms they have become the best soldiers in this part of the world” (Komroff, Polo’s Travels, ch. 25). 24. See Narrative of the Portuguese Embassy to Abyssinia During the Years 1520–1527 / by Father Francisco Alvarez, trans. and ed. Lord Stanley of Alderley (London: The Hakluyt Society, 1881), p. 64. Two other important early modern texts are the Itinerario of Ludovica de Varthema (Rome, 1510) and the late seventeenth-century text of Hiob Ludolf, called in English A New History of Ethiopia: Being a Full and Accurate Description of the Kingdom of Abyssinia, Vukgarly, though Erroneously called The Empire of Prester John, trans. J. P. (London, 1682)—a translation of the author’s Historia Ethiopica (Frankfurt am Main, 1681). 25. Remedius [Václav] Prutky, Prutky’s Travels in Ethiopia and Other Countries [1750–55], trans. J. H. Arrowsmith-Brown (Oxford: Oxford University Press, for the Hakluyt Society, 1991), p. 174. The doctor did, however, find some medical treasures on his stay: see R. Pankhurst and T. Pearson, “Remedius Prutky’s Eighteenth-Century account of Ethiopian Taenicides and Other Medical Treatment”, in Ethiopian Medical Journal 10:1 (January 1972), 3–6. 26. Of all the states of post-colonial Africa, Ethiopia is the only one that successfully resisted the devouring colonial powers’ “race for Africa”, for which these early modern texts, willy-nilly, played John the Baptist. (Successful except, as is customary to mention, during the five years of Italian Fascist domination

Asia, Africa, Abyssinia  37 before and during World War II: 1936–1941. Of course, one could say that the Fascists did the same to Italy during that time.) Big business—Italian and British—established itself there in the nineteenth century, and Italy to protect its interests waged war on Menelik II in the 1890s. The latter, though, defeated the Italian army at Adwa in 1896: the political kingdom, however, divided and dispersed in the minds of pre-modern Europeans, has maintained its sovereignty in one form or another from the days of the Queen of Sheba until our own. 27. The book was The Witness and the Other World: Exotic European Travel Writing, 400–1600 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988). 28. On the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French lexicon of Africa and Africans, including the proverbial expression “de blanchir un Maure”, see Sonia Gadhoum, “Presence réelle et mythique dans le Dictionnaire universel d’Antoine Furetière”, in L’Afrique au XVIIe siècle: Mythes et réalités: Actes du VIIe colloque du Centre International de Rencontres sur le XIVVe siècle, Tunis 14–16 mars 2002, ed. Alia Baccar Bournaz (Tübingen: Narr, 2003).

2 Richard Hakluyt’s Foreign Relations Mary Fuller

Richard Hakluyt’s well-known collection of documents, the Principal Navigations of the English Nation (1598–1600), offers modern readers a snapshot of what a well-connected and energetic editor could muster, in the way of primary sources, on travel outside of Europe by Englishmen at the end of the sixteenth century. The anthology gathers and makes accessible key documents in English colonial history and English maritime history more generally: Thomas Hariot and Walter Raleigh on the Americas, accounts of Francis Drake’s circumnavigation and the defeat of the Armada, and so on. It also offers unique accounts of places which had no writing or no practice of narrative history, and so continues to be a resource for regional histories and ethno-histories in both the Old World and the New. Most broadly, Hakluyt’s book assembles accounts of English actions—travel to Muscovy, Benin, Chile, the Azores, or Baffin Island—, of the people they encountered when they did go there, and of the profit, literal or not, mutual or not, which resulted from these encounters. In his important book, The Ideological Origins of the British Empire, David Armitage also notes the association of Hakluyt’s book with a crucial and long-standing argument about the British Empire. This argument traces the origins of the Empire “back to the reign of Elizabeth I, and hence to the maritime exploits of her English sailors”; and describes it as “above all and beyond all other such polities, Protestant, commercial, maritime and free”.1 Hakluyt is a key figure for such a history. David Quinn described the foundation of the Hakluyt Society in 1846, for instance, as “a typical expression of . . . the English belief that their right to penetrate the farthest corners of the earth to sell their goods had a strong historical foundation which would be strengthened by the publication of well-edited [early] materials on how exploration and European expansion came about”.2 The nineteenth century originated a view of Hakluyt as “the protagonist of nationalistic empire”, along with the description of his work as the “great prose epic of the English nation”, and these views have continued to colour, if not dominate, a great deal of what is written about Hakluyt at least by literary scholars—as Hakluyt and his book are invoked more and more frequently in articles and chapters about colonialism and cultural encounter.

Richard Hakluyt’s Foreign Relations  39 Stephen Greenblatt’s influential essay on Hariot, “Invisible Bullets”, characterises the editor as “the great Elizabethan exponent of missionary colonialism, the Reverend Richard Hakluyt”.3 Greenblatt essentially rephrases in negative terms what Louis B. Wright said admiringly in 1943: Hakluyt was a “zealot who made of colonial expansion a religion and equated the maritime enterprises of Englishmen with the divine plan of the universe”.4 Two phenomena can be observed here which have typified a great deal of the scholarly attention to Hakluyt, at least within the discipline of literature. First, Hakluyt’s work has been viewed through the lens of arguments about empire, and views about this larger (and later) phenomenon have been mapped onto understandings of his career and his book. Second, the anthology in its two editions is also quite frequently treated in a rather general way, as a book about which one must comment in an introductory manner before moving on to more particular comments about something else. One can easily understand why there is such recourse to generalization in the case of Hakluyt. How closely does one want to read a book of roughly 2,000 folio pages in length?5 Moreover, Principal Navigations presents real problems of genre and authorship. It is a collection of documents by various hands, in various forms and genres, largely unedited and without a synthetic narrative to tie them together except by implication. Hakluyt’s prefaces, dedications, manuscripts, and letters give some sense of his own hand in the work, and his presence as an author; in general, however, precisely what makes the anthology valuable as history makes it difficult to handle as a book.6 Yet if Hakluyt’s work matters enough to make a reference to it obligatory, we are surely also obliged to make sure we get it right. This chapter explores some ways in which the detail of Hakluyt’s book and career complicates some of the general statements and assumptions often made about this crucial work. By way of introduction, I begin where Hakluyt begins, with a passage from the preface to the first edition of Principal Navigations. While he was a scholar at Westminster, he described visiting his older cousin in his chambers at the middle Temple: I found lying opened upon his board certain books of cosmography, with a universal map: he seeing me somewhat curious in the view thereof, began to instruct my ignorance by showing me the division of the earth into three parts after the old account, and then according to the latter, and better distribution, into more: he pointed with his wand to all the known seas, gulfs, bays, straits, capes, rivers, empires, kingdoms, dukedoms, and territories of each part, with declaration also other special commodities, and particular wants, which by the benefit of traffic, and intercourse of merchants, are plentifully supplied. From the map he brought me to the Bible, and turning to the 107th Psalm, directed me to the 23rd and 24th verses, where I read, that they which go down to the sea in ships, and occupy by the great waters, they see the

40  Mary Fuller works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep, etc. Which words of the Prophet together with my cousins discourse (things of high and rare delights to my young nature) took in me so deep an impression, that I constantly resolved, if ever I were preferred to the university, . . . I would by God’s assistance prosecute that knowledge and kind of literature, the doors whereof (after a sort) were so happily opened before me (PN I, xvi–xviii). It is apparent how one might read out of this scene the kind of Hakluyt who would be important for a Protestant, maritime, and commercial empire. The map leads directly to the Bible—specifically, to the psalms which were so closely linked to Protestant devotional practice in this moment—and the words of the Prophet, which give divine sanction to maritime commerce, also provide the young Hakluyt with a form of revelation about his own career and destiny. Yet we also see here an example of generalizations which should be questioned or examined more closely. The revelation Hakluyt describes was not a religious one, but a discovery about his interest in geography, a subject for which he was one of the early lecturers at Oxford.7 Hakluyt held a number of ecclesiastical jobs, but there is very little record either in his own writings or elsewhere of his function as a religious professional—no sermons, for instance, and no sense at all of a devotional life. (These silences in the record make for a sharp contrast with Purchas, his successor.)8 It cannot simply be stipulated that Hakluyt was a fervent Protestant who believed that empire was God’s plan for the nation—the evidence is not simple or clear, and it has also not been carefully examined. For instance, Matthew Day has discovered a document in the state papers which finds Hakluyt spending a convivial evening in 1605 with several of the Catholic conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot—surely not the pastime of a zealot.9 On the other side, readers of Hakluyt for four hundred years have overlooked one of the most overtly and polemically Protestant texts in the collection, an account of Iceland by an Icelander which describes among other things a national conversion from the darkness of popery to the light and truth of Protestant or primitive belief.10 Perhaps because it is not an account of English travel or of cultural encounter, this narrative never figures in any discussion of Hakluyt or early modern travel more generally, and frequently in copies of the 1904 edition can be found with pages still uncut. To a significant extent, much of the evidence has simply been overlooked—so that in some ways, the argument about Hakluyt’s religion and the place of religion in his work has not really taken place, or is perhaps just beginning.11 The real topic of this chapter, however, is not Hakluyt’s religion but his Englishness. Hakluyt has also been seen as a great patriot and promoter of his own nation, and this is true in obvious and important ways. One of the innovations of his work was to collect the voyages and travels of “the English nation”; earlier collections did not attend in similar ways to the

Richard Hakluyt’s Foreign Relations  41 compatriots of their editors. Again, though, the story is a little more complex than it appears. One particular piece of complexity under this heading concerns me here: namely, Hakluyt’s use of foreign sources. The collection does incorporate the principal navigations of the English nation specifically, publishing those navigations in order to celebrate them—but in practice, the anthology includes accounts of other peoples, as well as documents by or about Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Italians, and Icelanders. How should we think about that disjunction between the title and contents of the text, in the light of Hakluyt’s apparent nationalist intentions? In the preface to the volume on America, Hakluyt writes that “albeit my worke do carry the title of The English voyages”, in places “our own men’s experience is defective”, and must be supplemented with “the best and chiefest relations of strangers” (PN I, lxxvi). For one region, however, resorting to foreign sources was not simply a case of filling the gaps in English experience. Hakluyt wrote of the West Indies: I have used the uttermost of my best endevour, to get, and having gotten, to translate out of Spanish, and here in this present volume to publish such secrets of theirs, as may any way availe us or annoy them, if they drive and urge us by their sullen insolencies, to continue our courses of hostilitie against them . . . (PN I, lxxvii). As this passage indicates, foreign sources not only highlighted the defects of the English record, but they also recorded successful acts of aggression against foreigners, among them the editorial acts of acquiring, translating, and publishing foreign “secrets”. Hakluyt’s use of foreign sources was thus a continuation of hostilities, rather than a sign of deference or collaboration. Here, he seems to translate into national terms John Foxe’s claims regarding the linkage between Protestant Christianity and printing. By printing, Foxe wrote: [T]ongues are known, knowledge groweth, judgment increaseth, books are dispersed, the Scripture is seen, the doctors be read, stories be opened, times compared, truth discerned, falsehood detected . . . Wherefore I suppose, that either the Pope must abolish printing, or he must seek in new worlds to reign over: for else, as this world standeth, printing doubtless will abolish him.12 This model—“they [the Spanish, the Pope, etc.] hide, and we reveal”—is far from a complete representation of Hakluyt’s relationship to the foreign sources he printed, or of his treatment of information more generally. Hakluyt’s remark points us to one extreme of his spectrum of sources: materials acquired, through some degree of violence, from unwilling informants, including documents captured from Spanish ships or produced by Spanish and Portuguese captives. At the other end are the materials he

42  Mary Fuller acquired through relations of patronage and sociability, from English libraries, archives, books, and informants. But we are missing something if we look only at the ends of the spectrum. Many documents fall between these opposed poles of sociability and violence, collaboration and coercion— French sources, Dutch sources, Portuguese sources, even Spanish sources, in various degrees of alignment or conflict with English interests, were available with varying degrees of difficulty to Hakluyt and his English readership. The French sources on Canada and Florida which take up a substantial part of Hakluyt’s third volume—“where our own men’s experience is defective”— fall somewhere on this middle part of the spectrum. The first set of documents describes the voyages of Jacques Cartier in 1534, 1535–6 and 1541; the second has to do with the failed Huguenot settlements of the 1560s in “Florida” (which included present-day South Carolina). These materials remind us of the important place of France, not only in North American history, but in Principal Navigations and in Hakluyt’s biography. That importance has been rather overshadowed by the perception that, as Richard Helgerson writes, “England necessarily defined itself in the character of its overseas expansion in terms of its relation to Spain”.13 Perhaps that is broadly true, and yet the particulars resist this Spanish generalization. French activities in the Americas—which included trade and settlement in Brazil as well as further north—offered a different kind of precedent than Spain. The French record lacked both the enviable conquests of a Cortés or Pizarro, and the cruelties and tyrannies of which English readers were informed by Bartolomé de las Casas, whose Brevíssima relación had appeared in English in 1583. There was no French equivalent to the Black Legend, nor to the Spanish treasure fleet. Yet early English enterprises in North America were supported both practically and conceptually by a layer of French precedents and collaborators, which Hakluyt cites liberally in the Discourse on Western Planting, his manuscript treatise on colonization.14 Hakluyt’s neutral tone in mentioning these French sources in the preface to Principal Navigations does not indicate indifference or lack of engagement. In one place, the French are “ancient enemies” or “usurpers on our right” in the Americas, while elsewhere they are Protestant colleagues in evangelizing the heathen, or make common cause with England in defying the papal bull of division which allocated the new lands between Portugal and Spain.15 The French precedent was an ambiguous one, and the English relations with France defied simple characterization. Perhaps that is why France has been less frequently discussed. To come back to Hakluyt’s remark about translation as an act of aggression: if Spanish sources are stolen secrets, how and where did Hakluyt obtain his French sources on Canada and Florida, and what use did he make of them? Hakluyt actually began his editing career by translating sources from the French. In 1580, Hakluyt commissioned John Florio (the translator of Montaigne, Hakluyt’s tutor at Oxford), to translate the first two Cartier

Richard Hakluyt’s Foreign Relations  43 voyages into English from the Italian of Ramusio.16 In the volume’s preface, Florio writes that if Ramusio’s books could be translated in their entirety, “our Sea men of England, and others, studious of geography, should know many worthy secrets, which hitherto have been concealed”. The language of secrecy operates here with a difference: Cartier’s narratives were secret more through inattention than deliberate policy. The only French account of the Cartier voyages was the anonymous Bref récit of 1545 (on the second voyage), which virtually sank without a trace. The Florio Cartier actually predated the earliest French edition of the same material by almost twenty years. But acquiring these secrets required only the time and money it took to have them translated from a book already sitting on Hakluyt’s shelf. Contrast this acquisition of information with the Portuguese accounts of China, which came to Hakluyt through the capture of the Madre de Deus in 1592. The ship was taken only after a fight so violent that “no man could almost step but upon a dead carcass or a bloody floor”, and the cargo so bloodily fought for was extraordinary: “spices, drugs, silks, calicoes, quilts, carpets and colors . . . whereunto are to be added the pearl, musk, civet, and . . . elephants teeth, porcelain vessels of China, coconuts, hides, eben-wood as black as jet, bedsteads of the same” (PN VII, 116–17). Among this freight of rich goods, the treatise was “enclosed in a case of sweet Cedar wood, and lapped up almost an hundredfold in fine calicut-cloth, as though it had been some incomparable jewel” (PN I, lxxii). The defensive violence and the hundredfold wrapping up and encasing of the text mark both its value and the will to withhold it. Once captured by the English, this text, which had effectively been a precious object, was put into circulation as information and, as Hakluyt writes in his preface to the second volume of Principal Navigations, “the secret trades and Indian riches, which hitherto lay strangely hidden, and cunningly concealed from us” by Spain were “manifestly discovered” (PN II, 116). What can we understand by juxtaposing these two examples? Both French and Portuguese knowledge is described as “secret”, but these secrets are not always stolen (on the one hand), or deliberately or actively concealed by their possessors (on the other). A text might effectively be secret by virtue of our ignorance of foreign tongues, or a failure to circulate information vigorously enough. These two cases do reveal a parallel structure, however. Foreign information lay hidden, by accident or design, and Hakluyt worked to reveal and publish it—most frequently in English, but also in French, Latin, and even Spanish. The difference between these two episodes—the China treatise of the Madre de Deus and the Florio Cartier—rests in the degree of effort expended to conceal or reveal information. As we have already seen, this sense of Hakluyt’s project as that of revealing foreign knowledge previously hidden, deliberately or otherwise, was an important part of his self-presentation. The prefaces to Principal Navigations characteristically employ a vocabulary of revelation to describe both

44  Mary Fuller the discoveries he heralds and encourages, as well as the work he performs himself in making them known. In the dedication to his edition of Peter Martyr’s Decades (Paris, 1587), Hakluyt called on Walter Raleigh, at that time still attempting to establish a colony in North Carolina, to “reveal to us the courts of China and the unknown straits which still lie hid: throw back the portals which had been closed since the world’s beginning at the dawn of time”.17 In the same way, he described the documents of his collection as monuments “which long have lain miserably scattered in musty corners, and recklessly hidden in misty darkness, and were very like for the greatest part to have been buried in perpetual oblivion”; his role was to bring them into the light. Hakluyt’s work as editor and promoter of voyages thus appears doubly committed to the dissemination of information and the revelation of previously hidden knowledge. This language describes not only his relation to Spanish sources, but also becomes a general vocabulary for his career, giving all the more reason to check it against the details of that career and of his book. If we return to the Florio Cartier, Hakluyt’s first publication is itself not without its small secrets; one of them is his own participation. Hakluyt caused this translation to be published; he provided Florio with a copy of Ramusio used for the translation, and he also paid the costs of publication. His name does not appear anywhere on the title page or in Florio’s prefatory material. That may not be so surprising, although one might expect an acknowledgement. What is somewhat more surprising is that he appears to have ghost-written the preface, which is signed by Florio, or so it has been convincingly argued by Eva Taylor and Frances Yates, two very different scholars who both view the introduction to this volume as far more likely to have come from Hakluyt than Florio, on the grounds of both its content and its style.18 The secrecy of Hakluyt’s participation in the 1580 volume was actually quite temporary. Hakluyt acknowledged his participation—or rather, proudly announced it—in the preface to Divers Voyages (1582): “The last year at my charges, and other of my friends by my exhortation, I caused Jacques Cartier’s two voyages of discovering the grand Bay, and Canada, Saguenay, and Hochelaga to be translated out of my Volumes, which are to be annexed to this present translation”.19 Hakluyt wanted to spur on his countrymen to plant the northern parts of mainland America before the French, Normans, Bretons, Dutch, or someone else took advantage of their inactivity to get there first—“though we had the same revealed to us by books published in print in English before them”. Vernacular translation, as this passage implies, was both interested and practical: it was aimed not simply at freeing information, but at directing it for national advantage. The case of this early translation also reminds us that—especially once it began to cross national lines—information was not simply set free, but had visible costs, if not always the dramatic butcher’s bill associated with

Richard Hakluyt’s Foreign Relations  45 the taking of the Madre de Deus. We find Hakluyt both imposing and paying the costs of such transmissions. As we have seen, Hakluyt paid Florio to translate Cartier’s voyages from Italian to English; he was also himself paid as a consultant, providing information held in England to the Dutch, who in the 1590s began to take an interest in the Northeast Passage. As he wrote to Emanuel van Meteren, “to speak freely and shortly, I will not communicate all my secrets in this very important matter under the sum of 20 marks at least”.20 As this language of ownership suggests, Hakluyt’s interest in his information might be at variance with that of the state; in fact, he asks van Meteren to keep the fact of his communication secret as well: “herein . . . to be secret, for that imports me much, and as the Italian says, ‘il savio è secreto’ ”. Information was not something to be simply disseminated or given away. Hakluyt’s friendship with van Meteren, whose account of the defeat of Armada he used for his anthology in preference to English accounts, did not prevent him from charging for his work; nor did his perception of the Dutch as competitors prevent him from setting a price. Hakluyt’s enterprise had two sides. Publication was one: disseminating information through a network of scholars, publishing national accomplishments, promulgating the secrets of one’s enemies. Accumulation and ownership was the other side. Not everything Hakluyt collected was for publication or circulation; some materials were closely held or laid aside. He complained that Ortelius, “the great Geographer” who visited England in 1577, came there “to no other end but to pry and look into the secrets of Frobisher’s voyage”.21 (These were hardly “secret” in the strict sense given that accounts were already in print, and would be reprinted in Principal Navigations). The editor Samuel Purchas obtained his predecessor’s archive only on “hard conditions,” and printed for the first time at least one valuable manuscript which had been on Hakluyt’s hands since 1588. Hakluyt was interested not simply in liberating information but in managing its acquisition, storage, and distribution. This interest in the control of data, the strategic distribution or withholding of information, owning one’s own secrets, intersects in compelling ways with where we find Hakluyt during the mid-1580s, the years to which both the concept and the core documents of Principal Navigations can be traced. Hakluyt spent most of the years from 1583 through 1588 in Paris, as secretary and chaplain to the English ambassador Sir Edward Stafford; as a client of Sir Francis Walsingham, he was also charged with making inquiry into anything which would shed light on “Western discoveries”. His 1589 preface describes the seminal role of the time in Paris in the practical and conceptual formation of his work. This is a second scene of origins to set next to the one in his cousin’s chambers mentioned earlier: [D]uring my five years abroad . . . I both heard in speech, and read in books other nations miraculously extolled for their discoveries and notable enterprises by sea, but the English of all others for their sluggish

46  Mary Fuller security, and continual neglect of the like attempts especially in so long and happy the time of peace, either ignominiously reported, or exceedingly condemned: which singular opportunity, if some other people our neighbours have been blessed with, their protestations are often and vehement, they would far otherwise have used . . . Thus both hearing, and reading the obloquy of our nation, and finding few or none of our own men able to reply herein: and further, not seeing any man to have care to recommend to the world, the industrious labourers and painful travels of our countrymen: for stopping the mouths of the reproachers, myself being the last winter returned from France . . . determined notwithstanding all difficulties, to undertake the burden of that work. (PN I, xviii–xix)22 Being in Paris gave Hakluyt an outsider’s perspective on England, an experience which galvanised and focused his efforts towards something much larger, more comprehensive, and more public than the notes, letters, and translations which made up his output prior to 1589. This was a complicated time, and Paris was also a complicated place to be. These years in the mid-1580s were not simple ones, but rather a time of plots, assassinations, invasions, and deaths in high places. The Spanish ambassador to England had been expelled in 1584, and was at that time resident in Paris, as were the partisans of Mary Queen of Scots, who communicated with her through the French Embassy in London; she would be executed in 1587. The Duke of Alençon died in 1584, leaving France without a Catholic heir to the throne and poised on the edge of renewed religious war. England began direct military intervention in the wars of the Low Countries. And, of course, preparations for the Spanish invasion of England in 1588 were proceeding apace. The English embassy in Paris was at this time the only permanent embassy abroad, and it was rather at the centre of things. This period in Hakluyt’s life has received surprisingly little attention, and so it has remained unnoticed in work on Hakluyt that his employer, the ambassador Edward Stafford, was actually spying for Spain as well as for England.23 This fact is especially tantalizing because both Stafford and the Spanish ambassador Mendoza, to whom he reported, were particularly dependent on their servants and followers during these critical years. Mendoza suffered from cataracts, such that secretaries had to do the physical reading and writing of his letters; Stafford occasionally complains of being “three quarters lame” in his arm, and certainly at least some of his letters were written by secretaries as well as carried by them. Thus the households of both embassies were especially attractive targets for penetration and recruitment. Hakluyt does not seem to have been close enough to Stafford to know of his extracurricular activities. In 1588, Stafford wrote to his patron Burghley, the lord treasurer, that: “The not returning of Lile [his secretary] maketh

Richard Hakluyt’s Foreign Relations  47 that I am fain to send Hakluyt . . . If lack of experience makes that he cannot deliver so well matter of so great weight, necessity has no law”.24 He goes on to explain that he has misdirected Hakluyt as to the source of the information he carries. Hakluyt’s biographer bizarrely views this letter as evidence that Hakluyt was especially trusted—it seems to me rather to indicate that he was a courier of last resort on confidential political matters.25 But he was certainly a courier of other kinds of information; in the state papers for these years, he is glimpsed mainly in passing, in possession of packets which usually were sealed. Even without espionage, a great deal of less secret but still critical information can be seen passing through the Paris embassy. In July of 1588, Hakluyt broke the news to his employer that fighting had begun in the channel between English and Spanish ships. A more complicated case relates to Drake. Stafford wrote to Walsingham in October 1584, “I find from Mr. Hakluyt that Drake’s journey is kept very secret in England, but here it is in everyone’s mouth”.26 Hakluyt was himself involved in the complicated history of information management regarding Drake; in his own letter to Wal­ sing­ham the following year, he complained of the ways Spanish spies and partisans manipulated rumour, suggesting in return that since “the rumour of . . . the preparation of Sir Francis Drake’s [fleet], doth so much vex the Spaniard . . . as nothing can do more: . . . therefore I could wish although Sir Francis Drake’s journey be stayed, yet the rumour of his setting forth might be continued”.27 Not simply a plea for promulgating the truth. As is well known, Hakluyt held back from publishing a full account of Drake’s circumnavigation in Principal Navigations, for reasons that are not entirely understood but include his decision to defer to the proprietary interest of another author. Hakluyt must have learned a few things in Paris. He learned what other people said about England and the English record overseas. Even from his position on the outside, relatively speaking, of the Embassy household, he must have accumulated some fairly sophisticated first-hand experience in both keeping secrets and publishing disinformation. At the same time, in obedience to Walsingham’s charge, he was pursuing his own inquiries. Ha­kluyt’s contacts and researches can be followed only in part, but the most fruitful contact was probably with André Thevet, the French royal cosmographer and author of a book on America translated into English in 1568. Thevet became the largest known source of documents acquired by Ha­kluyt during his Paris stay; it was to him that Hakluyt owed the Laudonnière manuscript on Florida, the Codex Mendoza (an Aztec manuscript from the 1540s), and almost certainly new and valuable material on Cartier’s voyages to Canada. Hakluyt was able to print in Principal Navigations the only accounts of Cartier’s third voyage which have survived, and strong indirect evidence suggests that these materials came from Thevet. If the cosmographer Thevet was probably Hakluyt’s source for materials on Cartier, he was certainly the source for Hakluyt’s material on “Florida”.

48  Mary Fuller Thevet had acquired the manuscript not long after Laudonnière’s return to Paris in 1565, and used it in several printed texts without any acknowledgement beyond a dubious claim to conversations with its author. Nonetheless, in three different texts, Thevet complained of Hakluyt’s “plagiarism”: [T]here is a little history, printed last year, which in good faith I had presented to a certain Englishman, named Richard Hakluyt,—written out by hand, which he gave to a young Parisian man, named M.Basanier,— they kept it from me four months or so, at the end of which the two of them had it printed at Paris. . . . these two, having committed such villainy towards me, brought me one of the books which they had printed, thinking to gratify me, along with my fair copy [of the manuscript], which book they dedicated to an English knight named Walter Raleigh.28 He claims, in other words, that he loaned Hakluyt a manuscript for personal use which Hakluyt not only retained far longer than necessary, but perfidiously had published without its owner’s permission. (Hakluyt would publish an English edition under his own name in London the same year.) Hakluyt described this transaction a little differently. In the dedication to Volume II of Principal Navigations, he wrote that “in the year one thousand five hundred eighty and seven, . . . I . . . caused the four voyages of Ribaut, Laudonnière, Gourges to Florida, at mine own charges to be printed in Paris, which by the malice of some too much affectioned to the Spanish faction, had been above twenty years suppressed”. Hakluyt’s preface framed the twenty-year delay in publication as intentional and political, repeating more pointedly the charge which he also levelled in both Paris editions. These claims—that Thevet had political motives for suppressing the manuscript Hakluyt published—have some plausibility. Frank Lestringant speculates that, had Thevet simply allowed the manuscript to be printed in the late 1560s, Laudonnière’s straightforward, religiously neutral account of a beautiful country and its attractive inhabitants would have remobilised French interest in colonial projects.29 Over and above its account of the massacre of French colonists by a Spanish force, it would have threatened proponents of an alliance with Spain by encouraging encroachments on the Americas. Thevet’s own sympathies were with the pro-Spanish Catholic League—as Hakluyt suggests—and so his motive for suppressing the manuscript seems clear. Yet if Thevet held back the manuscript out of sympathy with Spanish and Catholic interests, the effect of Hakluyt’s publication was not particularly to annoy the French in general. For every Thevet, there was someone else who, if they did not favour reform, simply favoured colonial voyages in general—and it is worth remembering that at this time France was in the process of resuming regular contacts with Canada, in the form of the fur trade. Hakluyt writes that when the French edition appeared, the Chief

Richard Hakluyt’s Foreign Relations  49 Justice of France and others asked “who had done such intolerable wrong to their whole kingdom, as to have concealed that worthy work so long?” As Lestringant points out, the book was published by permission of the French crown, and even seems to have received a kind of official sanction.30 If the manuscript had truly been objectionable to the government, it could not have so easily been printed in Paris. Even Thevet’s objections to the publication were not exclusively political. Over a period of years, Thevet had been gradually appropriating both Cartier’s and Laudonnière’s observations as his own, creating a myth both of personal travel and of direct acquaintance with the authors. What happened between Hakluyt and Thevet was not so much hostility as the souring of a friendship: Hakluyt embarrassed his French counterpart. In fact, Thevet’s own explanation of his failure to publish had something to do with embarrassment, and the things which national pride forbids one to say. Thevet wrote that “I have said enough about the story of those Frenchmen who were killed in Florida, and it is better to leave them in silence than to reveal and uncover them at such length”.31 At least one part of what made the manuscript something for Thevet to hide out of national pride made it potentially especially valuable for an English audience: the materials on French Florida were remarkable for their candour about the colony’s problems. Laudonnière’s narrative frankly described the ways a colony could go wrong: conflicts over the colony’s aims, mutiny, famine, despair. At bottom, these problems were rooted in the lack of adequate food supplies, and the failure of backers at home to maintain contact with the colony—very much what happened at Roanoke, although such problems manifest in Thomas Hariot’s account of that colony only as “false rumours”. The dedications to Walter Raleigh which accompanied Hakluyt and Basanier’s editions of Laudonnière in 1586/7 suggest that their publication was part of an effort to promote the colony he sponsored at Roanoke Island in the second half of the 1580s. These lessons might have been just in time. But even as Hakluyt published Laudonnière’s text in 1587, the governor John White was making an unplanned journey home for supplies—the embargo on shipping in 1588 kept him from returning, and by the time he did, the colonists had vanished. The personal turn to this narrative about Hakluyt’s relations with a particular foreign source suggests that the story might be turned back on Ha­kluyt. Here is the one instance in his career where we actually see him in the process of acquiring a foreign source. He sought out an older man, Thevet, whose book had already been printed in English. They became friends, and over the years Hakluyt borrowed, bought, or received as a gift from him three or four unpublished manuscripts: Laudonnière’s account of the French settlements in Florida, accounts of the 1543 voyages to Canada by Cartier and Roberval, and the post-conquest manuscript known as the Codex Mendoza. All were unique and highly valuable primary sources. We do not know the details of how Hakluyt obtained the second and third manuscripts, but

50  Mary Fuller in the case of Laudonnière, the manuscript was obtained with the consent of the owner, and subsequently returned to him. Thevet’s anger at the “plagiarists and impostors” trying to steal his “credit and authority” reflects that Hakluyt’s appropriation of the manuscript’s information took place under the expectation of friendly exchange rather than declared hostility. Of these manuscripts acquired by Hakluyt in Paris, only the Codex Mendoza survives—Purchas obtained it from Hakluyt “on hard conditions” and it eventually found its way to the Bodleian, the only one of all Hakluyt’s manuscripts located to date. From the perspective of the present, this was the real prize. The cover still bears the name of its previous owner: “André Thevet cosmographe du Roy”. For Thevet, the Codex Mendoza was in fact a stolen secret, as it was taken from a Spanish galleon by French menof-war. For Hakluyt, it was something else; Thevet said nothing of how it passed from his hands to Hakluyt’s, but Purchas claims Hakluyt simply bought it from him for 20 crowns. Once acquired, it sat unpublished among Ha­kluyt’s papers until he died. Hakluyt’s purchase of this Mexican book invites comparison with another book which, if not exactly secret, was certainly stolen in the course of a national conflict. A man named Edward Doughty went to the sack of Cadiz in 1596 as chaplain in one of Raleigh’s ships. Like other participants, he brought back stolen Spanish goods as booty, including a number of books which are now in Hereford Chapter Library, and are described by Burnett Hillman Streeter in a study of chained libraries. The flyleaf of one, an annotated Bible (A.2.11), bears Doughty’s signature. Below it are the words, Cadiz: E Collegio Societatis Jesu. 23o Ju. 1596. Jure Belli. Streeter comments, “there speaks a real Elizabethan”.32 Hakluyt was many interesting things—a patriot, an Anglican, an editor, an inexperienced courier, a crafty borrower, an artist of information—but he was no Edward Doughty. Any serious appraisal of his work must begin by recognizing the difference. Notes 1. David Armitage, Ideological Origins of the English Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 6, 8. 2. “Hakluyt’s Reputation”, in The Hakluyt Handbook, ed. David B. Quinn (London: Hakluyt Society, 1974), I: 133–52 (at pp. 147–48). 3. Stephen Greenblatt, “Invisible Bullets”, Shakespearean Negotiations (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), p. 33. 4. Louis B. Wright, Religion and Empire: The Alliance Between Piety and Commerce in English Expansion 1558–1625 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1943), p. 34. This book is out of date on several factual details as regards Hakluyt. For instance, Wright asserts that Hakluyt’s commentary on Aristotle “perished” (p. 49). Since the date of publication, this document has been located. Similarly, he echoes George Walker (Puritan Salt: The Story of Richard Madox) in bringing Richard Madox home alive from the Fenton voyage, which is incorrect. Frank Lestringant’s work on André Thevet has significantly clarified Hakluyt’s use of French materials; for instance, he obtained

Richard Hakluyt’s Foreign Relations  51 materials on René de Laudonnière’s settlement in Florida from Thevet (a Catholic) rather than from the Huguenot colony, as supposed by Wright. See Lestringant, Le Huguenot et le sauvage [1990] (Geneva: Librarie Droz, 2004), pp. 250–58, and (Genève: Librairie Droz S.A., 1991), pp. 294–97. 5. The anthology has not only defied close readers but also editors: It has yet to receive a critical edition. The second edition of Principal Navigations originally appeared as The principal navigations voiages, traffiques and discoueries of the English nation, 3 vols. (London, 1598–1600). References will be to the 12-volume reprint edition (Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons, 1903–05). Page references are given in the text parenthetically, following the abbreviation PN, and volume number. 6. See Julie Sievers, “Drowned Pens and Shaking Hands: Sea Providence Narratives in Seventeenth-Century New England”, William and Mary Quarterly 63 (2006): 743–76. 7. Leslie Cormack notes that Christ Church, Hakluyt’s college, was the centre of geographical interest at the University during these years (Charting an Empire: Geography at the English Universities, 1580–1620 [Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1997], p. 50). 8. See, for instance, the “Preface to the Reader” in Samuel Purchas, Purchas His Pilgrim (London, 1619). 9. Matthew Day, Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations (1598–1600) and the Textuality of Tudor English Nationalism (DPhil thesis, York, 2003), p. 220. Day gives the reference as Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Most Honorable the Marquis of Salisbury, Volume XVII, p. 522. 10. Hakluyt, “A briefe Commentarie of the true state of Island” (PN IV, 89–194). 11. At the time of writing, David Armitage’s chapter on Hakluyt in Ideological Origins and Peter Mancall’s biography, Hakluyt’s Promise: An Elizabethan’s Obsession for an English America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006) are the only part of this work in print. Other significant studies in progress or extant in other forms include Matthew Day’s engrossing thesis (n. 8, above); and a study by David Harris Sacks, who has kindly shared some of his thinking about Hakluyt over the years, and who would, I believe, see Hakluyt as a more seriously devout writer than I do. 12. John Foxe, Acts and Monuments (New York: AMS Press, 1965), III, 720. 13. Richard Helgerson, Forms of Nationhood (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), p. 182. See also Louis Montrose, “The Work of Gender in the Discourse of Discovery,” in New World Encounters: Essays from Representations, ed. Stephen Greenblatt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), pp. 177–217. 14. The Discourse is now available in numerous modern editions, which include E. G. R. Taylor, Original Writings and Correspondence of the Two Richard Hakluyts (London: Hakluyt Society, 1935), II, 211–326; David B. Quinn, New American World: A Documentary History of North America to 1612 (New York: Arno Press, 1979), III, 71–123; and a facsimile edited by David B. and Alison M. Quinn, A Particular Discourse (London: Hakluyt Society, 1993). 15. See Taylor, Original Writings, II, 217 and 269. 16. Jacques Cartier, A Short and Briefe Narration (London, 1580). 17. Document 56, trans. F. C. Francis, in Taylor, Original Writings II, 356–69 (at p. 367). 18. Taylor: “Florio’s genius was for language and letters rather than science, and on the evidence alike of the cosmographic knowledge displayed, and the propagandist attitude adopted in the Preface to the Reader, it is permissible to infer that the inspiration of this Preface was Hakluyt’s . . . Here in outline form

52  Mary Fuller were to be found the views of the men who were the brains of the early colonizing movement, John Dee, the Hakluyts, Sir George Peckham, Walsingham, Lok, and Gilbert himself, news that had hitherto been a carefully guarded secret” (Taylor, “Introduction”, Original Writings I, 21–22). As additional evidence, Taylor notes that the preface contains material “not to be found in Ramusio”, but available in letters sent by Anthony Parkhurst to Richard Ha­kluyt the elder. Yates concurs that “doubtless Hakluyt . . . inspired the preface”, also remarking the parallels with the preface to Divers Voyages (1582) and concluding that “it was really the voice of Hakluyt which had been heard in 1580 speaking through Florio before he had as yet published anything in his own name . . . alone among all Florio’s dedicatory epistles the two which precede his translation from Cartier are almost free from verbal affectations . . . This fact, unique in our experience of Florio, must be attributed to the sobering influence of Hakluyt” (John Florio: The Life of an Italian in Shakespeare’s England [Cambridge: at the University Press, 1934], pp. 58–59). 19. Taylor, Original Writings I, 181. 20. Document 71, trans. Edward Lynam, in Taylor, Original Writings II, 418–20 (p. 419). (Lynam translates from the Dutch the copy which van Meteren had previously translated into Dutch from English.) The language of personal ownership (“my secrets”), in hindsight, might be said to echo the possessive language with which Hakluyt acknowledged his own part in the Florio Cartier: “at my charges, and other of my friends by my exhortation, I caused Jaques Cartier’s two voyages . . . to be translated out of my Volumes”. 21. Taylor, Original Writings II, 279. 22. Hakluyt’s account here of the collection’s genesis can hardly be literally accurate, attributing it as it does to a moment little more than ten months previous to the work’s entry in the Stationers’ Register. 23. The Calendar of State Papers tells the story with some clarity (see both Spanish and Foreign). Conyers Reade and John Neale debated the question of Stafford’s treachery in a series of articles in the late 1920s and early 1930s; a more recent article by Mitchell Leimon and Geoffrey Parker summarises the debate, and concurs strongly with the view that Stafford spied for Spain (“Treason and Plot in Elizabethan Diplomacy: The “Fame of Sir Edward Stafford” Reconsidered”, English Historical Review 111 (1996): 1134–58. 24. Stafford to Burleigh, May 29, 1588 (Calendar of State Papers Foreign, June 1586–June 1588, vol. XXI, part 1). 25. George Parks, Richard Hakluyt and the English Voyages (New York: American Geographical Society, 1928), p. 103. 26. Stafford to Walsingham, October 16, 1584 (Calendar of State Papers Foreign, August 1584–August 1585, vol. XIX). 27. Taylor, Original Writings II, 345. 28. My translation, from the transcription by Lestringant (L’Huguenot, p. 255) of Thevet’s manuscript Grand Insulaire, I, f. 177 verso. See Lestringant’s note on problems with previous transcriptions and interpretations of this passage. 29. Lestringant, L’Huguenot, pp. 164–66. 30. Lestringant, L’Huguenot, p. 262. 31. My translation, from the transcription by Lestringant (L’Huguenot, p. 256), of Grand Insulaire, I, f. 177 verso. 32. Burnett Hillman Streeter, The Chained Library (London: Macmillan, 1931), p. 97.

3 Imperial Design and Travel Writing New France 1603–1636 Jack Warwick

Travellers’ tales were probably the most popular form of reading in seventeenth-century France. French overseas ambitions had been resumed after eighty years of neglect during the Wars of Religion, and the literate elite was fascinated by distant countries, including the Americas. Individual travellers were encouraged to publish accounts of their journeys into countries which were deemed available for colonisation. Their personal testimony bore witness to the French presence in lands not yet occupied by the Portuguese, Spanish, or other European powers, at the same time as it re-assured readers about the feasibility of building New France in uncouth places. An integral part of this territorial extension of French civilisation was to be the bringing of Catholicism to the natives, generally imagined as wild savages. The increasingly scientific modes of exploration which supported these ambitions inevitably influenced the development of travel writing as a literary form. On the other hand, the weight of tradition was still a major factor. Echoes of ancient travellers’ tales are closely united with new experience and observations, in an evolving vision of the world and its assorted inhabitants. This development is illustrated here by reference to Marc Lescarbot, Samuel de Champlain, and Gabriel Sagard,1 all of whom travelled to what is now Canada and published first-person accounts of their journeys soon afterwards. In these accounts, the presentation of the traveller as experiential hero and the inhabitants as savage objects are clear signs of a transformation both in form and ideology. These three travellers wrote in different circumstances and came from different backgrounds: a lawyer, a soldier turned explorer, and a Franciscan friar. They were not directly engaged in fishing or fur trading, and their published works show scant interest in the commercial activities which provided the financial base for their travels and for the colonial project they served. Their allegiance to imperialist ideology is unmistakable, not least in their different complaints about the poor progress of colonisation. But in their ostensibly personal stories we can detect borrowings from other writers which colour their presentation of the recently discovered land and its inhabitants. Above all, they continued the moral and marvellous dimensions recorded by earlier travel writers, such as Marco Polo, whose book was

54  Jack Warwick still a mythic reference in the seventeenth century. Narratives of personal displacement over geographical space were still imbued with an aura of wonder and the feeling of an important revelation. The great compilers of that period, Richard Hakluyt, Samuel Purchas, and Giambattista Ramusio, all comment that the genre goes beyond the factual, often seeming incredible, essentially marvellous, and perhaps even spiritual.2 Direct quotation, tacit allusion, and undeclared borrowing were all standard practice, varying in proportion from author to author. The range of sources also varies: Lescarbot displays the Renaissance gentlemen’s knowledge of Pliny, Tacitus, and other classics; Champlain darkly echoes Spanish colonial writers; and Sagard tries to have it both ways, sometimes copying Lescarbot’s erudition or emulating Champlain’s echoes of Renaissance travellers. But in all cases, the author is presented as central actor and witness and is the unifying factor for information concerning the itinerary, the action, flora, fauna, climate, and ethnography. First-person narrative does not necessarily lead to introspection; there are few scraps of information about the authors outside their travels, and the traveller is rather an emblematic figure. Ancient authority backs up or merely decorates the wonders observed. Individual authors strike their own balance between these various interests and usually add a modicum of sententious comment on the world in general. This multiplicity of focus is the most constant feature of the genre, intensifying a tradition inherited from the previous century. Beside the delight of the reader, the ostensible aim of travel relations was institutional. They promoted evangelisation and other colonial policies, supported claims for the rights of particular companies, or argued for more exploration funding, rather like applications for research funds today. It appears that publication was usually subsidised and that works were in some sense sponsored. The travel writer’s first-hand experience is advanced to support or undermine accepted ideas, but the reporting of this experience may well be influenced by political needs. A typical motif, for instance, is the presentation of “savages” in dire need of Christian colonisation. Interpolation is frequently detected, suggesting that the sponsor’s aims had to be intensified, over-riding the personal judgement of the traveller. Subsequent readings exploited these works to support the myth of the noble savage or his obverse, the bloodthirsty savage. Still later, in the nineteenth century, when these travel books were more widely read, the major interest was in their revelation of colonial history: triumphal events, expansion, heroic founders, and the nature of the country in its supposedly virgin state. Editing and reading the works of heroic discoverers was a renewed act of possession. Yet the same accounts can be analysed to illustrate anticolonial ideologies, as well as to reach a better understanding of the original cultures of Canada’s native peoples. Current readings seek to delineate early modern European mentalities, the conflict of cultures, and the elaboration of ethnic typologies. There is a considerable risk, in the search for such readings, of treating these writings as documentary objects, without due regard

Imperial Design and Travel Writing  55 for the specificity of their genesis and genre. In the following analysis, literary techniques and strategies are examined which are commonly found in travel writing. These include: the position of the author, the traveller as hero, and myths associated with “the savage”. The crisis of the European conscience3 encountering the “savages” is best illustrated by the testimony of Gabriel Sagard. He was a Recollect friar, that is to say, one of a branch of the Franciscans. He left Paris in March 1623, in the company of a priest of the same order. They took ship in Dieppe and sailed to Tadoussac and Quebec, where they joined Father Joseph Le Caron, who had already been to the country of the Hurons and spent some time in Canada. The three missionaries sailed on as far as Montreal, where they had to separate in order to continue their journey by canoe. From there on, the journeys were separate until the three missionaries joined up a few months later. They lived and worked together for several months before separating once more for their return journeys. Sagard was recalled to Paris, where he arrived in December 1624 and gave evidence to the administration about the work of the missionaries. He did not publish his Grand Voyage until August 1632, but the notes he handed over to the Viceroy in 1625 may well have been a first draft. Subsequently, during a complex dispute about the place of his religious order, he wrote a history of his brothers in Canada, which he finished in December 1635.4 Sagard makes no bones about making his travel writing entertaining: “It would be like hiding your light under a bushel”, he says, “to deny the public those things which can edify them, or bring them a saintly and innocent entertainment, for feeble man is such that his soul has to rejoice, if not all the time, at least by intervals”.5 The passage concludes with the claim that the real point of writing is love. Love of mankind is, it seems, to be taken seriously despite the comic effect of some of the vignettes to be found in Sagard’s text. Despite the rising influence of gloomier doctrines in French theology, Franciscans were committed to a prudent belief in human nature, which they tried to blend with the legacy of the Humanists.6 So the religious censors would have no objection to a simple friar inviting his readers to indulge in a natural pleasure or see an edifying example in non-Christians considered as men of nature. There is a moral value in the traveller’s world here, which is explicitly recognized by Sagard and Lescarbot, while even Champlain implicitly subscribes to the idea that travel writing is more than just practical information. Marc Lescarbot is the only one of the three selected authors with overt literary pretensions. He was a lawyer and a typical Renaissance humanist, reading and travelling to seek a fuller view of the universe. He composed treatises, sonnets, and a theatrical work which might best be termed a masque7, as well as other travel books, not confined to New France. But it is for his Histoire de la Nouvelle France that he is best known. The first version, published in 1609, three years after he had spent eighteen months in what is now Nova Scotia, gives a very positive account of his own journey, but above all, of life in and about the French trading post. Later versions

56  Jack Warwick enlarged the scope, including a compilation of other travel writing in the region and some comparative comment. The aim is explicitly imperialist: France must make more effort to increase its fair share of colonies, the more so as life in America could be prosperous and healthy and, since there were no lawyers, morally improving. Lescarbot’s aim to please the reader is of course most obvious in his masque, which can be considered as travel writing to the extent that it puts the exotic country on stage, with tableaux of colonial life, including native canoes, and with a section performed in the language he called Souriquois. The same tastes are evident in the Histoire, which emphasizes colourful characters; however, the work is generously larded with classical allusions and parallels, and it is clear that the author was seeking to edify.8 In subsequent editions of his Histoire de la Nouvelle France, Lescarbot incorporates the voyages of Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain with his own critical comments and comparisons, confirming that his basic interest is travel, rather than abstract philosophical discourse. His works have been read for their rich and cheerful accounts of life in the remote colonial outpost, otherwise remembered for its heavy death toll from cold and scurvy. Lescarbot’s Souriquois stand out in many anecdotes as individualized human beings, notwithstanding his dismissive attitude to them in other places. He is also remarkable for organizing his observations on the “savages” in a well developed ethnographic system, partly borrowed from other writers, but freely developed. This was in turn to be borrowed and refined by Sagard. Despite some crucial differences, we can perceive a community of thought among these early travel writers, whose work might be taken as a rudimentary ancestor of modern ethnography. Champlain’s ethnography and aesthetics are less evident. His first voyage, written and published immediately after his return from Quebec in 1603, seems rather blunt and factual, but the reader is regaled with some piquant vignettes, such as the sketch of the “savage” at supper, wiping his hands on the dog.9 This strategy establishes reader complicity with the first-person hero, patiently picking his way through a disorderly world in a quest for noble achievement. In my own reading, Champlain’s exaggerated remarks about the sexual prowess of the native women as observed in 1619 are there to titillate and shock;10 his projected reader, in one the most austere periods of French life, could have included pious Catholics eager to impose their morals on the filthy heathens, and also closet libertines thirsting to support their views of moral relativity. In either case, the author is satisfying the reader’s expectation of detailed, authentic accounts of the sheer incongruity of foreigners. This is a requisite of the genre, expanding at times into sententious remarks about heathen morals and the proposed benefits to be brought by Christian settlers. The most important of these remarks may well be interpolations, occurring as they do in the highly suspect last edition of the Voyages (1632).11 They are, nonetheless, characteristic of the travel writing that was published in this period. Over and above the transparent

Imperial Design and Travel Writing  57 use of religion to justify colonisation, we may see the blending of entertainment and moral purpose, the aesthetic of “plaire et instruire” which was beginning to impose itself as the classical literary ideal in France. So it would seem that travel literature was situated in an advantageous position midway between the noble genre of tragedy and the vulgar amusement of novels. The first-person narrative here leads almost inevitably to the heroisation of the traveller. The aim is certainly not autobiographical in any modern sense; the narrator has no “reflexion to make” what sort of person he was or now is. Modern readers may sometimes perceive a gap between the authorial “I” and the narrated “I”, but these writers do not betray any awareness of this. Lescarbot presents himself as a high-minded lawyer escaping from the corrupt world in which he has just lost a case and seeking the Arcadian New World. The narratorial position is that of a busy, competent young man of varied talents, planting a garden, preaching to the men in the absence of a priest, and generally encouraging the isolated little colony. But this subject is fully subordinated to the author, the traveller-poet who sees the world from the heights of Parnassus, perhaps even Olympus. He is an educated thinker, writing up the findings of an infallible observer. The traveller at the centre of the Voyages of Samuel de Champlain seems to go about the world pronouncing lapidary judgements and getting on with his business. The first landfall on arrival in Canada, Tadoussac, is sterile and unpleasing, with nothing but rocks, conifers, and birch trees.12 The “savages” have no gods or laws worth mention; they are like “bestes brutes”.13 He is a bluff old seadog whose heart beats only for great achievements like being the first European to reach the head of an impetuous waterway.14 And so he makes his steadfast way, overcoming obstacles, taking proper notes and measurements, making patient enquiries of the natives, but intolerant of nonsense. Champlain’s idealized view of himself, in his treatise on the good seaman, shows a god-fearing man with a loud voice and moral authority, ever on his guard against confusion, but just and courteous, adaptable in rough conditions, skilled with instruments and geometry.15 Yet many minor incidents suggest a different actor. He shows his Indian allies how to make war properly, but resigns himself to their natural incompetence in this matter. He marvels at the fortitude and dexterity of certain Amerindians with whom he works closely, even handing over the piloting of his shallop to one who obviously knows his own rivers best.16 In recounting precise incidents of this sort, Champlain gives glimpses of himself as a shrewd traveller, quick to appreciate the talents of others and the help they can give him. This stands in sharp contrast to the Olympian authorial voice in which he gives his broader impressions of the strange country and some rather arrogant judgements on other people, especially in generalizations about the “savages”. How does a friar with vows of poverty, chastity, and humility present himself as the hero of a travel story? Sagard manages to have it both ways. He humbly begs the reader to excuse his rough, unpolished style, bereft

58  Jack Warwick of borrowed eloquence, and starts the journey according to the Franciscan rule, on foot from Paris to Dieppe (90 km). But his deferential appeal to the reader to accept his simple way of telling his tale, throwing in the principal matters and the trivia all together, does not prevent him from asserting the authority of his first-hand testimony.17 Several times, especially in his second book, he insists that he is only telling what he is sure of, what he has seen with his own eyes,18 and as proof that the “savages” are of the same nature as “us”, he attests that he has lived like them for a year and a half.19 For a Frenchman and a Franciscan, living on such meagre fare is indeed heroic, even worse than going barefoot through a Canadian winter. So first-person testimony leads easily to the action hero. Although he was, as the Franciscan formula puts it, “the least of our brothers”, Friar Gabriel does not mind telling us that the Hurons recognized him as “a great war chief”; his canoe crew actually named him Captain to get them out of a tight spot.20 We could go on multiplying exploits of this sort. Unlike the other explorer heroes of his time, Sagard also represents his own skill with language; his first book was accompanied by a dictionary of well over 4,000 phrases. He inserts Huron expressions here and there in his narrative and shows himself going to Huron councils, negotiating this or that, generally making friends, and wielding influence. Another recollect, Father Viel, was welcomed in the village “because he was my [Sagard’s] brother”.21 The judgements of Sagard’s authorial “je/ I” can be far reaching. In admiring certain moral qualities of the “savages”, he puts them on a level with Christians.22 Most readers find a charming personal note in this travel story. The journey was obviously a great experience for Sagard, and he delights in telling what he enjoyed, such as the different sorts of fish eaten on the sea journey, or watching the young whales play around the ship. He was upset when his pet muskrat suffocated in his habit while he was sleeping, but with a good heart he fed it to his pet eagle. The traveller as hero seems indispensable to the genre of travel writing as practised at this time. It can be adapted to different personalities and worldviews and easily overcomes conventional modesty where required. The traveller is not merely at the centre of the world depicted; he makes it happen and defines it. The “savages” are admirable (more or less, according to each individual author), but they are mainly consigned to a passive role, to be admired and examined. The “savage” is the best known product of this corpus of travel writing. It is obviously too vast and complex a creation to be treated thoroughly here;23 the most we can do is pick out a few features that help to characterise the genre. Generally, the composite notion of “savages”, not clearly distinguished from each other, is dominant, even though each writer at some time or other sketches an individual Amerindian and shows awareness of ethnic differences. The proportions vary from one writer to the other; it must have been very confusing at first. Certain stereotypes, such as the astounding

Imperial Design and Travel Writing  59 number of sexual partners the women have, are repeated from nation to nation and from book to book. We infer that the archetypal savage appealed more to the imagination than the referential Amerindians, the more so, as some of these stereotypes can be traced to other travel writers in other lands. The crude explanation of lateral succession, for instance, goes back to Peter Martyr of Anghiera and Francisco López de Gómara, according to whom the chief’s nephew inherits because there is no way of knowing who are the fathers of the chief’s apparent sons.24 Another favourite anthropological borrowing is the remark that the women do all the work, while the men lounge about like gentlemen.25 Sagard also comments on how hard it is to clear the Canadian forest with a stone axe, which was part of the men’s work. Such inconsistency is a clear sign of the uncontrolled juxtaposition of literary borrowing and first-hand observation: Huron men did indeed spend long hours deliberating in council, as well as long months fishing, trading, clearing, hauling firewood, and so on. We could say the same about Sagard’s echoing the well-known stereotype of the improvident savage. When he set off up the Ottawa River with five Huron braves, they made short work of the bundle of ship’s biscuit he had brought to see him through the journey; furthermore, they had no other supply of food on board. So, just as the saying has it, they had no thought for the morrow. Later, Sagard was able to admire the many different ways of obtaining and preserving food in Huron villages, but the first impression remains prominent in his narrative. One of the commonest stereotypes is that savages have no god, no law, and no organised society. Lescarbot and Champlain both subscribe to this one, trivialising such native myths and ceremonies as they were able to record. Sagard inverts their accounts, often copying them exactly, but changing a few words to negate their conclusion. This is, then, a direct example of intertextual debate in which writers affirm their opposing interpretations of comparable evidence. It gives substance to a much wider debate, often conducted on a highly speculative plane, about human nature and particularly natural religion. In the gloomy atmosphere of the Counter-Reformation, there were many who denied all hope for humans outside the true Church (whichever that happened to be); the view that human nature held some shreds of truth was frequently condemned.26 The more optimistic view sometimes sought the support of travel writers. Thus, the notorious free-thinker, La Mothe Le Vayer, evokes the Canadian savages philosophising in the forest.27 Need we add that he had never set foot in those forests? The world of travel literature is inextricably linked in a web of reciprocal influences with the intellectual context of its time. The debate about natural goodness shows up in many ways in the travel writing of the period. Sagard, for instance, takes up Champlain’s peremptory affirmation of Amerindian lubricity to point out that Huron women, after a few trial relationships, are loving mothers, devoted to their permanent husbands. Where Champlain dismisses native religion as being at best

60  Jack Warwick some scant respect for the devil, Sagard, using almost the same words, says they respect certain spirits;28 he goes on to demonstrate many other facets of their beliefs and rituals, amounting to a complete cosmogony. He also shows the close relationship between Huron religion and a social organization he generally admired. For us today, the corpus of these writings reveals the extent of the conflict provoked by the meeting of different cultures, but also the groping for an understanding, hampered by rigid theological oppositions. Out of it comes a pioneer ethnography which I am construing as a double method: a preconceived analytical framework, alongside episodes which amount to case studies. Lescarbot, the enlightened lawyer, devises a range of categories by which he can report on what he has seen: subsistence, kinship, myths, dress, and physique, all very familiar to us nowadays. This system is largely adopted by Sagard, even though the older system of measuring Man by comparative vices and virtues still hung over from religious thinking. The significant advance made by the travel writers consists of bringing such mundane matters as pottery, spinning, or canoe building into the delineation of civilized societies. They also bring the notion of primitivism, for their travels in rough conditions, living on the country and cooking with hot stones in birch-bark kettles, gave them the impression of meeting the dawn of humanity. Yet their practical observation of native societies, languages, and arts shows their confused awareness of a refinement on which they sometimes make explicit comment. Meanwhile, the sharpest insights come from the narrative content. Champlain seldom goes beyond praise for certain practical skills, but when he tells us how, mostly with sign language, he obtained information about the interior of the continent, his narrative reveals the extent and coherence of native geography. Sagard’s account of the Hurons’ annual fishing season yields a wealth of information and insight about native zoology, techniques, mythology, and social relations. It would be satisfying to conclude that the travel writers lifted the persistent doubt about whether the natives of the Americas could be human beings, given that their continent was cut off from God’s Creation. It seems, however, that there were still many fervent doubters. The presentation of otherness is not free of ambiguity in these writings. There are, side by side, vague stereotypes and identifiable groups. The notorious French myth of the “bon sauvage/ noble savage” is already evident, a century and a half before Jean-Jacques Rousseau adopted it. The Algonquins, Sagard tells us, give every young couple a canoe, some fishing nets, an axe—enough to live on. With simple nature as their teacher, he goes on, they have a gentle, pleasing society.29 At the time he wrote these lines, the author was involved in a typically vicious ecclesiastical dispute, following which he defected from his religious order. His personal situation may well have induced a benevolent nostalgia for the people he had seen living without these institutional constraints. Nevertheless, these “happy savages” are more

Imperial Design and Travel Writing  61 surely accounted for by the requirements of the travel story as a genre; the other has to be displayed as a foil for the society of the author and his presumed reader. Reflections on otherness, both in general and in application to specific peoples, develop into a more complex creation, eventually opening the way to serious anthropology. Meanwhile, at this particular point in history, the obvious practical role of the “savages” was to justify the colonial ambitions of the writer’s superiors. Seventeenth-century readers could alternatively deplore the “savages’ ” filth and brutality, or gaze condescendingly over their interesting but imperfect religion; in either case, they were bound to infer that the natives needed the help of a Christian colony. Summing up the shared characteristics of the works outlined herein, we may say that despite their strong individuality they all support and refine an existing tradition. They interest the reader with the myriad facts of a foreign country, held up for marvel and larded with persuasive borrowings. This miscellany finds unity in the figure of an intrepid actor-narrator. A sense of moral or at least intellectual adventure is inherent in the physical adventure of this travel hero. It may be noted that the “ego centre” of this literary genre matches its illustrious contemporary, the Cartesian “Cogito ergo sum”, for the cognitive “I” is the guarantee of an otherwise improbable world. The new type of travel hero implicitly supports the right of European powers to control the un-nurtured lands, concurrently with the tendency of modern science to control Nature. The “savage”, good or bad, is inscribed in a subordinate role in the world thus created. To this extent the homology of the new genre with rationalism and with Richelieu’s grand design is obvious. However, it is not simple, for the traveller’s world can also be seen as an assemblage of major archetypes: the Providential Creation, the travel hero, the ambiguous Man of Nature, and so on. These archetypes are expressed through the referential information which is the ostensible aim of the work, the guarantee of a fabulous but real world. Travel, as understood in modern middle-class societies,30 feeds on the fusion of the archetypal and the referential; it has to be created by travel writing. It is commonly supposed that travel broadens the mind, whereas G. K. Chesterton has retorted that there is nothing like travel for narrowing the mind. Either way, travel is recognized by a spatial and a moral dimension, manifest in common experience. The effect of most travel writing is to urge the question of otherness, seen on many different planes and referred to direct testimony. It thus fulfils one of the major functions of myth in modern cultures,31 which is to revivify certain constant questions, ostensibly inherited from ancient memory. Early modern travellers facing the challenge of writing about “uncultivated” lands and inscrutable “savages” knew they had a puzzling but exciting topic for their readers. They fell short of a coherent concept of ethnicity, and they wavered in their accounts of monsters. But they produced a type of writing which led their successors to a more systematic description of Nature and to a more scientific anthropology.

62  Jack Warwick Notes 1. Marc Lescarbot, Histoire de la Nouvelle France, 1609; Samuel de Champlain, Voyages, 1603, 1615, 1619, 1632; Gabriel Sagard, Le Grand Voyage du pays des Hurons, 1632, Histoire du Canada, 1636. 2. John Larner, Marco Polo and the Discovery of the World (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999), pp. 55, 162, and 166. 3. Cf. Paul Hazard, La Crise de la conscience européenne (Paris: Boivin, 1935). 4. The biographical information, taken from Sagard’s two books and sparse other documents, is collated in my introduction to Le Grand Voyage du pays des Hurons, avec un Dictionaire de la langue huronne (édition critique par Jack Warwick, Montréal: Presses de l’Université de Montréal, série Bibliothèque du Nouveau Monde, 1998), pp. 7–13. Further reference will be made to this edition and to Sagard’s Histoire du Canada (Paris: Sonnius, 1636). 5. Sagard, Histoire, p. 879; my translation is rather free. 6. Cf. Julien-Eymard d’Angers, “Le désir naturel du surnaturel”, Etudes franciscaines, VII (June 1956): 45–62. The reaction against such optimism was largely inspired by Bishop Jansen (1585–1638), whose rigid interpretation of St. Augustine fuelled a long and bitter controversy in France. 7. Marc Lescarbot, Les Muses de la Nouvelle France, published jointly with Histoire de la Nouvelle France (Paris: J. Millot, 1609). 8. See Marie-Christine Pioffet, “Marc Lescarbot et la littérature géographique de la Renaissance”, XVIIe siècle, 222 (2004): 91–103. 9. Samuel de Champlain, Works, eds. H. P. Biggar et al. (Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1922), vol. I, p. 102. Subsequent reference will be made to this edition (6 vols., 1922–1936). In the four original publications (1603, 1615, 1619, 1632) Champlain often re-writes his previous accounts; the differences are crucial to our understanding of his work. 10. Champlain, Works, III, p. 137; cf. Champlain, Works, I, p. 19 and Sagard, Voyage, p. 211, where the account is substantially different. 11. Abbé C.-H. Laverdière, in his 1870 edition of Champlain’s works, raised the problem of interference in the 1632 Voyages; it has been much disputed ever since. Cf. Jack Warwick, Introduction to Sagard, Voyage (1998), p. 32. 12. Champlain, Works, II, p. 17. 13. Champlain, Works, III, p. 16. To be translated with caution: “beste” most likely in the sense of “stupid”. 14. Champlain, Works, II, p. 78. 15. Traitté de la Marine et du devoir d’un bon marinier (Works, VI, 253–346). I am indebted to Conrad Heidenreich’s authoritative studies of the cartography of the period for an appreciation of how far Champlain measured up to this ideal. 16. Champlain, Works, I, p. 408. 17. Sagard, Voyage, p. 160; cf. Sagard, Histoire, introductory p. 14 (where a modern book would use roman numerals). 18. Sagard, Histoire, pp. 166, 370, 454 et passim; in fact some other first-person reports are incorporated, but without seriously affecting this claim. 19. Sagard, Histoire, p. 105, p. 180. 20. Sagard, Histoire, p. 327; Sagard, Voyage, p. 327. 21. Sagard, Voyage, p. 167. 22. Sagard, Histoire, p. 343. 23. Cf. Olive Dickason, The Myth of the Savage (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1984). 24. Sagard, Voyage, p. 216; loc. cit. n. 7. 25. Sagard, Voyage, p. 191; cf. Warwick, Introduction to Sagard, Voyage, p. 45.

Imperial Design and Travel Writing  63 26. See especially François Garasse, La Doctrine curieuse des beaux esprits de ce temps (Paris: Sébastien Chappelet, 1624). 27. François de la Mothe Le Vayer, De la Vertu des Payens (Paris: F. Tanga, 1642). 28. Champlain, Works, III, 143; Sagard, Voyage, p. 250. Cf. Warwick, Introduction to Sagard, Voyage, p. 44. 29. Sagard, Histoire, p. 322. 30. On the view of “travel” as a modern concept I am much indebted to Normand Doiron, L’Art de voyager; le déplacement à l’époque classique (Sainte-Foy: Presses Universitaires Laval, 1955). 31. From the abundant works on this concept, I am adopting the ideas outlined by Pierre Albouy in “Quelques gloses critiques sur la notion de mythe littéraire”, Revue d’Histoire Littéraire de France (1970), 1059–63 and Philippe Sellier, “Qu’est-ce qu’un mythe littéraire?”, Littérature 55 (Oct. 1984): 112–26.

4 The Page as Private/Public Space in Mariana Starke’s Travel Writings on Italy Susan Pickford

’Tis clear, though divinely inspired, that acuter Than her could be never or Courier or Tutor; From the price of a house to the pace of a Vet, From the relics stupendous of Rome, To where you can purchase the best heavy wet, The old woman’s always at home. By “Honeycomb”, Notes and Queries, 1857.1 Mariana Starke is one of those women travel writers who are regularly mentioned in passing in studies of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century travel rather as curiosities, but whose contributions to the development of travel writing as a genre are rarely studied in their own right.2 This chapter aims to redress the balance by studying two versions of her writings on Italy, focusing particularly on page layout to track changes in the presentation and hierarchisation of information. These typographical changes provide a fascinating parallel to the evolution of the eighteenth-century travel narrative towards the more typically nineteenth-century travel guide of the sort commonly known as a Baedeker or Murray—the names of their (male) publishers functioning as commercial brands. Mariana Starke (c. 1762–1838) was born into a time when it was just becoming socially acceptable for a woman to earn a living from her pen. However, there were still manifold, and obvious, hurdles to becoming a female travel writer. Women who travelled traditionally did so to accompany other members of their family or in a subordinate role as a governess or nurse. They had very little leeway to explore a foreign country on their own terms and at their own pace, and thus to write authoritative accounts of their travels for the public arena. It was generally acknowledged, however, that they did excel in writing letters to their mothers and sisters at home. This was essentially a private activity, not always considered appropriate when women’s social skills were required elsewhere, as the following quote from Mary Hamilton’s letters of 1776 shows:

The Page as Private/Public Space in Starke’s Writings on Italy  65 I should, my dearest Mama, write more particularly and acquaint you with every occurrence . . . [However] Lord Dartrey has made some gentle remonstrances against Lady Dartrey, and I am spending too much time in scribbling letters, and when we settle for the evening he likes to play at dominoes or some round game.3 This remark highlights the difference between the essentially public, masculine sphere of society, for which “round games”—what the French call “jeux de société”—is an excellent metaphor, and the private, feminine, domestic sphere of the letter to the family back home.4 Women were not meant to make authoritative pronouncements in the public arena, whether through literary or political activity. Numerous male authors lambasted women for daring to trespass into the public sphere. In his Enquiry Into the Duties of the Female Sex (1797), for example, Thomas Gisborne claims that women are unequal to discussing law, politics, trade, navigation, and warfare, and that female travel leads to “[the] acquisition of an unsettled, tatling, and a meddling spirit”.5 Women could, and increasingly did, however, write and publish travel letters, which remained within the bounds of propriety as long as the fiction of a private audience was maintained—hence the oft-repeated prefatory disclaimers that letters were not intended for publication. In these letters, they gave their travel impressions, which by definition made no claims to authority. Likewise, women frequently downplayed their achievements as writers, casting their texts as devoid of true literary merit rather than proclaiming the originality and validity of their authorial voice. Thus, in her Spinster’s Tour in France (1828)—and the fact that she feels the need to categorise herself as traveller and author in terms of marital status is in itself revealing—Elizabeth Strutt is “entirely diffident of [my book] possessing any other merit than that of faithful description”.6 Women frequently became themselves the relay of attitudes dictating gender-appropriate behaviour in their own writing. Mary Ann Hanway, for example, avoided accusations of a lack of femininity on the publication of her Journey to the Highlands of Scotland (1776) by claiming that despite her travels, “the mind remains untravelled, and clings fondly to that dear, and domestic circle whom we have left over our own fire-sides”.7 This suggests two distinct poles of discourse: the masculine virtues of objective rationality and narrative discipline as opposed to the feminine characteristics of intuitive subjectivity, leading in general to rambling, illconstructed discourse. These characteristics meant that women often felt most at home writing in the letter format, using, as C. B. Stevenson writes: “the loosely accretive epistolary form . . . as an ideal vehicle for leisurely descriptions of diverse subjects”.8 Indeed, some women felt that the very lack of structure of the epistolary form gave them a certain advantage over men, enabling them to make the most of their own inherent qualities, such as shrewd powers of observation, as Lady Eastlake suggests:

66  Susan Pickford Who . . . has not turned from the slap-dash scrawl of your male correspondent . . . to the well-filled sheet of your female friend, with plenty of time bestowed and no paper wasted, and overflowing with those close and lively details which show not only that observing eyes have been at work, but one bright pair of eyes in particular? . . . one of her greatest charms, as a describer of foreign scenes and manners, . . . is that very purposelessness resulting from the more desultory nature of her education.9 The letter format was thus a natural choice for Mariana Starke’s first venture in travel writing, Letters From Italy, although this was not her first publication. She had previously published two plays, The Sword of Peace in 1789 and The Widow of Malabar in 1791. The preface to The Sword of Peace suggests that she was aware of the gender politics of public and private discourse as early as the 1780s. She justified her decision to publish anonymously as follows (in fact, her authorship of the play was an open secret): When once a woman is known to write, if in company she converses with vivacity, she is immediately condemned as thinking “no one can speak but herself”. If she is silent, “oh! she’s employed taking off the company!”—Thus, can she neither speak, laugh, nor be serious, with impunity; every action is misconstrued, and her features, dress, person, &c. the constant topic with those who have not abilities to judge, nor candour sufficient to praise her. For these reasons, and these alone, I own I have not confidence to stand the public gaze, nor vanity enough not to feel embarrassed as an avowed authoress. Having too often witnessed the fate of such (however worthy, however amiable!) I wish to conceal myself from the censure of individuals, the flattery of sycophants, and the partiality of weak friends.10 It was not until 1792, when she was around thirty, that Mariana Starke was given the chance to travel to Europe as companion to an elderly relative suffering from tuberculosis. The initial impetus for her travels was thus, as was so often the case for women, a private, domestic context. In 1800, she published two volumes of Letters From Italy Between the Years 1792 and 1798. The subtitle gives a clear indication of the work’s contents: Containing a View of the Revolutions in That Country, From the Capture of Nice by the French Republic to the Expulsion of Pius VI From the Ecclesiastical State: Likewise Pointing out the Matchless Works of Art Which Still Embellish Pisa, Florence, Siena, Rome, Naples, Bologna, Venice, &c., With Instructions for the Use of Invalids and Families Who May Not Choose to Incur the Expence [sic] Attendant Upon Travelling With a Courier. Starke begins her introduction by providing a justification for her discussion of historical subjects that more properly belong to the masculine sphere:

The Page as Private/Public Space in Starke’s Writings on Italy  67 Having witnessed the first entrance of the French into Italy, resided in Tuscany when they seized Leghorn and endeavoured to revolutionize Florence, and having been at Rome in March 1797, when they threatened to overthrow the papal Government, and in February 1798, when that threat was realized, I am tempted to give such a short account of these transactions as Persons on the spot only are capable of detailing.11 Only the accident of her being an eyewitness to these events has induced her to put herself forward to write about them. Later in the introduction, she similarly minimises the originality and authority of her own voice, using phrases such as “I am . . . encouraged by a hope of being serviceable” (Letters v). When she does adopt an authoritative voice, it is in relation to her role as a nurse, thus placing her firmly back in the private, domestic sphere of feminine subordination: “I trust, that the little knowledge I have been able to collect may so far inform Travellers, as to guard them against those serious inconveniences which too generally retard, and unfrequently prevent, the recovery of consumptive persons” (Letters vi). Characteristically, the critic who reviewed the Letters for the Monthly Magazine has praise only for this aspect of the text: the Letters, he writes, are devoid of all literary quality but he concedes that the medical information is “very useful”.12 Although a large proportion of the letters are factual in content, placing them in the public sphere, Starke uses the letter format favoured by and for women, thus creating a private reading pact between herself and the recipient of the letters. In fact, the beginning of the first letter, dated 1792 and sent from Nice, suggests that she has begun writing letters at the instigation of her correspondent: “As you wish for a description of that chain of the Alps which seems designed by Nature to protect Italy from the invasions of her Gallic neighbours, I will send you a short account of our late excursion over these mountains to Geneva” (Letters 1). She thus further abdicates her responsibility for the text, adopting a submissive attitude towards the reader. The fact of presenting the text in the form of letters places it in the domain of invisible typography—in other words, typography that does not call attention to itself, as opposed to visible typography of the type exploited by Sterne at various points in Tristram Shandy, for example. In order to maintain the visual continuity of the text, Starke integrates practical information for invalids and their companions into the body of the letter: “We undertook this journey during the end of May, giving for six horses which drew our English coach, and a saddle-horse for our courier, 28 louis-d’ors from Nice to Turin; and bearing our own expenses at inns, which amounted to a couple of crowns a day” (Letters 2). The letter layout is maintained, whatever the type of information given, except at the very end of the second volume, which includes an appendix in list format. The use of the letter format reflects the author’s desire to inscribe her text within the feminine, domestic sphere of travel impressions, despite the often very

68  Susan Pickford factual, historical content which distances her writing from what another female travel writer, Maria Guthrie, called the “charming disorder that must reign in the narrative of a female traveller”.13 The author’s desire to inscribe her text in the private sphere is also evident in the paratext: a critic writing in the Monthly Review for August 1800 complains that the list of contents is useless as it does not give the page number for the start of each letter. This suggests a text designed to be read continuously as a narrative rather than as a reference work to be consulted. Of course, other travel books dating from the same period do already use tables and indexes to enable the traveller to consult them as an authoritative work of reference, such as Count Leopold Berchtold’s Essay to Direct and Extend the Inquiries of Patriotic Travellers (1789)—and note the tone of confident authority suggested by this title, with its injunction to readers to “direct” and “extend” their knowledge. This kind of layout draws on the potential for classification and hierarchisation inherent in the space of the page and thereby breaks the illusion of hypotyposis—the rhetorical use of description to enable the reader to visualise the scene—an important literary device which invisible typography plays a vital role in maintaining. Mariana Starke’s efforts to reconcile objectivity and femininity by writing factual accounts in letter format were decried by the critics. In 1800, the critic for the Critical Review wrote that he had never seen a case where the letter format had been more improperly adopted and that it would have been more appropriate to discuss questions such as “the best shops for perfumery . . . in a convenient size for a post-chaise pocket under the title of the Traveller’s Guide—not swollen into octavo volumes, and called Letters from Italy”.14 In the same vein, the London Review accused her of being a bluestocking and advised her to stick to more feminine accomplishments: A pedantic attempt to invalidate ancient records, and to establish a new opinion, founded in female vanity, disgraces the credit of the inventress in Letter XXIII . . . In short, the whole seems calculated to inform her readers, that she has studied Polybius . . . Assured as we are, that these letters will appear from the press in a second edition, we recommend it to Mrs Starke, and her sharp-sighted publisher, to expunge this piece of learned lumber.15 It seems that Starke took this advice to heart, although perhaps not in the vein the critics intended. In the 1802 edition of the Letters, she added a Supplement to the Appendix to Miss Starke’s Travels in Italy, Containing Routes Through France, With Directions for Travelling in That Country, discarding the letter format and the autobiographical references of the earlier edition and providing key information in list format.16 In subsequent editions, she changed the title to Information and Directions for Travellers on the Continent, and later Travels in Europe, for the Use of Travellers on

The Page as Private/Public Space in Starke’s Writings on Italy  69 the Continent, and Likewise in the Island of Sicily. These titles reflect her new, authoritative voice: she has entirely discarded the diffident tone of the Letters. This new format proved an outstanding success and a remarkable publishing achievement, especially for a woman, running through numerous editions up to 1839. Even the Gentleman’s Magazine for January 1833 conceded that “Starke’s Traveller’s Guide having arrived at an eighth edition, is the best proof of its practical utility”;17 in 1844, Mary Shelley was still able to say that Starke on Sorrento was “both accurate and well written” and “for this part of Italy she is an excellent guide”.18 Below is a comparison of the 1800 and 182619 versions of Starke’s accounts of her Italian travels. The later text draws largely on the earlier version, as a comparison of the introductions reveals: I am likewise encouraged by a hope of being serviceable to those of my countrymen, who, in consequence of pulmonary complaints, are compelled to exchange their native soil for the renovating sun of Italy, to insert a few observations (relative to health), the result of seven years experience, during which period my time and thoughts were chiefly occupied by endeavours to mitigate the sufferings of those most dear to me. . . . hence, I trust, that the little knowledge I have been able to collect may so far inform Travellers, as to guard them against those serious inconveniences which too generally retard, and not unfrequently prevent, the recovery of consumptive persons. (Letters v–vi)

I will now close this preface by saying that, in the hope of being serviceable to those of my compatriots who, in consequence of pulmonary complaints, are compelled to exchange their native climate for the mild temperature of Italy, I have ventured to make a few observations relative to health, and the result of twelve years’ experience; during the greater part of which period my time and thoughts were chiefly occupied by endeavours to mitigate the sufferings of those most dear to me: and highly gratified should I feel if the little knowledge I have been able to collect could so far inform Travellers, as to guard them against those serious inconveniences which too generally retard, and not unfrequently prevent, the recovery of consumptive persons. (Directions viii)

What have changed are a few key details that position the text not in a private, domestic context, but firmly in the public sphere. First of all, the title, Information and Directions, positions the authorial voice as prescriptive. Secondly, the autobiographical voice has been replaced in the main body of the text by impersonal formulations and even imperatives. Starke has discarded the private reading pact implied by the letter format and now takes full responsibility for the accuracy of the information given:

70  Susan Pickford I submit the Fifth Edition of the following Work to the Public, under a new Title, and much diminished in size; though considerably augmented with respect to useful information; as it contains a full and faithful account of all the large towns and post-roads in the most frequented parts of the European Continent (many of which roads are only just finished) . . . I have likewise considerably enlarged my description of Pompeii, and other Antiquities in Magna Graecia; doing the whole in the hope of exempting my Compatriots from the necessity of encumbering themselves with those numerous and incomplete publications, which are sold in every large foreign city (Directions v). Travel impressions are by definition subjective; travel guides, on the other hand, give very similar information. This introduction clearly indicates that she is aware of the competition, positioning her work in a very public marketplace by including commercial arguments such as the up-to-the-minute nature of her information and the handy pocket format of her books. She acknowledges the public nature of her readership, inviting her readers to contribute to the next edition, making it a truly public work: “Any corrections, or suggestions for the improvement of this Work, will be thankfully received by the Publisher.”20 Moreover, Mariana Starke’s letters to her publisher, John Murray III, reflect her close involvement with the editorial process. Her earliest letter to Murray dates from 13 March 1814. Gone is the diffidence of the preface to the Sword of Peace: her former publisher having retired, she now offers Murray the rights to the new edition in a forthright tone that shows her confidence in its economic potential: Sir, Several years since, Sir Richd. Phillips published a Work of mine, entitled Letters from Italy, &c. with Instructions for the use of Invalids & other Travellers. This work was found to contain such necessary & accurate directions, relative to travelling, & living with comfort and oeconomy, on the Continent, that the whole edition sold rapidly: & from various Travellers, with whom I had not the smallest acquaintance, I received many acknowledgements for the advantages they derived from my Itinerary. She goes on to boast of how comprehensive her work is, covering Germany, Portugal, Spain, France, Chamonix and the Alps, Madeira, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Russia, and Poland. Likewise, she points out that it is also perfectly up to date, with new maps and diagrams of the latest carriage designs. She concludes: My book, therefore, in its present state, comprehends every kind of information most needful to continental Travellers: & as it seems reasonable to suppose the emigration from this Country will be immediate &

The Page as Private/Public Space in Starke’s Writings on Italy  71 immense, in case of peace, allow me to enquire whether, if that event occur, you would like to purchase the above-named work . . . ?21 Further letters reveal her involvement in the process of selecting a printer and a map engraver.22 In August 1822, she stoutly defends the editorial format which sets her book apart from the competition: I feel so anxious to convince you of the propriety of my determination not to change the form of my Work, that I send, (tho’ I can ill spare it,) the best, & most popular Manuel du Voyageur I ever met with (Reichard excepted) for your inspection: I likewise send one of the numerous editions of the Itinerario Italiano; which, with all its maps, costs only one dollar . . . of which Guides enquiring Travellers are in the habit of purchasing three or four, in every capital city of the Continent. From all this I mean to infer, that if my Work were converted into a mere road-book, it would cease to be bought in Italy at the expense of six or eight dollars; when the very best road-book of that country costs but one dollar; neither would it be bought in France, for the same reason. But while it remains in its present form, & saves Travellers the expense of purchasing Guides for capital cities, & their galleries of sculpture & painting, by pointing out, & giving an accurate & a classical description of the antiquities, & c. which those cities contain; & while it teaches Travellers not only how to travel oeconomically, but likewise how to live frugally & healthfully on the Continent, it will be purchased, notwithstanding its high price. This is the literal fact: & were your plan to be carried into execution, I am confident your purse would suffer materially: whereas, by adopting my plan, & executing it without delay, we should be certain to sell the remainder of our present edition, & also increase the credit of the work.23 Neither does she spare her publisher’s feelings in refusing his suggestions: in one undated letter, she bluntly informs him that “I do not, however, wish to augment the size of my volume more than is necessary; and therefore I think your proposed additions to the article entitled Paris would be unwise; especially as they are not particularly interesting”.24 The change of tone from the Letters to the Information and Directions marks a shift from feminine submissiveness to masculine authoritative objectivity,25 and from diffident amateur status to commercially confident professional authorship. This change in authorial tone is accompanied by a shift from invisible to visible typography (see Figures 4.1 and 4.2). The 1826 text is presented in double columns, denoting an informative as opposed to a literary text. Information on hotels and prices, which in the first edition is given in the body of the letter, is now set out in tables, footnotes, and lists. Mariana Starke was also the first writer of travel guides to use a hierarchical classification system of visual identifiers systematically

72  Susan Pickford

Figure 4.1  “Voltaire’s home at Ferney”. In: Mariana Starke, Letters from Italy, Between the Years 1792 and 1798 (London: R. Phillips, 1800), p. 21.

The Page as Private/Public Space in Starke’s Writings on Italy  73

Figure 4.2  “Voltaire’s home at Ferney”. In: Mariana Starke, Information and Directions for Travellers on the Continent. 5th ed. (Paris: Galignani, 1826), p. 31.

74  Susan Pickford rating the interest of various sites and monuments, using up to four exclamation marks for Michelangelo’s David. This system was already in use in the 1800 Letters, but was explained only in passing in a footnote in the body of the text. The Monthly Review of July 1800 wrote that “The notes of admiration, introduced by Mrs. S [sic] as indicating the comparative degrees of excellence of works of art, seem new, judicious, and ingenious”.26 In later editions, “Mrs. S” exploited the commercial potential of her system, placing the explanation in the 1826 edition in a much more strategic textual site in the introduction, announcing: “In the following pages, the Reader will find that several of these Works of Art are distinguished, according to their reputed merit, by one or more exclamation-points” (Directions v). From there, it was taken up by both John Murray III, who published the later versions of Mariana Starke’s work, and Karl Baedeker. The shift between the two versions of Starke’s text from the paradigm of a private, amateur, literary text to a public, professional, commercial one— from the feminine to the masculine sphere—is seen to be reflected in the typographical layout of the two texts. While the invisible typography of the 1800 text invites the reader to engage in continuous reading of the kind associated with reading a novel, the visible layout of the 1826 version, with its lists, tables, and indexing invites the reader to consult the text like a dictionary or encyclopaedia. The non-linear layout of the latter associates it with the emerging paradigm of consumer society in which information becomes a commodity, made possible by standardising the transmission of information, now increasingly precise and standardised. Once type was machine-cast rather than hand-cast, after William Church’s 1822 invention of a type-founding machine, typography became precise enough to make George Bradshaw’s elegant and compact railway guides. As Barry Roseman notes, “One page of Bradshaw’s Guide of 1852 traces the paths of twelve train journeys with forty-four stops, including mileage and fare data, in a mere 25 square inches, a remarkable concentration of information”.27 (see Figure 4.3). Mariana Starke was one of the first travel writers to seize the opportunities offered by improvements in printing technology.28 It enabled her to organise and hierarchise information with a remarkable degree of precision and concision that would have been impossible a few decades earlier. Her switch from invisible typography to a visible, information-rich layout that made it easier for readers to extract information as and when they needed it reflects her movement from staging a private reading pact to acknowledging her public readership. This echoes a shift from feminine to masculine, amateur to professional, writing, in which she lost her womanly diffidence and openly defended the commercial value of her writing in the marketplace, arguing that her guide was more up-to-date and, thanks to its modern, precise layout, more practical than other, less compact, more unwieldy tomes. Unfortunately, John Murray III did not scruple to use his position as a leading publisher to minimise Starke’s contribution to the development of

The Page as Private/Public Space in Starke’s Writings on Italy  75

Figure 4.3  Page from Murray’s Railway Hand-Book, September 1850. Source: www.stbride.org/conference2003/proceedings2003/timetables.html (last accessed 08/10/06). With thanks to Barry Roseman for permission to reproduce this image.

the travel guide. Her works are mentioned merely as a brief aside in the official history of the Murray publishing company: “Mrs. Starke made a beginning, but her works were very superficial and inadequate . . .”.29 Murray failed to recognise her important contribution in inventing the rating system which enabled him to produce guides which were standardised across the board. Instead, he takes the credit himself for writing the first truly systematic guide, stressing how he organised and hierarchised the information: At that time [1829] such a thing as a Guide-book for Germany, France or Spain did not exist . . . on landing at Hamburg, I found myself destitute of . . . friendly aid. It was this that impressed on my mind the value of practical information gathered on the spot, and I set to work to collect for myself all the facts, information, statistics, &c., which an English tourist would be likely to require or find useful . . . these Routes would have been of comparatively little value, except for the principle and plan upon which they were laid down. I had to consult the wants and convenience of travellers in the order and arrangement of my facts.30 But Starke had already shown the way in organising the “principle and plan”, and the “order and arrangement” of her facts. Although Murray does

76  Susan Pickford acknowledge that hers “was a work of real utility” containing “much practical information gathered on the spot”, with the same breath he suggests that her work is encumbered with much extraneous detail of a sort that classifies the author as an eccentric bluestocking: [A] singular medley of classical lore, borrowed from Lemprière’s Dictionary, interwoven with details regulating the charges in washing-bills at Sorrento and Naples, and an elaborate theory on the origin of Devonshire cream, in which she proves that it was brought by Phoenician colonists from Asia Minor into the West of England. At the same time, he boasts that he has included in his own work “such other information as I could gather on History, Architecture, Geology, and other subjects”.31 What in her writing is referred to slightingly as “a singular medley” becomes in his text “suited to a traveller’s need”.32 The cause for this disparagement is perhaps to be found in Mariana Starke’s later letters to her publisher, which reveal a dispute over the matter of who owned the copyright to her works.33 Murray published the first of his Handbooks for Travellers in 1836, modelled on Mariana Starke’s presentation: Writing to Galignani in Paris to convince him to adopt his own new Handbook he noted that “[i]t exceeds 500 pages closely printed in double column like Mrs. Starke”.34 The final edition of a Starke guide was in 1839, after which her name was entirely displaced as a commercial reference by that of Murray. In the words of Jeanne Moskal, “literary history has not been kind to Mariana Starke”.35 She had a spirited female voice—a voice that did not hesitate to stake a claim to the traditionally masculine territory of professional authorship, radiating authorial self-assurance and commercial confidence. It is a loss to the history of travel writing that her achievement should have been hijacked by the very man who should have defended her— her publisher, John Murray III. However, while the main focal point of this chapter has been to recover Mariana Starke’s contribution as a major innovator in the history of travel writing, it also aims to draw attention to the broader issue of the way this masculine spoliation of female achievement is itself inscribed in the wider context of the industrialisation of the publishing industry and the concomitant, ongoing professionalisation of authorship. In this context, the posthumous fate of Mariana Starke’s oeuvre can perhaps best be read in terms of the gender domination inherent in the formation of genres and the circulation of texts. Notes 1. Notes and Queries, series 2, III, 57, p. 87. This verse from a longer poem was submitted by a reader who found it in a second-hand copy of Starke’s Continental Guide. Quoted in the typescript by Gratton and Lister in the Starke file

The Page as Private/Public Space in Starke’s Writings on Italy  77 of the John Murray archives, now in the possession of the National Library of Scotland. All the letters quoted to or from John Murray are in this file. 2. In recent years, a number of scholars have begun to address the question of women and the history of travel, particularly in the nineteenth century, with a number of studies on travellers such as Isabella Bird and Mary Kingsley. While a full bibliography clearly lies beyond the scope of this chapter, Sara Mills’ Discourses of Difference: An Analysis of Women’s Travel Writing and Colonialism (London: Routledge, 1991) deserves mention as having been particularly influential in this field. 3. Brian Dolan, Ladies of the Grand Tour [2001] (London: HarperCollins, 2002), p. 277. 4. Both the issues of the public/private sphere and of letter writing have attracted considerable critical attention in recent years, particularly from a feminist perspective. Scholars including Jean Bethke Elshtain, in Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social and Political Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), and Carole Pateman, in The Sexual Contract (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988), have read Habermas’ public sphere in terms of gender dichotomy. See Lawrence E. Klein, “Gender and the Public/ Private Distinction in the 18th Century: Some Questions About Evidence and Analytic Procedure”, Eighteenth Century Studies 29 no. 1 (1996): 97–109, for a thoughtful questioning of this gendered approach. It should be noted that this gender dichotomy is also a class dichotomy: travel writers, both male and female, were overwhelmingly from middle- or upper-class family backgrounds. For an approach to gender issues in epistolary forms in both fact and fiction, see Carolyn Steedman, “A Woman Writing a Letter”, in Epistolary Selves: Letters and Letter-Writers, 1699–1945, ed. Rebecca Earl (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999), pp. 111–33, and Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook, Epistolary Bodies: Gender and Genre in the 18th-Century Republic of Letters (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996). Cook usefully links letter-writing and private/ public space in her introduction: “Against the swarm of public print forms that proliferated in the early decades of the [eighteenth] century, the letter became an emblem of the private; while keeping its actual function as an agent of the public exchange of knowledge, it took on the general connotations it still holds for us today, intimately identified with the body, especially a female body, and the somatic terrain of the emotions, as well as the thematic material of love, marriage, and the family” (p. 6). 5. Quoted in Katherine Turner, British Travel Writers in Europe, 1750–1800: Authorship, Gender, and National Identity (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001), p. 289. 6. Quoted in Jane Robinson, Unsuitable for Ladies: An Anthology of Women Travellers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 18. 7. Mary Ann Hanway, Journey to the Highlands of Scotland [1776] (New York: Garland, 1974), p. vi. 8. C. B. Stevenson, Victorian Women Travel Writers in Africa (Boston: Twayne, 1982), p. 9. 9. Quoted in Robinson, Unsuitable for Ladies, p. xiii. Emphasis in the original. 10. Anon [Mariana Starke], The Sword of Peace; or, a Voyage of Love (London: J. Debrett, 1789), preface, unpaginated. 11. Mariana Starke, Letters From Italy, Between the Years 1792 and 1798 (London: R. Phillips, 1800), p. v. My emphasis. Further references are given parenthetically in the text, following the abbreviation, Letters. 12. The Monthly Magazine, part 2, vol. 8 (July–December 1799), p. 1049. 13. Maria Guthrie, A Tour performed in the Years 1795–6, Through the Taurida, or Crimea, quoted in Turner, British Travel Writers, p. 147.

78  Susan Pickford 14. Quoted in Charles Batten, Pleasurable Instruction: Form and Convention in Eighteenth-Century Travel Literature (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978), p. 30. 15. The London Review (November 1800): 352–53. Emphasis added. 16. Mariana Starke, Supplement to the Appendix to Miss Starke’s Travels in Italy, containing Routes through France, with Directions for Travelling in that Country (London: R. Phillips, 1802). 17. Gentleman’s Magazine 103 (January 1833): 61. 18. Quoted in Jeanne Moskal, “Politics and the Occupation of a Nurse in Mariana Starke’s Letters from Italy”, in Romantic Geographies: Discourses of Travel 1775–1844, ed. Amanda Gilroy (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000), 150–64 (at p. 152). 19. Mariana Starke, Information and Directions for Travellers on the Continent (Paris: Galignani, 1826). Further references are given parenthetically in the text, following the abbreviation, Directions. 20. She later regretted this invitation, requesting John Murray to remove it in a letter of September 1832, since “persons I am not anxious to number among my acquaintance, avail themselves of the paragraph, for the sake of dinners & balls I am in the habit of giving on the Continent: & at my last ball, given at Rome, I lost a considerable quantity of plate, supposed to have been pocketed by British Swindlers”. Starke file, John Murray archive, National Library of Scotland. 21. Letter from Mariana Starke to John Murray III dated 13 March 1814, Starke file, John Murray archive, National Library of Scotland. 22. “I have examined Mr. Gardner’s Map of Central Europe: & if he could add Sicily, & complete France, at the same time expunging his explications of the length of miles in various parts of Europe, I think his Map would answer our purpose: & perhaps these additions & alterations might be made in a month or six weeks”. Undated letter. Starke file, John Murray archive, National Library of Scotland. 23. Letter from Mariana Starke to John Murray III dated August 1822, Starke file, John Murray archive, National Library of Scotland. Emphasis in the original. 24. Undated letter from Mariana Starke to John Murray III, Starke file, John Murray archive, National Library of Scotland. 25. According to a typescript by J. R. Gretton and W. B. C. Lister in the Starke file in the Murray archive, Mariana Starke was known in Exmouth, where she lived, as “Jack Starke” because of her habit of wearing a man’s hat and riding habit. 26. Monthly Review or Literary Journal, xxxii. Second series (May–August [July] 1800): 225–32 (at p. 232). 27. Barry Roseman,“Hidden typography in transportation timetables”,www.stbride .org/conference2003/proceedings2003/timetables.html (retrieved 08/10/06). 28. Of course, improvements in printing technology were accompanied by advances in transport technology that had a twofold impact in this field, facilitating not only the rise of the modern tourism industry but also wholesale book distribution techniques that Starke also took full advantage of to make sure her books were permanently available across the continent. 29. Samuel Smiles, A Publisher and His Friends: Memoir and Correspondence of the Late John Murray, with an Account of the Origin and Progress of the House, 1768–1843 (London: John Murray, 1891), vol. II, p. 460. 30. Smiles, A Publisher and His Friends, vol. II, p. 460–61. Emphasis added. 31. Smiles, A Publisher and His Friends, vol. II, p. 461. 32. Smiles, A Publisher and His Friends, vol. II, p. 461.

The Page as Private/Public Space in Starke’s Writings on Italy  79 33. A letter dated 22 April 1832, shows an elderly Starke who has lost none of her imperiousness: “As my new Work on ancient Italy, incorporated with the 8th Edition of my ‘Travels for the use of Travellers’, is not yet published, altho’ I was promised that it should be got through the press by the end of October last, and as this delay has not only detained me in England the whole winter, but is, at the same time extremely injurious to the reputation of my Work, I am under the necessity of requiring you to produce, without delay, (first, however, submitting the Title to my inspection,) the above-mentioned Work, which you are now printing: as I shall otherwise feel myself called upon to supply Messrs. Galignani with matter for their Edition, which they have held back nearly a twelve-month to oblige me . . . I feel it is incumbent upon you to shew that I have lent myself to an improper Title-page, before, you can be justified in changing my Title; consequently it follows that I have just cause of complaint against you for altering the Title of your present Edition without my knowledge; and likewise that I have a right to be made acquainted with the Title you intend to place at the head of my new Work.” 34. Letter of 2 August 1836, quoted in J. R. Gretton and W. B. C. Lister’s typescript, Starke file, John Murray archive, National Library of Scotland. 35. Moskal, “Politics”, p. 150.

5 The Politics of Adventure Theories of Travel, Discourses of Power Ali Behdad

This chapter1 explores the politics of European adventure in the Middle East with specific focus on the French tradition and, in particular, the prefatory remarks of French travellers from three distinct historical periods. The aim of the chapter is to elaborate how the notion of travel as adventure is transformed in and between the broad historical periods of the late seventeenth century, the late eighteenth century, and the mid-nineteenth century. The premise is that each period is marked by a particular kind of adventure—the first by the exotics of adventure, the second by the science of adventure, and the third by the commerce of adventure. Beginning with the late seventeenth century, my examples are Jean­Baptiste Tavernier’s Les six voyages en Turquie et en Perse (1681) and Jean Thévenot’s Voyage du Levant (1656). In these writings, the Orient is presented as exotic and different, making it an object of European curiosity. But although the exotics of adventure, expressed in these narratives through curiosity, might embody a desire for domination, such desire is mostly a fantasy when the places visited, such as Persia and Turkey, are empires themselves. Moving on to texts from the late eighteenth century, such as Claude Etienne Savary’s Les lettres sur l’Egypt (1785–86) and Constantin-Francois de Volney’s Voyage en Syrie et en Egypte (1787), it is clear that the science of adventure predominates. In other words, here is a critical shift from fantasy to rationality, from exoticism to systematic knowledge. So while the seventeenth-century narratives represent the Orient at large as a phantasmagoric land of eroticism and romance, the eighteenth century’s travelogues view a more geographically precise Middle East as a field for scholarly exploration and pedagogic practice. Furthermore, there is a shift in the object of study: Persia and Turkey are abandoned in favour of the Arab world, specifically Egypt, Syria, and the Holy Land, places that had been colonized by the Ottoman Empire, because the Arab world’s archaeological and historical sites offered subjects for scientific contemplation. These discursive differences, I argue, point to a critical shift in early Orientalism from an imaginary and apocryphal discourse to a rational and scientific discourse. My examples for the middle of the nineteenth century are Gerard de Nerval’s Voyage en Orient (1843) and Gustave Flaubert’s Notes de Voyage

The Politics of Adventure  81 (1849–50). In these writings, the commerce of adventure now predominates: tourism as the new, or modern, form of travel makes adventure a powerful commercial enterprise. In the case of these mid-nineteenth-century travellers, there is little that is exotic or scientific about the Orient since the Middle East has become extensively explored and colonized by Europeans. The writings of these nineteenth-century travellers point to a discursive shift from science to play, from arduous exploration to easy pleasure. This is not to suggest that Orientalist adventure became less political, or less implicated in colonial relations of power. Rather, my argument is that a new form of commercial colonialism becomes dominant in the mid-nineteenth century. In the light of recent theories of travel, it is my contention that the study of the notion of adventure in these texts necessarily involves the politics of European colonialism and the particular ways in which discourses of travel are implicated in relations of power.2 Travel and adventure are not static terms, and consequently it becomes necessary to discuss them within their particular historical contexts. This is not to suggest that there is a causal relationship operating between the historical periods, but rather that the shift from one set of discursive relations to another be seen as a rupture that is historically over-determined and politically specific. I am interested, on one hand, in the particular theories and questions of travel that each set of travellers puts forth: what motivates the Europeans’ desire for travel and adventure, and what are the aims of their representations of the Orient? On the other hand, I wish to explore the political implications of the shift in the theories of travel that distinguishes each set of travellers. What are the historical and political circumstances that enabled these discursive shifts? How, for example, does the move towards a more rational and ‘objective’ view of the Orient affect Orientalism as a discourse of power in the late eighteenth century? And, how do the discourse and practice of tourism enable a new relation of power between Europe and the Middle East in the nineteenth century? The Late Seventeenth Century— The Exotics of Adventure In France, the advent of Orientalism took place in the second half of the seventeenth century with the rise of mercantilism and the expansionist policies of Colbert, Louis XIV’s Minister of Finance. The building of the French mercantile fleet, the establishing of overseas trading companies, and the broad financing for foreign journeys all enabled the conditions and interests for exploration abroad, which in turn served the state’s new economic interests. As Pierre Martino has remarked, “the Orientalist/colonialist movement becomes more carefully thought through and persistent with Colbert: as much as he encouraged the efforts of travellers in the Muslim Orient, he also created and backed large commercial enterprises”.3 Not only did Colbert

82  Ali Behdad establish many colonial companies (such as the Compagnie de la Chine in 1660, the Compagnie des Indes Orientales in 1664, and the Compagnie du Levant in 1670), he also financed French travellers to go to the Orient, Africa, and the New World. He even helped these travellers to publish their travelogues in order to inform the public about the non-European world. After the mid-seventeenth century, travel literature thus became a major literary genre in France. To give an idea of the growth of interest in this genre, suffice it to say that in the eighty years between 1665 and 1745, at least 150 relations de voyage appeared in France, a substantial percentage of all books published during that period. While the prosperous economic system of mercantilism provided travellers, missionaries, and ambassadors with the means to make the voyage en Orient in the seventeenth century, the discursive practices of the travellers and the imaginary representations by writers in France created a cultural space in which the emerging colonial power reflected upon its political relation to the Middle East. As France’s plan of colonial expansion grew with the work of figures like Colbert, Nicholas Fouquet, John Law, and André Brue, so did the travelogues and other representations of the Middle East. Turning to a particular example of the articulation of the desire for adventure in a seventeenth-century travelogue, Thévenot begins his Voyage du Levant by contextualizing his “desire to travel” in terms of the historical changes that engendered the afore-mentioned burst of travel literature. The following extensive passage exemplifies the seventeenth-century theory of travel: The desire to travel has always been quite natural among men; [but] it seems to me that this passion has never incited them so strongly as it has in our days. The great number of travellers who cross paths in all parts of the world sufficiently supports this hypothesis, and the volume of travelogues that have appeared over the past twenty years leaves no doubt about it: there is no one who is drawn to beautiful things, who is touched by what he learns from them, and very few who, if they were not held back by pressing attachments at home, would not want to witness and observe such things themselves. It is these beautiful relations that made me first think about travelling, and since in the year 1652, I did not have any considerable business that prevented me from leaving, I decided to satisfy my curiosity by following the movements that these relations had inspired me to undertake.4 Although the desire to travel is viewed as a natural phenomenon, the origin of this desire is travel literature, and Thévenot quickly acknowledges the mediated nature of his passion, or curiosity, to see other worlds: it is his reading of the belles choses of recent travellers that has given him the idea to travel in the Middle East. Adventure is a mediated phenomenon: there is

The Politics of Adventure  83 always already an inter-text (that is, another travel narrative) that informs every traveller’s desire. But the effect of this mediation is here described as curiosité, a word that signifies a lack of serious interest in the Orient. The belles choses of other travellers inspire Thévenot to satisfy his curiosity, he points out. For, unlike later travellers of the eighteenth century, Thévenot has no professional or pedagogic interest in travelling. The seventeenthcentury adventurer travels for the pleasure of seeing other worlds, so places must be marvellous and unknown to interest a man of leisure like Thévenot. What characterizes the seventeenth-century adventurer is an exoticist mode of travel, and his desire for difference is revealed in the frequent appearance of terms such as: le merveilleux, l’inconnu, and la curiosité in seventeenthcentury travelogues. To probe the political implications of this desire to explore and capture the exoticism of cultures outside Europe, we might consider the beginning of another travelogue, Tavernier’s Les six voyages en Turquie & en Perse: One cannot travel in Asia as one would in Europe; trips are not undertaken at all hours of the day nor with the same ease. One does not find cars going every week from one city or province to another, and the countries are markedly different. In Asia, one sees regions that are entirely uncultivated and uninhabited; or one finds men who, either because of the harshness of the climate and the terrain, or because of laziness, prefer to live in poverty rather than work. There are vast deserts to be traversed, passage across which is dangerous because of lack of water and the crossings of Arabs. In Asia, one does not find inns that are orderly and well-run, or hosts who care to take travellers in and treat them well.5 At the beginning of Tavernier’s travel narrative he describes a crucial difference: one cannot travel in Asia as one might travel in Europe, the main reasons being that there are neither adequate means of transportation nor the safety and hospitality one encounters in Europe. A further crucial difference is that both the geography and the people of the Orient are the exact opposite of those in Europe. He describes towns that are uncultivated, depopulated, and deserted; people who are inhospitable, lazy, and violent; and a landscape that is arid, desolate, and dangerous. Tavernier’s remarks reveal the seventeenth-century traveller’s role as an observer and narrator of the Orient’s exoticism. Indeed, every European seventeenth-century travelogue emphasizes its cultural, political, and geographical differences, differences that marked the Middle East as exotic, the place where one finds one’s other. This is not just a lawless region consumed by its impetuousness and exhausted by an excess of sexual expenditure, but also the place of Europe’s desire. In the Orient, the adventurous traveller looked for a projected desire, the fantasy and exoticism he could not find in France.

84  Ali Behdad It is for this reason that a seventeenth-century traveller like Tavernier wrote not only travel narratives describing his voyages in the Middle East, but also accounts of the Sultan’s seraglio. For central to the production of an exotic vision of the Orient were the images of the harem, the inaccessible space of alterity onto which fantasies of power and eroticism were projected. In the seventeenth-century travelogue, a discussion of oriental sexuality and the portrayal of the harem was a topos obligé, as the traveller felt culturally and financially compelled to penetrate the secret realm of the seraglio and explore the topic of oriental sexuality for his French audience. The seventeenth-century traveller’s erotic vision of the harem is symbolic of France’s colonialist desire, a desire that would be realized more effectively in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A full discussion of how the desire to penetrate the sacred space of the harem sheds light on the ways in which seventeenth-century notions of adventure and travel were implicated in colonial relations of power is beyond the scope of this chapter. But let us consider Tavernier’s dedicatory note to Louis XIV in La nouvelle relation du serrail (1702) to elaborate a little further my point about the productive function of harem discourse in colonial relations of power. Tavernier writes: “It seems to me that all the kings of Asia and Africa are made for the sole purpose of one day becoming your tributaries, and that you are destined to rule the entire world.”6 This bluntly imperialist statement at the beginning of a text ostensibly about the erotic world of the harem speaks to the crucial political implications of such representations. Whence the French fascination with the sultan’s harem, the vision of women as captive figures in a secluded space, if not a political urge to dominate and colonize? It may be a coincidence that depictions of the harem and the rise of French colonialism occurred simultaneously during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, but it is nevertheless suggestive of a circulatory system of exchange between aesthetic responses to the Orient and political discourses of capitalism and mercantilism in France (which necessitated its colonialist policies). In other words, what made the institution of the harem so pertinent to seventeenth-century Orientalism and French expansionism was the harem’s simulacrum of the interrelation between the discourse of eroticism (male fantasies of domination) and colonialism (the political impulses of European power bent on expansion). The occidental world always confused the seraglio (the whole political organization of the oriental despot) with the harem (the women’s quarters). The seraglio, like the Orient itself, was a constructed phantasm that owed much of its existence to the French hegemonic impulse. Not only did images of the harem contribute to the cultural construction of the Orient as exotic, but they also provided a space of fantasy for the French colonization of Asia and Africa. What Tavernier wishes Louis XIV to become in essence is a kind of ‘Grand Seigneur’ who has political and economic sovereignty over his Asian and African slaves.

The Politics of Adventure  85 The Late Eighteenth Century— The Science of Adventure Although, as I have suggested, Orientalism was born in France during the second half of the seventeenth century, it was not until the end of the eighteenth century that systematic and ‘scientific’ investigations of the Middle East appeared. Until then, the discourse of Orientalism was largely confined to the court and salons and represented the Orient as a phantasmagorical land of exoticism and romance. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, however, an explosion of new interest in the Middle East occurred among French intellectuals, politicians, philologists, and philosophers. They viewed the Orient more professionally as a field for serious scholarly exploration and pedagogic practice. Among the large body of texts that exemplify this ‘oriental renaissance’ are two successful travelogues: Savary’s Les lettres sur l’Egypt and Volney’s Voyage en Syrie et en Egypte. What distinguishes these works from the previous travelogues of the Middle East is that the travellers volunteered to voyage to the region. Unlike their predecessors who went to the Orient either as missionaries or as representatives of the King, Savary and Volney travelled on their own initiative and viewed their journeys as self-educating enterprises. The secular idea of travelling which characterizes these journeys constitutes a discursive transformation that necessitates new relations with the other and new definitions and strategies for observation. In this section, I wish to consider the theoretical and political implications of the shift from exoticism to science in the discourse of French Orientalism. An adequate discussion of the forces that enabled this shift is beyond the scope of this chapter, but two major factors that helped mediate the shift from exoticism to science should be mentioned. Firstly, there was Enlightenment philosophy, with its emphasis on positivism and empiricism, which Johannes Fabian, in his seminal Time and the Other, and Mary Louise Pratt in her path-breaking book, Imperial Eyes, have convincingly mapped.7 Secondly, the Ottoman Empire and the Safavid monarchy in Iran were on the decline during the first half of the eighteenth century, creating the political vacuum the European colonization of the Middle East subsequently filled. Turning, then, to some of the specific discursive characteristics of the shift from the exoticism of adventure to the science of adventure, we can see that the late-eighteenth-century traveller felt compelled, for the first time, to contemplate the value of his journey, rationalize the consequent discursive practice, formulate new relations with the other, and define specific strategies to approach Middle Eastern societies. He viewed his journey as a serious educational experience, not a means of satisfying individual curiosity. Often, the Orientalist traveller began his narrative by pointing out the educational benefits of seeing foreign lands and the intellectual values of experiencing other cultures. This is how Savary and Volney begin their narratives, respectively:

86  Ali Behdad Travelling is man’s most instructive school. It is by travelling that he is able to know his fellow men; it is by living with other peoples, by studying their customs, their religion, their government, that he has a standard of comparison by which he can judge the customs, religion, and government of his country.8 By fortunate circumstances, I had become accustomed from a young age to studying. I had acquired the taste and even the passion for learning. My financial reserves seemed to offer me a new means of satisfying this taste and of opening my education up to a greater career. I had read and heard repeatedly that of all the means of refining the spirit and forming good judgment, travelling was the most efficient. I decided to plan a voyage: Syria especially, and Egypt, considered from the double perspective of what they once were and what they are today, seemed to me an appropriate grounds for making the political and moral observations to which I wanted to devote myself.9 In these passages, the journey to the Middle East is represented as a mode of ‘self-realization’: it is in the interest of the traveller alone that the Orient is brought under examination and presented as the proper field of observation. Travel is not just a search for the exotic and the erotic. Rather, it is an instructive activity that not only completes the traveller’s formal education, but also benefits the general public by raising awareness of the public’s own religion, government, and moral and cultural values. In other words, the desire to see the other, to know the other’s culture better, is a desire for self-recognition and self-realization on the part of the European. The more Europe learns about other cultures, the better it understands itself. The Orient still remains Europe’s other, but otherness is of interest to the lateeighteenth-century traveller as a serious subject to study, not as an object of curiosity. The traveller locates himself as the powerful enunciating subject invested with the authority to discourse about the other. In other words, the traveller is the savant who knows and has enough credentials to judge and make authoritative remarks about other people and cultures. It is for this reason that both Volney and Savary take pains in their prefaces to define themselves as men of knowledge. Above all, the prefaces make claims about who is speaking, or more precisely, the status of the traveller who holds the right to speak as such. Both Savary and Volney assert the necessary qualifications of the traveller. Whether presented as a piece of autobiographical information (as in the case of Volney, whose education, acquired taste, and passion have prepared him for the journey) or given as a piece of advice (as in Savary’s case), the traveller highlights his preparation for such an undertaking, acts that give him the authority to speak. Savary’s consultative remarks provide a good example of the genre of systematic preparation for travel:

The Politics of Adventure  87 Before beginning his travels, it is important that he have an extensive knowledge of geography and history. The first will situate the place which served as a theatre for great events. The latter will retrace those events in his memory.10 (LE ii) It is not a coincidence that Savary considers history and geography as the two fundamental bodies of knowledge necessary for travelling in the Orient, for Orientalism as a discursive practice became invested with geo-historical awareness in the late eighteenth century. A scientific study of the Orient requires knowledge of history and world geography, not just as a scholarly or technical prerequisite to a full understanding of Europe’s other but, more significantly, as a theoretical framework to locate ‘Orientals’, their history and culture, within the privileged western savoir as a whole. Geography and history provide the traveller with the tools to make a useful and accurate assessment of what he sees abroad. The knowledge of geography enables the scientific traveller to situate the Orient in spatial terms, while his historical knowledge allows him to locate it in time. Moreover, the traveller must know some oriental languages to draw accurate conclusions from his observation of other cultures. This is the indispensable criterion that Volney claims most of his precursors woefully lacked: Most travellers are busy studying antiquities rather than the modern state. Nearly all of them, hastily traversing the country, have neglected two important means of getting to know it: time and language. Without language, we would not know how to appreciate the genius of a nation’s character. An interpreter’s translation never has the effect of a direct dialogue.11 (VE 23) This passage is a remarkable example of how the new discipline of philology professionalized the practices of travel and adventure, and made them more systematic or ‘scientific’. Time and knowledge of oriental languages are viewed as necessary conditions to having a meaningful encounter with the other. Volney’s remarks also point to an anthropological interest in the other, one that attempts to go beyond the archaeological interest in oriental antiquity and the superficial observation of earlier travellers, missionaries, and businessmen. Unlike the quick and linguistically alienated view of earlier travellers, the late-eighteenth-century traveller is able to appreciate “le génie et le caractère d’une nation”, because he stays longer and knows the language, both necessary conditions for a direct experience of the Orient. Without some linguistic knowledge, the traveller’s hands are tied and the scope of his observations limited. The acquisition of languages and the extended stay enable the traveller to interact with the other more directly, and thus understand and know the object of study better. The knowledge of language, in sum, separated the amateur adventurer from the serious traveller.

88  Ali Behdad Ironically, however, the means of time and language do not bring the professional traveller any closer to the Orient than his seventeenth-century precursor. On the contrary, what is privileged in the scientific discourse of travel is distance. Both Savary and Volney emphasize the importance of aloofness from one’s object of observation. This strategy of observation is bluntly accentuated in both prefaces. Savary speaks of the need to approach the Orient “sans affectation” and not to place oneself “sur le devant de ses tableaux” in order to give weight to what the traveller ultimately exposes about the other (LE iii). Similarly, Volney cautions the traveller against the initial sense of wonderment and shock, and encourages a more distant and dispassionate relation to the other: Our first impression of new objects surprises us and throws our spirit into disarray. One must wait for this initial shock to subside and repeat the observation more than once, in order to be assured of its accuracy. To see well is an art that requires more practice than one would think.12 (VE 23) “The European”, as Edward Said has demonstrated in Orientalism, “is a watcher, never involved, always detached.” 13 It follows, then, that the European traveller surveys his object as a powerful observing subject, producing a similar Foucauldian effect to that of the doctor’s gaze or the surveillance of the panoptic warder. It is worth noting that Volney was actually trained as a medical doctor, a profession that perhaps contributed to his scientific approach to travel. His remarks point to a specific strategy of observation: an objective, calm, unaffected, and detached examination. Distance here means impartiality: Volney claims to speak of nothing but that which he has seen. More importantly, Volney’s notion of distance posits a binary and hierarchical relation between the traveller and the ‘Oriental’. The relationship between the observer (traveller) and the observed (‘Oriental’) is always oneway; he questions the other, yet is not interested in answering; he listens to the other, but does not offer his own tale. Such a strategy of observation is embedded in specific and concrete political and ideological concerns of late eighteenth-century Orientalism, a discourse that provided France the necessary knowledge for its colonial enterprise. In the binary oppositions of Occidental/Oriental, self/other, the first terms are always privileged, implying a relation of unequal power. The European is always the subject of knowledge and power, while the ‘Oriental’ is consistently construed as the object of institutional investigation. Because the traveller is the questioning and onlooking subject, his object of study is presumed to be in need of examination, correction, and ultimately colonization. The eighteenth-century traveller’s claim to absolute truthfulness and maximum objectivity also points to a discursive strategy by means of which autobiographical and empirical writing is presented. Let us consider Savary’s and Volney’s unyielding claim to total truthfulness:

The Politics of Adventure  89 Having become a citizen of the Universe, he will rise above partiality and opinion, and in describing cities and countries, his brushstrokes will be guided by the hand of truth. 14 (LE iv) Firstly, I required myself to talk about nothing but what I had seen there first-hand . . . In my account, I attempted to preserve the spirit I had brought with me in examining the facts: that is, an impartial love of the truth. I forbade myself any tableau of the imagination.15 (VE 23) What these travellers’ tenacious claims of objectivity and truthfulness point to is not merely a love for factual depiction of the Orient, as Volney claims, but rather the authorization of the discourse as an important strategy in the discursive formation of late eighteenth-century Orientalism. To represent autobiographical narratives as a scientific body of knowledge, as an unmediated discourse that embraces ‘truth’, requires the dissemination of the speaking subject. Savary’s and Volney’s insistence on complete objectivity, on an account free of any opinion and partiality, is in essence a strategic move to conceal their opinionated presence, to camouflage their enunciating roles in the production of discourse, and to diffuse their authoritative voices in order to solidify their positions as savants. In short, to be less of an author here means to have more of an authoritative discourse. Such an authorisation of discourse through the dispersion of the speaking subject and the autonomisation of the enunciating practice marks a new development in travel literature, namely, its crossing of what Foucault calls the “threshold of scientificity”.16 More than points of departure for the travelogues themselves, Savary’s and Volney’s prefaces constitute an introductory step toward a systematic, ‘scientific’ phase of travel literature. These prefaces, I have argued, introduce a number of formal criteria about the status of the traveller, define certain rules for unifying the traveller’s statements, suggest conceptual frameworks to understand the oriental other, offer methods of articulating the traveller’s observations, and propose new strategies for studying non-European societies, thus sketching a new model for approaching the Orient. The inscription of systematic ways of defining the concepts and the scientific methods of observing and writing about other cultures are precisely what give Orientalism of the late eighteenth century its status as an epistemologically accepted body of knowledge within the space of which the traveller can authoritatively produce his or her travel narrative. As such, the relationship between the traveller and the ‘Oriental’ becomes, in the late eighteenth century, a “relationship of power, of domination, of varying degrees of a complex hegemony”, to use Said’s words.17 Not only does the relationship between the traveller and the ‘Oriental’ replicate that of the coloniser and colonised, but the production of knowledge by the traveller implicates him in colonial relations of power. It is not an accident that Napoleon felt compelled to read Volney’s travelogue before he embarked

90  Ali Behdad on his “expédition d’Egypte”. The production of knowledge about the Orient by French travellers like Volney and Savary mediated France’s colonial project throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The Mid-Nineteenth Century— The Commerce of Adventure In the mid-nineteenth century, technological and political changes in France ushered in a new and dominant mode of travel to the Middle East: tourism. First, the development of steamships (which revolutionized travel on the Mediterranean) and the construction of railroad lines (which linked Middle Eastern cities) furnished western European travellers with a degree of comfort that was indispensable in encouraging them to make long journeys across the Orient. Second, the French occupation of Maghreb, the British presence in India and Egypt, and the ending of the Greco-Turkish conflicts in 1828, ‘stabilized’ the socio-political situation in the Orient, providing the necessary security for the tourist industry in the Middle East to grow. The improved travelling conditions and the presence of Europeans throughout the East made the oriental journey, once an arduous, demanding, and ambitious endeavour, an easier, less time-consuming, and more practical enterprise, thus generating a steady flow of European tourism to the Orient. To unpack the political and discursive implications of the radical shift in the meaning of travel from science to commerce, and from serious study to superficial engagement, let us consider Nerval’s melancholy reflections at the very beginning of his Voyage en Orient as an example: I do not know if you will take much interest in the peregrinations of a tourist who left Paris in the middle of November. It is a rather sad litany of misadventures, and a very poor description: a tableau without a horizon, without a landscape, where it becomes impossible to use the three or four scenes of Switzerland or Italy that we described before leaving: the melancholic reveries on the sea, the vague poetry of lakes, the alpine observations, and all this poetic flora of beloved, sunny climates, which leave the Parisian bourgeoisie feeling so bitterly wistful that they cannot go further than Montreuil or Montmorency.18 Nerval’s nostalgia for a time when ‘real’ adventure in unknown lands was possible, and his derogatory use of the word touriste, which appeared in the French language only in 1816, can be taken as signals of a genealogical discontinuity in the identity of the traveller, as well as a shift in the discourse of travel. Nerval’s remarks announce the gradual disappearance of the adventurous traveller who undertook the troublesome journey in search of new knowledge, romantic encounters, and exotic experiences. Unlike the travellers to the Orient from the two earlier periods, the mid-nineteenth-century

The Politics of Adventure  91 traveller has a more amateur and superficial relation to the other: he is neither a powerful subject of knowledge nor an adventurous explorer of the unknown. Nerval is less concerned about capturing the exotic than about the problem of his own belatedness. In contrast to Volney and Savary, who attempted to understand and make sense of the internal dynamics of oriental culture in order to gain ‘new’ knowledge about the other, Nerval melancholically acknowledges being limited to identifying the already defined signs of exoticism. Flaubert’s Notes de voyage introduces a new type of traveller, the tourist. While Nerval mourned his belatedness, Flaubert embraced his self­reflexively. Viewing his journey as a leisurely diversion from the familiar reality of home, Flaubert saw travel as a pleasurable liberation from the boredom of his daily European life. The emphasis on leisure is a common theme in his letters from Egypt: If you only knew the calmness around us and in what peaceful profundity one feels the spirit roaming—we laze around, we saunter, we daydream. I am getting fat in a revolting fashion. We travel slowly for the rest of our journey, not tiring ourselves and spending a long time watching everything that passes us on the Nile, sleeping a lot, fattening up like pigs, and having a charmingly ruddy tan.19 The belated nineteenth-century traveller is neither a heroic adventurer, like his romantic precursors, nor a serious explorer of cultural differences and empirical knowledge, like the eighteenth-century savant-traveller. The tourist is a pleasure-seeker who privileges the slowly unfolding scene over study. As a hedonistic traveller, he is a consumer of sights and a passive observer of the already seen. Such a disinterested and leisurely approach to the Orient, however, does not make the tourist any less invested in colonial relations of power. Even though belated French travellers like Nerval, Flaubert, and Loti complained about the disappearance of the exotic Orient and the “offensive intrusion” of European tourists, in their own journeys they fully participated in the new mode of colonialism. Flaubert’s notorious debaucheries in Egypt provide an obvious example of how “tourism prostitutes a culture, in the very bourgeois sense of money exchange”, to quote Susan Buck-Morss.20 Nerval’s preliminary reflections in Voyage en Orient are also remarkable as a critical reference to a new discursive formation, namely, the tour guidebook. As a belated traveller, arriving in the Orient at a time when it has already been thoroughly explored, studied, and colonised, Nerval is critical and melancholic about the nature of the new genre. He describes it as a poor form of representation, devoid of aesthetic consciousness, a prosaic picture without the poetic horizon of the travelogue and a vague narrative that lacks the heroic adventures of a romantic traveller.

92  Ali Behdad Critical though Nerval was of the new genre, the tour guidebook marked a significant shift in travel literature, one that served the current needs of the power structure that supported it. The guide is, above all, a discourse in which the statements and their speakers are dissociated. The disappearance of the author, the knowledgeable savant-traveller, means the emergence of the reader-user as adventurer. There is also a shift from narration to description in the guide; unlike the travelogue, there is no story that structures the movement in time and space. Finally, the guide is an excessively informational discourse, constantly renewing and expanding its content. One may even label it a ‘hysterical’ discourse, by which I refer to its excess of specification, almost to the point of informational ‘prattle’. As a product of the most advanced stage of Orientalism, the guidebook has an important ideological function in relation to the practices and strategies of power involved in European colonialism. First, the large body of Orientalist knowledge, once a heavy burden on the traveller’s shoulders, now presents itself as a helping hand, to be held by every traveller as a necessity. The discourse of the guidebook attests to the commercial stage of Orientalist knowledge in which methods of encountering and observing the other are systematically packaged in a book to be used in the field by every traveller, from the savant to the soldier, from the artist to the leisurely traveller. Second, as a discourse of travel, the guidebook is productive of the desire for adventure. The guide often predicts the realization of its reader’s fantasy as an immediate and possible reality. The journey to the Orient, once an experimentum crucis, in the words of Burton,21 is transformed in the guidebook into a leisurely tour of exoticism available to a wide range of readers, chockfull of pleasure, exhilarating experiences, and picturesque encounters—encounters that are produced by the tourist. In short, the guidebook re-awakens the desire for oriental exoticism at a time when European colonialism had already made the Orient a familiar space. Notes 1. I wish to thank the organizers and the audiences at the following conferences where I presented various versions of this chapter: “Mobilis in Mobile International Conference on Studies in Travel Writing”, University of Hong Kong, July 2005; “Beyond Borders II: An International Conference on Art, Literature, and Travel,” National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, May 2000, and “Abenteurer als Helden der Literatur”, Bonn, Germany, February 2000. I also thank Guilan Siassi for her thoughtful and careful translations of French quotations in this work. 2. See, for example, Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage, 1978) and Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (New York: Routledge, 1992). 3. “[A]vec Colbert, le movement [Orientalist/colonialist] devient plus réfléchi et plus persistant: de même qu’il encourageait les efforts des voyageurs dans l’Orient musulman, il créait et soutenait de grandes compagnies de commerce.” Pierre Martino, L’Orient dans la literature francaise au XVII et au XVIII siècle

The Politics of Adventure  93 (Paris: Hachette, 1906), p. 44. A fuller discussion of Colbert’s expansionist theories and a general survey of French Colonialism are beyond the scope of this chapter, but for a great account of Colbert’s political and economical influence, see Léon Deschamps, Histoire de la question coloniale en France (Paris: Plon, 1981). 4. “Le désir de voyage a toujours été fort naturel aux hommes, il me semble que jamais cette passion ne les a pressés avec autant de force qu’en nos jours; le grand nombre de voyageurs qui se rencontrent en toutes les parties de la terre prouve assez la proposition que j’avance, et la quantité des beaux voyages imprimés qui ont paru depuis vingt ans ôte toute raison d’en douter; il n’y a point de personnes qui aient inclinaison aux belles choses, qui ne soient touchées de celles dont ils instruisent, et il y en a peu, si ils n’étaient retenus par des attaches pressantes, qui ne voulussent eux-mêmes en être les témoins et les spectateurs. Ce sont ces belles relations qui m’ont donné la première pensée de voyager, et comme en l’année 1652, je n’avais point d’affaire considérable qui dût m’en empêcher l’effet, je résolus facilement de satisfaire à ma curiosité, en suivant les mouvements qu’elles m’avaient inspiré.” Jean Thévenot, Voyage du Levant (Paris: Librairie François Maspero, 1980), p. 31. 5. “Les voyages ne se font pas dans l’Asie comme dans L’Europe, ni à toutes les heures ni avec la même facilité. On n’y trouve pas de voitures ordinaires toutes les semaines de ville en ville et de province en province, et les pays sont fort différents. On voit dans l’Asie des régions entières incultes et dépeuplées, ou par la malignité du climat et du terroir, ou par la paresse des hommes qui aiment mieux vivre pauvrement que de travailler. Il y a de vastes déserts à traverser, et dont le passage est dangereux par le manque d’eau et par les courses des Arabes. On ne trouve pas dans l’Asie des gîtes réglés, ni des hôtes qui prennent soin de loger et de bien traiter les passants.” Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Les six voyages en Turquie & en Perse Vol. I (Paris: Librairie François Maspero, 1981), p. 39. 6. “Il me semble que tous les Roys de l’Asie, et de l’Afrique ne sont faits que pour être un jour vos Tributaires, et vous êtes destiné pour commander a tout l’Univers”. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Recueil de plusieurs relations et traitez singuliers & curieux de J. B. Tavernier, chevalier, baron d’Aubonne: Qui n’ont point esté mis dans ses six premiers voyages. Divisé en cinq parties . . .: Avec la relation de l’intérieur du serrail du grand seigneur (Paris, 1702). 7. Johannes Fabian, Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983); Mary Louise Pratt. 8. “Les voyages sont l’école la plus instructive de l’homme. C’est en voyageant qu’il peut apprendre a connaître ses semblables; c’est en vivant avec différents peuples, en étudiant leurs moeurs, leur religion, leur gouvernement, qu’il a un terme de comparaison pour juger des moeurs, de la religion, du gouvernement de son pays.” Claude Etienne Savary, Lettres sur l’Egypte, Vol. 1 (Paris: Imprimerie de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale, 1932), p. i. All page references will hereafter be given parenthetically in the text, prefixed by the abbreviation LE. 9. “Des circonstances heureuses avaient habitué ma jeunesse à l’étude; j’avais pris le goût, la passion même de l’instruction; mon fonds me parut un moyen nouveau de satisfaire ce goût, et d’ouvrir une plus grande carrière à mon éducation. J’avais lu et entendu répéter que de tous les moyens d’orner l’esprit et de former le jugement, le plus efficace était de voyager: j’arrêtai le plan d’un voyage . . . la Syrie surtout et l’Egypte, sous le double rapport de ce qu’elles furent jadis, et de ce qu’elles sont aujourd’hui, me parurent un champ propre aux observations politiques et morales dont je voulais m’occuper.” Constaintin-­Francois de Chassebeuf, dit Volney, Voyage en Egypte et en Syrie

94  Ali Behdad (Paris: Mouton, 1959), p. 21. All page references will hereafter be given parenthetically in the text, prefixed by the abbreviation VE. 10. “Avant de commencer ses voyages, il importe qu’il ait une connaissance profonde de la géographie et de l’histoire. L’une lui marquera la place qui servit de théâtre aux grands événements; l’autre les retracera dans sa mémoire.” 11. “La plupart des voyageurs se sont occupés de recherches d’antiquités, plutôt que de l’état moderne; presque tous, parcourant le pays à la hâte, ont manqué deux grands moyens de la connaître, le temps, et l’usage de la langue. Sans la langue, l’on ne saurait apprécier le génie de le caractère d’une nation: la traduction des interprètes n’a jamais l’effet d’un entretien direct.” 12. “Le premier aspect des objets nouveaux nous étonne, et jette le désordre dans notre esprit; il faut attendre que le premier tumulte soit calmé, et il faut revenir plus d’une fois à l’observation, pour s’assurer de sa justesse. Bien voir est un art qui veut plus d’exercice que l’on ne pense.” 13. Said, Orientalism, p. 103. 14. “Devenu citoyen de l’Univers, il s’élèvera au dessus de la partialité et de l’opinion, et en décrivant les villes, les pays, il remettra à la vérité le soin de conduire ses pinceaux” (LE iv). 15. “Je m’étais d’abord prescrit de ne parler que de ce que j’y ai vu par moimême . . . Dans ma relation, j’ai tâché de conserver l’esprit que j’ai porté dans l’examen des faits; c’est-à-dire, un amour impartial de la vérité. Je me suis interdit tout tableau d’imagination” (VE 23). 16. Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, trans. A. M. Sheridan Smith (New York: Pantheon, 1972), pp. 166–77. 17. Said, Orientalism, p. 5. 18. “J’ignore si tu prendras grand intérêt aux pérégrinations d’un touriste parti de Paris en plein novembre. C’est une assez triste litanie de mésaventures, c’est une bien pauvre description à faire, un tableau sans horizon, sans paysage, ou il devient impossible d’utiliser les trois ou quatre vues de Suisse ou d’Italie qu’on a faites avant de partir, les rêveries mélancoliques sur la mer, la vague poésie des lacs, les études alpestres, et toute cette flore poétique des climats aimés du soleil qui donnent à la bourgeoisie de Paris tant de regrets amers de ne pouvoir aller plus loin que Montreuil ou Montmorency.” Gérard de Nerval, Voyage en Orient, Vol. 1 (Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1980), p. 55. 19. Gustave Flaubert, Correspondance, ed. Youseef Naaman (Paris: Nizet, 1965), pp. 215–16, and p. 230. 20. Susan Buck-Morss, “Semiotic Boundaries and the Politics of Meaning: Modernity on Tour. A Village in Transition”, in New Ways of Knowing: The Sciences, Society, and Reconstructive Knowledge, ed. Marcus Raskin and Herbert Bernstein (Newark, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1987), p. 218. 21. Sir Richard Burton, Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah, Vol. 1 (New York: Dover Publications, 1964), p. 2.

6 Relocating Domesticity Letters from India by Lady Hariot Dufferin Éadaoin Agnew

In 1862, Lady Hariot Hamilton married Lord Alfred Temple-Blackwood, Marquess of Dufferin and Ava.1 Lord Dufferin was an Irish landlord and active in Parliament until he became disillusioned with Gladstone’s liberalism; subsequently he sought non-political or diplomatic employment overseas which led to several posts abroad, the two most notable being Governor-­General of Canada (1872–78) and Viceroy of India (1884–88). During both of these appointments his wife, a prolific letter writer, accompanied him. Lady Dufferin’s letters from India were written primarily to her mother, Catherine Anne Rowan Hamilton; they became the basis for the publications of her travels and were edited and published in two volumes under the title, Our Viceregal Life in India (1890).2 Lady Dufferin’s letters from India provide an interesting contrast to the travel writings of women such as Marianne North and Fanny Parks.3 Unlike these more intrepid and independent travel writers, Lady Dufferin appears to have been more willing to remain within the constraints of Victorian gender boundaries. As a traveller, she moves beyond the domestic sphere, but only to resituate such a sphere abroad, and at the centre of colonial society in India. Through an Austen-esque representation of the life of the British in India, Dufferin’s letters work to normalise colonial society, shaping it to the norms and values of English society at home; the unfamiliar and precarious colonial situation with its incipient fears and desires, in a contact zone fraught with inter-racial tensions, is made familiar for those at home through the description of ‘normal’ social and domestic routines. It is this relocation of the domestic and its relations with the project, and ideology, of British imperialism that distinguishes Dufferin’s letters from the travel writings of those women travellers who have been fêted in recent scholarship. The initial theoretical neglect in, for example, Said’s Orientalism was met in the 1980s with a celebratory reinstatement of women travellers throughout the British Empire. Attempts to recuperate women travel writers by Pat Barr, Mary Russell, and Marian Fowler positioned the female author as an autonomous adventuress seeking respite from the gender inequality of Britain.4 Such women were assumed to have sought freedom from patriarchy through their travels and were also attributed with feelings of empathy

96  Éadaoin Agnew for the colonial subjects they encountered. The proto-feminist argument situated female travel writers as less racist; they were set apart from the official empire-building activities of their male counterparts, and this appeared to exonerate them from acts of colonisation. However, post-structuralist deconstructions by Cheryl McEwan and Indira Ghose suggest that women were in fact actively involved in colonialism, albeit in a less straightforward manner.5 Sara Mills also opposed the implied passivity of women and worked to mobilise the agency of women travel writers by focusing on their negotiation of gender constraints as a means of representing and including masculinised and colonial discourses.6 But Lady Dufferin’s letters require a slightly different approach as she does not seem bent on liberating herself from patriarchy, and she is selfevidently colluding with colonialism. Her letters adopt a different tone, concentrating on private and domestic circumstances in the colonial society she inhabited. In this respect, she appears to remain within traditional gender divides, and while confined to “dwelling-in-travel”,7 she contributed directly to the colonising discourses of imperial India. The argument is that Lady Dufferin uses feminine discourses and spaces to enact colonialist power in India, providing her readers with an image of dominant subjectivity that does not disrupt British gender discourses. The Vicereine writes frequently of her children, their domestic routines, and social outings and relates the daily life of herself and her family: I will tell you how I spend the day, and then you will learn casually about some of my arrangements. His Excellency gets up pretty early to work, and I am generally ready at 8.30. We breakfast at 9 o’clock on the balcony outside my pink drawing room. (Papers, 15 December 1884, f.1) There are numerous descriptions of both British and Indian people that the Dufferins encounter; there are details of dress and decorum, along with the births, deaths, and marriages of those stationed in the subcontinent. Lady Dufferin writes about the same Anglo-Indian society that Rudyard Kipling made familiar in Plain Tales From the Hills, which was published in India during the Dufferin’s residence.8 These descriptions of domestic and social affairs were of interest to nineteenth-century readers as entertainment; the tittle-tattle of empire was not immediately connected to imperialist ideology and the wider colonial occupation, and yet this domestication of the spaces of colonial Anglo-India makes an important contribution to the consolidation of the British Empire. Just as Kipling’s depictions of Anglo-Indian society have surely been marshalled for evidence of an imperial ideology reflected in the popular fiction of the time, Dufferin’s letters show how an Austen-esque focus on the social and domestic is important to the idea of imperial expansion as it transports the idea of an ordered English society, with its embedded cultural values and codes, to the furthest corners of empire.

Relocating Domesticity  97 Indira Ghose argues that “[b]y entering the public world of travel, women transgressed gender norms that relegated them to the home”.9 But Ghose was not referring to travellers such as Lady Dufferin, who accompanied husbands in the furtherance of empire and for whom the usual topic of writing was the domestic. By the latter decades of the nineteenth century there was already a marked tradition of the female companion of the Indian Viceroy/Governor-General presenting her experiences in circulation or in print.10 So the public voice of the Vicereine would do nothing to challenge common acceptance of the privatisation of women’s spheres, even though it is her privileged position that provides the platform from where she commands an audience.11 Our Viceregal Life was evidently constructed to appeal to a middle- and upper-class British female readership, and Lady Dufferin exploits her public position indirectly to voice support for both colonialism and patriarchy. A popular nineteenth-century construction of the feminine ideal was the image of ‘the angel in the house’, and women who travelled were generally considered to have transgressed the social codes that would confine them to the domestic sphere. But peripatetic women authors were not always seeking the potentially dangerous freedoms that this transgression implied. Mills explains that women travellers, although situated outside the home, could still display all the characteristics of those women who remained within the domestic sphere.12 Indeed, the “two spheres” argument has been shown to be a false dichotomy as women were invariably involved in relations with men (and women) across the two spheres, and through such relational contact were at least complicit in what happened in the public sphere. As Homi Bhabha suggests, domestic spaces become “sites for history’s most intricate invasions. In that displacement, the borders between home and world become confused; and, uncannily, the private and the public become part of each other”.13 In India, Lady Dufferin remained substantially and selfconsciously within the social delegation of nineteenth-century femininities by representing and replicating British ideals of womanhood and domesticity—at least as far as her own class and society were concerned. This goes beyond remaining confined by an ideal, as she is actively promoting it and the ideologies implied by it. As Elizabeth Langland suggests in Nobody’s Angels, power can be even more effective when it appears inconsequential and insignificant,14 and in Lady Dufferin’s travel writing, the colonising structures of Anglo-centric superiority are frequently disguised by the seemingly apolitical tone and subject matter. In concert with the conduct books of the Victorian age, Lady Dufferin described the construction and consolidation of a dominant social group through the foregrounding of middle- and upper-middle-class British femininities, even at such a distance from their site of origin. While in India, she continues to support Victorian values and social norms, and in transposing these to colonial society, the discursive effect is one of supporting a predominant imperialistic ideology.

98  Éadaoin Agnew Lady Dufferin’s model of late-Victorian womanhood was surely found in the public image of the Queen, as exemplified in the following eulogy to the imperial matriarch: [Y]our Majesty, with true womanly sympathy, has comforted the wounded and the afflicted, helped the fatherless and the widow, and succoured the desolate and the oppressed. By the example you have set your people as a wife and a mother, your Majesty has enhanced the charms of English domestic life, and brought closer to our hearts the sacred meaning of “Home”.15 This hagiographic address clearly outlines the ideals of late nineteenth­century British femininity as epitomised by the ‘mother’ of the British nation. In emulation of Queen Victoria, Lady Dufferin created her own sense of authority and autonomy without detracting from the expected devotion to her home, husband, and children. The dominant values of femininity that permeated Victorian culture and literature presented women as the moral centre of society, responsible for household and family. In turn, the British ideal of family was constructed as the nucleus around which a successful society revolved; this concept is defined in the first lines of the popular Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. The opening passage suggests that the role and responsibility of the housekeeper should then mirror those in the (masculine) public sphere: As with the Commander of an army, or the leader of any enterprise, so it is with the mistress of the house. Her spirit will be seen through the whole establishment; and just in proportion as she performs her duties intelligently and thoroughly, so will her domestics follow in her path. Of all those acquirements, which more particularly belong to the female character, there are none which take a higher rank, in our estimation, than such as enter into a knowledge of household duties; for on these are perpetually dependent the happiness, comfort and well-being of a family.16 The power and responsibility of domestic space was consistently evoked in such nineteenth-century tracts, and by extension the significance and superiority of the Anglo-centric home, buttressed by the parallel between home and state, was emphasised; it was this model of domestic order that was transported to the colonies. The various travel guides women consulted, such as Steel and Gardiner’s The Complete Indian Housekeeper and Cook, reiterated the political aspect of the domestic space: “We do not wish to advocate an unholy haughtiness; but an Indian household can no more be governed peacefully, without dignity and prestige, than an Indian Empire.”17 As with Mrs Beeton, Steel and Gardiner simultaneously domesticate the role

Relocating Domesticity  99 of woman while locating the function of the household within the wider public discourse of empire. The explicit comparison of home to empire asserted the importance of maintaining home-grown British ideals and standards, while the pedagogical nature of domestic texts constructed the home as a vital component in any successful and civilised society. The creation of this superior domestic space required the construction of an inferior other; in Britain this was provided by the lower classes and in India by the indigenous people and particularly the women who had the most frequent contact with Anglo-Indian residents.18 The portrayal of idealised standards of femininity enabled women travel writers in the subcontinent to participate in the subjugation of those who differed from the norm. Langland explains how class was used as the marker of difference at home: In a gendered politics of power, middle-class Victorian women were subservient to men; but in class politics of power, upper-middle-class women cooperated and participated with men to achieve control, managing the cultural capital that secured their own prominence and authority in contrast to the working class and lower-middle-class. Ironically, the very signifiers of powerlessness in the gendered frame of reference became eloquent signifiers of power in a class frame.19 As Lady Dufferin travels around the various viceregal residences in India she documents her daily domestic and social routines; such seemingly innocent descriptions become pertinent when considered in terms of Langland’s analysis of domestic writing in Britain. Langland argues that such descriptions locate the middle-class woman as a key figure in erecting class barriers, in policing and maintaining borders and in contributing to a rhetoric that ‘naturalised’ difference, through justifying and perpetrating the status quo.20 In the colonies, both race and class are used to similar effect in the more complex power politics of gender and empire. Although women in the upper classes were subjugated to a dominant masculinity, their relative superiority provided motivation for maintaining class and racial power relations.21 Lady Dufferin’s aristocratic social position exploited the hierarchical nature of British rule to produce a self-sustaining superiority perpetuated through both race and class: The State Ball took place this evening. It was very pretty; crowds of people and yet the dancing seemed good, and all went off well. One poor lady had to be turned out, as her reputation was not quite up to the mark, and she had the folly to place herself in the Viceroy’s set of Lancers, so that it was impossible not to see her. She got the invitation by mistake, it being intended for another person of the same name. (Papers, 13 January 1887, f.3)

100  Éadaoin Agnew In India, the Vicereine takes care to maintain both racial and class divisions. Patrick Brantlinger argues that the esteem of the middle- and upper-class Victorians was validated at home by the working class and away by the ‘uncivilised’, and that in many respects racism functioned as a displaced or surrogate class system.22 However, in India the alignment of all subjugated peoples, through both class and race, solidified the position of the British ruling classes. The correlating characterisation of both the indigenous Indians and the British lower classes depicted both groups as childlike and in need of the upper-class western adult supervision. Anita Levy demonstrates how the various subjugated groups are conveyed to consolidate the sense of self for those in positions of power: Representations of the working class, along with those of the “primitive”, the insane, the criminal, and the “oriental”, took their place in a dialectic described by Edward Said in his ground-breaking study of Orientalism as one of “self-fortification and self-confirmation based on the constantly practised differentiation of itself [culture] from what it believes to be not itself”. Such representations, in other words, establish boundaries between the self and the other, culture and nature, male and female, middle class and lower class. By representing what it was not, the middle class defined precisely what it was and so secured its corporate identity.23 The British class system together with the discourses of colonialism were available to render the upper classes of British society as morally, physically, and intellectually advanced in a Darwinian sense; this led to the self­perpetuation of supremacy in all things moral, cultural, economic, social, and political. The increasing numbers of middle- and upper-class women who travelled to India, particularly in the latter half of the nineteenth century, could transpose their position of dominance over those in the lower classes to the indigenous people. The effect of this might well have been to increase segregation.24 The separation of racial spheres was assisted by the nineteenth century’s fervent replication of British domesticity, dress, and society in India. Margaret MacMillan interprets British women’s insistence upon wearing metropolitan dress and bringing furniture from home as a reluctant heroism.25 A more straightforward reading would regard this as a refusal to integrate with local culture. Women travellers went to great lengths to recreate an anglicised home on the subcontinent; they carried British trinkets, souvenirs, linen, and even numerous pieces of furniture in their luggage. Steel and Gardiner advised female travellers to personalise their Indian homes: It is well when you have selected a house to make a rough plan of it, showing doors and windows and sizes of rooms; so do not forget paper, pencil, and measuring tape. Carpets for the sitting-rooms and all

Relocating Domesticity  101 curtains must usually be taken, piano, small tables, comfortable chairs, knickknacks, ornaments (many of the latter packed in among your dresses), chair backs, tablecovers, something to cover the mantelpiece, and possibly a few pictures.26 The domestic domain in India was transformed by British travellers into a place of familiarity amongst so much that appeared unfamiliar. Both Lady Canning and her successor, Lady Dufferin, expressed a particular fondness for the governmental country house at Barrackpore where the grounds had been laid out in the style of an English country estate.27 The day-to-day lives and surroundings of many British women in India were constructed in emulation of those that they maintained at home, the metropolitan centre. This excluded the domestic cultures of their indigenous neighbours and, for readers at home, effectively inferiorised indigenous ways of life. Interestingly, as Nupur Chaudhuri explains, this exclusion of Indian culture did not extend to Britain, where women were eating curry and using Indian material for both dress and decoration.28 While Indian culture might be imported to England as evidence of Britain’s rich and extensive empire, the trappings and outward displays of Britishness were consciously and conspicuously projected in India as a means of promulgating British imperialism, at the same time normalising British presence in the colony. Throughout their four years in India the Dufferins resided, like many other British travellers and particularly during the summer, in the various hill stations in India. These sojourns provided the setting for many of Lady Dufferin’s letters, frequently portraying scenes that are redolent of her home culture. For example, she writes to her mother that she may even be forgiven for forgetting that she is in India at all: Please to remember that I am in India, for if you don’t keep that fact before your eyes, you will not find the following description of a flower show at all interesting. You will only imagine that I am in Newtownards29 and will wonder why I should tell you anything so commonplace. (Papers, 6 February 1885, f.1) Later the same day, Lady Dufferin attends a theatrical production of Shaw’s Pygmalion, thereby completing an emphatically British social programme. The Anglo-centric pastimes of the viceregal family are frequently documented and suggest little or no integration with indigenous culture. The culture of British superiority is so embedded in Lady Dufferin’s thoughts that she does not question her actions, the viability of integration, or the legitimacy of her presence within India. The power structures of imperial narratives are prevalent in self/other formulations in colonial travel writing, but in texts by women writers such as Lady Dufferin these structures can also be implied in the overwriting of local culture by a normalised and ‘nativised’ British presence. Like many women writers, she is not actively

102  Éadaoin Agnew promoting imperialism, yet she colludes with the racist culture it depends upon and is therefore implicated in what Laura Donaldson calls a “white solipsism”.30 Lady Dufferin’s letters do recount political events, although usually without expressing any opinion. She reinforces her husband’s political decisions and echoes his thoughts, and so the reporting of political activity is safely circumscribed by the Viceroy’s occupation; the texts of incorporated wives frequently contain descriptions of their husband’s activities, such as those lengthy explanations about ice-making the reader encounters in Fanny Parks’s text.31 In Lady Dufferin’s letters the political information provided for readers is delivered largely in relation to its effect upon the Viceroy. When Lady Dufferin does offer a political opinion, it is usually voiced through an inclusive expression, using the pronoun ‘we’ rather than ‘I’. A comparison between Lady Dufferin’s published and private writing reveals a reluctance to address political matters publicly. She explicitly states in an unpublished letter that parliament was a masculine domain, although she makes no such comment in her published writing (Papers, July 1885, f.2). Indeed, there are several instances where statements relating to politics have been edited from the published text. An illuminating example can be found following Lord Dufferin’s annexation of Burma. After the official takeover ceremony at the Palace of Mandalay in 1886, the Vicereine writes to her mother expressing an element of sympathy for the newly colonised people; this sympathy is then excluded in Our Viceregal Life (Papers, 18 February 1886, f.3). This elimination of potentially dissenting material further removes Lady Dufferin’s writing from that category of women’s travel writing which covertly incorporates masculinised topics. There is none of the anxiety of authority that Mills identifies in the narratives of women travellers; for example, in Fanny Parks this is apparent in the constant conflict between her apologetic tone and authoritative orientalist content.32 One of the most important political events during the Dufferin reign was the Burmese war, but Lady Dufferin’s reportage of the event is scant. The starkest instance occurs in her report on the events of the 20 October 1885: We breakfasted at 8 o’clock. At quarter past, Dufferin declared war with Burmah [sic], and at half past we were saying goodbye to the Somites who had come to see us off; the band was playing, the Gurkha guard was saluting, and I was trying to smile amiably, while I was really wondering how the horses would stand the 31 guns. They stood them admirably, and we were soon on our way down the tonga road, Dufferin saying “How delightful it is not to have anything to think of.” (Selections 226) The outbreak of war is dismissed in a sentence, and Lady Dufferin returns to the more immediate concern of the spectacle of the viceregal exit as the

Relocating Domesticity  103 couple depart for their tour, apparently without anything to occupy their minds. In Lady Dufferin’s letter, the Burmese war does not register as a political event, but this has nothing to do with feminist suggestions that the women of empire were less racist than men. It is simply because wives of the Viceroys offer no comment on current political affairs, especially where this might reflect on their husband’s decisions. Similar to Lady Dufferin’s refusal to comment on her husband’s action in Burma, Lady Canning’s letters do not disclose any personal opinions on the mutiny.33 The discursive constrictions of gender are not the only factor at work in Lady Dufferin’s letters. As the letters progress it emerges that the reality of the war really is of little concern to the Vicereine beyond the problems it imposes on her home-making: “the preparations for war have made the country so poor that I doubt whether we shall have any new house at all” (Papers, 22 April 1885, f.1). Although Lady Dufferin has little to say on the acquisition of land, she is most forthcoming on the spoils of war as domestic goods. We looked at the “Prizes.” Very poor prizes they are! Theebaw’s ladies were much too sharp for our soldiers, and managed to walk off with everything. There is positively only one jewel, and that is French. It is a necklace of small diamonds and rubies, and an ornament for the hair in the shape of a peacock, to match; one very big, but bad emerald, and three large good ones; that is absolutely all we could find worth sending to the Queen . . . We wanted to choose something for the Princess of Wales, but there is nothing. We shall profit indirectly by this conquest for we shall get carpets and chandeliers and mirrors for the new Government house at Simla, and a few pieces of nice China and two handsome Siamese mirrors for the Calcutta House, which hitherto has been sadly destitute of ornament. (Papers, 15 February 1886, f.3) The naked desire for oriental trophies is no less imperial because it is located within the feminised domestic. The Vicereine’s perception of the emblems as “prizes” disconnects them from the reality of the situation, detaches their meaning, and serves to modify any previous expression of sympathy. This view is also directly reminiscent of the massive thrust within nineteenthcentury colonisation to acquire and display—particularly in the metropolitan centre—the trophies of colonial exploration. Although Lady Dufferin’s spirit of acquisition is related to personal domestic gain rather than a political, didactic, or diplomatic motivation, it correlates with the endorsed public displays that were in vogue at the time, as explored by Thomas Richards in The Imperial Archive.34 The Vicereine constructs the domestic space as a representation and microcosmic reflection of the objectification and acquisition of the East. But her approach to India was not entirely confined to the domestic realm; the Vicereine also utilised the philanthropic mode available to

104  Éadaoin Agnew women of her class. At the request of Queen Victoria, Lady Dufferin established the National Association for Supplying Female Medical Aid to the Women of India.35 Although the fund produced many positive results, it can also be viewed as part of a larger imperial project in which many British women could acceptably become engaged. Antoinette Burton examines the production of a ‘civilising mission’ which philanthropic work toward Indian women opened up for British females: Throughout contemporary middle-class feminist discourse “the Indian woman” served as evidence of British feminists’ special imperial “burden”. Despite both their genuine concern for the condition of the Indian women and the feminist reform activities of prominent Indian women during this period, many middle-class British feminists viewed the women of the East not as equals but as unfortunates in need of saving by their British feminist “sisters”. By imagining the women of India as helpless colonial subjects, British feminists constructed the “Indian Woman” as a foil against which to measure their own progress.36 Burton demonstrates how British women sought to impose metropolitan ideas of domesticity and medical care upon the Indian people and how such philanthropic motivations became the thrust of women’s imperialism through the mutual focus upon moral responsibility. As Burton argues, western women tended to perceive eastern women as the same, but lacking. The indigenous women’s anomalous approach to feminised spaces was perceived as evidence of their corruption, a result of heathen or immoral practices. Indian women were located within, and yet outside, the nineteenth-­century sociological view of the essentialities of human nature and femininity. This idea is continually constructed in British women’s writing through the depiction of Indian women as their “sisters”. Lady Dufferin uses this label frequently when she is writing of her medical fund: I found that although certain great efforts were being made in a few places to provide female attendance, hospitals, training-schools, and dispensaries for women; and although missionary effort had done much, and had indeed for years been sending out pioneers into the field, yet, taking India as a whole, its women were undoubtedly without that medical aid which their European sisters are accustomed to consider as absolutely necessary.37 This use of the term “sisters” is a recognised trope within nineteenth-century colonialist depictions. The biologically-inclusive term was perceived by the initial wave of feminist recuperators as an expression of sympathy. Such feminists utilised women’s writings from the colonial period as examples of how women were aligned with the colonised subject through patriarchy, sharing a history of oppression, marginalisation, objectification, and

Relocating Domesticity  105 domination. While it is indisputable that women have undergone similar experiences of subjugation, this does not create a universal sisterhood. The works of Gayatri Spivak, Kristen Peterson, and Chandra Mohanty have denied the existence of such gender communities in the face of racial politics. Rosemary Marangoly George argues that “there were few if indeed any moments when alliances between genders overshadowed racial solidarity”.38 For Lady Dufferin there was also class solidarity to be considered.39 Although the Vicereine aligns herself at times with eastern women, it is apparent throughout her letters that she does not consider them in the same category as western women. The familial term is merely appropriated as an empathetic expression to suggest the Indian woman’s ability to change in accordance with British advocations. Lady Dufferin uses the conception of sisterhood when writing of her philanthropic fund. Interestingly, the preceding quotation does not appear in the Vicereine’s British publications; it was originally published in an Indian journal directed at an indigenous audience from whom she attempted to solicit funds. Lady Dufferin’s letters are evidence that while women travel writers may be confined to feminine realms, this does not preclude their involvement in the production of imperialist discourses. Gender restrictions did not prevent female authors from contributing to and reinforcing the general strategies of British imperialism. Although no simplistic gender binarism can be detected in the narratives of colonial history, women who travelled were clearly placed in different situations, and from different standpoints and backgrounds they were able to differently articulate the dominant imperialist discourses of their day. Notes 1. Hariot Georgina Hamilton Temple-Blackwood (1843–1936), Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, Vicereine of India from 1884–1888, was born in County Down, Northern Ireland. 2. Lady Hariot Dufferin, Our Viceregal Life in India: Selections from My Journal, 2 vols. (London: John Murray, 1889)—all subsequent references indicated parenthetically in the text with page number and abbreviated title Selections. The Dufferin family’s official and private papers are archived in PRONI; the Lady Dufferin collection contains her photographs, correspondence, and all material relating to her medical fund. “Dufferin Papers”, Public Records Office of Northern Ireland. Further references will be given parenthetically in the text with page number and abbreviated title Papers. 3. Marianne North, Recollections of a Happy Life: Being the Autobiography of Marianne North, 2 vols, ed. Mrs John Addington Symonds (London: Macmillan, 1892); Fanny Parks, Wanderings of a Pilgrim in Search of the Picturesque, ed. with notes and an introduction by Indira Ghose and Sara Mills (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001). Originally published as Wanderings of a Pilgrim in Search of the Picturesque, During Twenty-Four Years in the East; With Revelations of Life in the Zenana, 2 vols. (London: Pelham Richardson, 1850).

106  Éadaoin Agnew 4. The texts in mind are Pat Barr’s The Memsahibs (London: Secker & Warburg, 1976), Mary Russell’s The Blessings of a Good Thick Skirt (London: William Collins Sons & Co, 1988), and Marian Fowler’s Below the Peacock Fan: The First Ladies of the Raj (London: Penguin, 1988). 5. The texts referred to are Cheryl McEwan, Gender, Geography and Empire (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000) and Indira Ghose, Women Travellers in Colonial India: The Power of the Female Gaze (London: Routledge, 1991). 6. Sara Mills, Discourses of Difference (London: Routledge, 1991). 7. See James Clifford, “Traveling Cultures” in James Clifford, Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988), 17–39 (at p. 26). 8. Rudyard Kipling, Plain Tales from the Hills (London: Penguin, 1990). This collection was originally published in the Civil and Military Gazette 1886–88, the last two years of the Lord Dufferin’s reign as Viceroy. The regal figurehead makes an appearance in stories such as “Tod’s Amendment”; although the Viceroy is unnamed in Kipling’s story, it demonstrates the proximity of their social circles. 9. Ghose, Women Travellers, p. 12. 10. Edith Lytton, Charlotte Canning, Mary Curzon, and Emily Eden are featured in Marian Fowler’s Below the Peacock Fan, in which Lady Dufferin is, however, not included. 11. By this time there was an official viceregal printing press which transcribed Lady Dufferin’s letters to her mother and bound them in journals, of which there is more than one copy suggesting an immediate circulation even prior to publication. 12. Mills, Discourses, p. 34. 13. Homi Bhabha, “Introduction: Locations of Culture” in Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge, 1994), 1–18 (at p. 9). 14. Elizabeth Langland, Nobody’s Angels: Middle-class Women and Domestic Ideology in Victorian Culture (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 1995), p. 8. 15. The Englishman (Calcutta: S. N. Banerji, “Englishman” Press, 1887), p. 26. The excerpt is from an oration by the European and Anglo-Indian Defence Association in praise of Queen Victoria during the subcontinent’s celebration of her Golden Jubilee. 16. Mrs Isabella Beeton, Beeton’s Book of Household Management, 3 vols. (London: S. O. Beeton, 1839), vol. 1, p. 1. 17. Flora Annie Steel and Grace Gardiner, The Complete Indian Housekeeper and Cook . . . By Two Twenty Years’ Residents (Edinburgh: F. Murray, 1890), p. 9. 18. There are many nuances of othering, and Lady Dufferin’s text does not employ one homogenous system of binary opposition: The one discussed here is only one of several strategies used. 19. Langland, Nobody’s Angels, p. 37. 20. Langland, Nobody’s Angels, p. 21. 21. The Dufferin’s conservation of hierarchical constructs was also motivated by a desire to sustain the power structure of British colonisation in Ireland. The viceregal couple expressed concern over the increasing precariousness of the superiority of their Protestant class, and Lord Dufferin linked the Irish Home Rulers to the Indian National Congress. 22. Patrick Brantlinger, Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830–1914 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988), p. 84. 23. Anita Levy, Other Women: The Writing of Class, Race and Gender, 1832–1898 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991), p. 24.

Relocating Domesticity  107 24. Ballhatchet suggests that, in some respects, the increase in women travellers in India actually increased the segregation of the nation. See Kenneth Ballhatchet, Race, Sex and Class Under the Raj: Imperial Attitudes and Policies and Their Critics (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980), p. 5. 25. See Margaret MacMillan, Women of the Raj (London: Thames and Hudson, 1998). 26. Steel and Gardiner, The Complete Indian Housekeeper, p. 199. 27. See Charlotte Canning, A Glimpse of the Burning Plain, ed. Charles Allen (London: Michael Joseph, 1986), p. 34 and Papers, 22 December 1884 f.1. 28. Nupur Chaudhuri, “Shawls, Jewellery, Curry and Rice in Victorian Britain”, in Western Women and Imperialism: Complicity and Resistance, ed. Nupur Chaudhuri and Margaret Strobel (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), p. 232. 29. In the published version Lady Dufferin uses County Down instead of the more localised town name of Newtownards. 30. Laura E. Donaldson, Decolonising Feminisms (London: Routledge, 1993), p. 1. 31. See Parks, Wanderings of a Pilgrim (2001), p. 404ff. 32. See Mills, Discourses, p. 82ff. 33. See Charlotte Canning, A Glimpse of the Burning Plain. 34. Thomas Richards, The Imperial Archive: Knowledge and the Fantasy of Empire (London: Verso, 1993). 35. This establishment was often known as the Countess of Dufferin Fund. Its purpose was to relieve the suffering of illness and child bearing of Indian women. Her plan was to recruit and train women doctors, nurses, and midwives to provide medical advice and attendance under conditions which respected patients’ wishes. With gentle, persistent authority she presided over countless fund-raising meetings; by the time she left India her scheme had been adopted in every province, and there were Countess of Dufferin hospitals and dispensaries for women in all the principles states. This great act of constructive charity was commemorated by Rudyard Kipling in his “Song of Women”. 36. Antoinette Burton, “The White Woman’s Burden”, in Western Women and Imperialism: Complicity and Resistance, ed. Nupur Chaudhuri and Margaret Strobel (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1992), p. 137. Although Lady Dufferin can not be classified as one of the British feminists Burton’s essay concentrates upon, the examination remains largely relevant to the philanthropic work of the Vicereine. 37. Lady Hariot Dufferin, The National Association for Supplying Medical Aid to the Women of India, reprinted from the April Number of the Asiatic Quarterly Review by Permission (Calcutta: Thacker, Spink and Co., 1886). Call number D/1071/J/D/32. 38. Rosemary George, “Homes in the Empire, Empires in the Home”, Cultural Critique 26 (1993–4): 95–127 (at p. 115). 39. Lady Dufferin is at the centre of the upper echelons of British society in India; this position requires her to support the Viceroy’s political and social standing through organising and attending events, social engagements and ceremonies with the upper ranks of both British and Indian society. In a manner that is reminiscent of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s letters, Lady Dufferin reveals an affinity for the upper classes and castes.

7 Translating Culture Harriet Martineau’s Eastern Travels Lesa Scholl

The translator . . . is also a traveller, someone engaged in a journey from one source to another.1 It is good to know something of the customs of different people in order to judge more sanely of our own, and not to think that everything of a fashion not ours is absurd and contrary to reason, as do those who see nothing.2 Translators and travel writers carry the same burden to enhance cross-cultural understanding, and both translate linguistically and culturally to bring this understanding to their home culture. Mary Louise Pratt refers to the “use of translation as a . . . metaphor for analyzing intercultural interactions”,3 and Susan Bassnett politicises this translation-travel axis: While an account of a journey may seem to be innocent, there is always an ideological dimension, for the traveller is approaching his or her material from a particular perspective . . . the texts are written for a readership that may be assumed not to have the same access to the culture being described.4 Travel and translation practices and texts render a foreign cultural context accessible to a home culture. I use the term “cultural contexts” as opposed to “cultures” in order to fully acknowledge the heterogeneous nature of culture in any one place: the context includes cultural streams that exist either in the home culture of the writers or in the source culture about which they write. While Bassnett proposes a link between travel and translation by seeing translation as a journey, I extend this idea further by defining Harriet Martineau’s travel writing as a type of translation—an essential one for nineteenth-century Britain, when other cultures and places were regularly seen through the distorted lens of empire. I argue that within a multitudinous discourse on the East, Martineau attempted, and to a limited extent succeeded, in Eastern Life, Present and Past (1848) to recognise the subjectivity of Egypt’s cultural context. She translated that context as best she

Translating Culture  109 could, allowing for the traveller’s personal struggle to comprehend the foreign through the challenge it presented to her own cultural lens. Martineau wrote Eastern Life after travelling with friends to various nations in the East in 1846. Her career as a travel writer had been launched almost a decade earlier with the controversial publication of Society in America (1837). On both sides of the Atlantic she had been criticised for her radical views on the role of women and slavery. In Eastern Life she gives an account of the culture and history of the East, as she perceived them through her encounter with the people and monuments of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Palestine. She has a distinct focus on the issues surrounding women and slavery, but with an ambiguous slant that reveals the cultural struggle she experienced. This is depicted predominantly in terms of her philosophical and religious beliefs, which are challenged by seeing the variations in eastern religion, and by visiting the landmarks of Judeo-Christian history and recognising their relation to ancient Egyptian religion. In the United States, the culture had been similar to the English culture to which Martineau was accustomed, but in the East the differences are more pronounced, increasing her cultural unease, and causing her to question her own beliefs, as she encounters what she considers their historical foundation, within a cultural context that is so different from her own. Domestication and Translation In Eastern Life there are many examples of Martineau’s need to domesticate and justify what she experiences in English terms. That is, she uses figures and tropes from an English cultural context to describe what she sees. In Martineau’s case, the idea of domestication is further complicated through the blurring of the domestic in reference to the home nation, but also, for women, in reference to the domestic hearth, which she explores in her discussion of the harem. Gentzler argues in Contemporary Translation Theories that the domestication of what is foreign can be likened to cultural imperialism.5 To some extent this applies here: Martineau’s ideas of her home culture are inadvertently, but inevitably, imposed on the Egyptian cultures to create meaning. But at the same time, this ideological construct works against the prejudice concerning difference by looking for cultural equivalencies. Ironically, as a result, there is a greater sense of foreignness, which is intensified by the way Martineau at times seems to force herself to sympathise. This appears more as a result of what she expects of herself as a traveller than of sincerity, with her consciousness of the foreign providing an interesting picture of the cultural tension she must negotiate. Martineau’s object is to paint a picture of life in the East, presenting, as she states in the 1875 preface to the second edition, “faithfully and vividly what [she] saw, and learned, and felt, and thought”.6 Her idea of faithfulness in presenting her experiences resonates with the translator’s goal of

110  Lesa Scholl fidelity to the original text. She even resists updating the second edition, as she does not approve of “authors, poets, essayists, philosophers, and, among the rest, travellers,—altering passages of their works to make them accord with the latest views or impressions of the writers”, as this would challenge the authenticity of the text.7 She argues that her text could not be altered because she “can answer only for what [she] witnessed”,8 giving a sense that she stands objectively outside her own analysis. Yet while this plea makes travel writing sound like a fairly dispassionate act, it is clearly not that simple: Martineau herself was changed considerably by her experiences, and thought it necessary to use the retelling of those experiences in an attempt to challenge her home culture—her target audience—just as she herself was challenged through the encounter. By writing about another place, such as Egypt, Martineau was actually able to discuss matters at home, but in a displaced manner. She could draw parallels between what was foreign and what was familiar: domesticating the foreign, but for the purpose of critiquing her own society, not merely to judge or devalue the source culture. Through her attempts to create understanding, she used the flaws she saw to open the eyes of the English to the failings in their own cultural context, both implicitly and explicitly mediating between the two cultures with the purpose of promoting her own political and moral beliefs. The position of women was fundamental to Martineau’s mission, as was the abolition movement. These are central issues in all of her travel writing, sometimes used as foils for each other. Translation theory provides an interesting perspective in assessing Martineau’s work, namely in the significance of the translators’ biases, and the way translators manipulate the way they present their adapted texts. It elucidates the burden she would have felt in writing about Egypt, first as a relatively independent Englishwoman fighting against the stereotypes of women and class in her society, and second as one indoctrinated by previous discourses of the East. Neither translation nor travel writing can be seen as a neutral dispatch from one culture to another. This might imply that the two cultures remain separated in their co-existence, aware of each other, but not interfering with the other’s structure. Walter Benjamin has argued in “The Task of the Translator” that it is not possible for one culture to understand another. In fact, he suggests that the original text is almost incidental to the translation, not necessarily because it is a deliberate departure on the part of the translator, but because the translator is unable to capture completely the essence of the original text. He provides two interesting metaphors: Unlike a work of literature, translation does not find itself in the centre of the language forest but on the outside facing the wooded ridge; it calls into it without entering, aiming at that single spot where the echo is able to give, in its own language, the reverberation of the work in the alien one, and, more pertinently:

Translating Culture  111 Just as a tangent touches a circle lightly and at but one point . . . a translation touches the original lightly and only at the infinitely small point of the sense, thereupon pursuing its own course.9 This assessment of translation resonates with the perspective that many travel writers are involved in a “conscious act of producing ‘meaning’ for the public from [their] personal experience . . . without any interest in, or recognition of, the Other’s subjectivity or culture”.10 On the contrary, it could be argued that translation and travel writing create a dialogue of effect and change between the cultures, as the writers need to reconcile their own structures and ideologies with what they learn, understand, and interpret from the other. Even though they have preconceived ideas, these ideas must be challenged and brought into question. Pratt expresses this idea through her emphasis on the “fractured” and “entangled” state of translation the translator’s attempt to render original meaning goes side by side with a judgemental recoding that assigns meaning from elsewhere . . . The customs being condemned are simultaneously honoured with explanations that acknowledge (translate?) their meaningfulness, their historical logic, specificity, and force.11 In the same way, the travel writer “experiences a variety of responses [to the source culture]—attachment, complicity, repulsion, sympathy—that complicate her stance of objectivity”.12 There is a sense of unease in the travel writers’ or translators’ positions as they encounter the source culture. Although they are bound to their own cultural heritage, and must view the other through those filters, Pratt points out that in the very act of looking through cultural filters, differences cannot be “glossed over” or “set aside”; rather, “they must be looked through . . . the successful translation will occur when translators place their own cultural imagination into question”.13 Furthermore, in spite of the feelings of the writer towards the source culture, that culture must be corrupted to some degree by the domestication of cultural symbols, creating a sense of familiarity (and therefore sympathy) for the foreign within the home culture. Therefore, by trying to process the material of the source culture in a way that the home culture will understand, translators or travel writers need to question their way of receiving and interpreting their experience. As Vladimir Ivir perceptively states: Translation is a way of establishing contact between cultures. One might even claim that cultural contact as such presupposes translation and that the exchange of goods of material and spiritual culture is not possible without translation. The reason for this is the fact that language and culture are inextricably interwoven and that the integration of an element into a culture (and into the conceptual framework of its

112  Lesa Scholl members as individuals) cannot be said to have been achieved unless and until the linguistic expression of that element has been integrated into the language of that culture. The tra[n]sference—in its literal, etymological meaning—of the linguistic expression is precisely an attempt to integrate elements of one culture into another.14 Therefore, translation is an active way of integrating and entangling cultures, forcing one into the other. Travel writing fulfils the same objective, and is possibly even more powerful because it can avoid the distance created by linguistic difference. Nineteenth-Century Cultural Education In the nineteenth century, travel and travel writing were enormously popular means of “participating in a process of cultural accreditation”.15 Travel was part of a well-rounded education; and translating foreign texts or writing about foreign societies could in many cases be seen as the ideological equivalent of bringing home mummies from Egypt or spices from India. Yet while this transportation of foreignness in souvenirs and travel writing might have been the goal of the (imperial) tourist, “the dupe of fashion”, ‘true’ travellers would deliberately go, Buzard claims, to other places “with open eyes and free spirits” in order to discover something new, an alternative to the already known.16 Rather than using travel to reinforce the superiority of his or her home culture, the traveller would even at times feel contempt for fellow countrymen met while overseas. According to Christopher Mulvey: A painful sense of self-identity marked these encounters with compatriots in foreign lands. The hostility of the traveller to his own kind was to some extent an expression of a curiously displaced sense of territoriality that overtook men outside their own country. This arose . . . from the traveller’s conviction that he understood. . . . The traveller saw into things. He could distinguish between the real and the false. He might criticise, or praise; others might not.17 This conviction caused the self-imposed exile from the home culture to be more pronounced, creating the necessary tension between the two cultures as he or she mediated between them. Martineau’s travel writing conforms to this pattern, as she struggles to understand the Egyptian culture, but necessarily imposes her preconceived ideas onto her experience. In the translation of a written text, just as in writing of an unfamiliar cultural context, there remains a gap between what is foreign and what is familiar, and it is left to the interpretation of the writer to mediate between the two. It is therefore Martineau’s understanding of, and positioning within, both cultures that arbitrates the effect of the text.

Translating Culture  113 Regardless of the sympathies that translators or travel writers have for the source culture, and no matter how hard they look at that culture with “a free mind and an open heart”,18 it is impossible for them to become entirely detached from their home culture. It is, in fact, the cultural heritage, formed predominantly by the home culture, which determines what is transmitted from one to the other: cultural heritage teaches the writer what to value. So it is important to focus not just on the source culture presented, but to take up Gentzler’s “target-orientated” or “prospective” approach: Why does one translate a text? Certainly not in order to merely imitate it in another language . . . Usually [one] does so in order to convey a message by way of a text, to someone whose culture and language differs from one’s own and thus prevent direct communication.19 This message changes and becomes more complicated when the writer is translating from a foreign language or culture. The power balance shifts, with the imposition no longer resting in the hands of the home culture, but in those of the mediators, who will have their own agenda for how and why they translate the text. Usually translators see their role as educating their home culture, and perhaps the source culture as well. This self-appointed mission was certainly true in Martineau’s case. She believed that it was her duty not only to educate her home culture, but to teach other travellers how to evaluate foreign societies. Resisting the advice of many to make her work: “moderate & popular”,20 she accepted that, as Valerie Sanders puts it: “unpopularity was . . . an occupational hazard”, and wrote what she considered her readership might usefully learn from her experiences.21 Martineau was considered a writer of extremely high moral integrity, yet she also knew how to use this reputation to her advantage in convincing readers of her point of view. In her mind, this manipulation of the public was not necessarily incongruous with her integrity; she no doubt saw it as necessary to the public good, as she felt readers needed to hear and believe the precise message she wished to relay. As Sanders points out, Martineau had an “unremitting conviction that she was right on every issue . . . and assumed that whatever she learnt was needed by the less able classes”.22 This suggestion of arrogance on Martineau’s part would imply that she had little hesitation in manipulating her text in order to teach her audience. However, she also knew that she had to be careful in how she conveyed her message, so that it would be received in the way she desired. If she was too harsh, too lenient, or too obvious in the parallels she made, her audience would reject her without question. Her readers needed to believe they were drawing conclusions for themselves, that they were the ones actually observing the source culture. Thus, Martineau has to appropriate invisibility—that “weird self-annihilation” of Lawrence Venuti’s translator, the “illusion of transparency”.23 In this way she could manipulate the perception of her

114  Lesa Scholl readers, while they had the sense that they were forming their own, independent opinions. Martineau needed to create a controversy between cultures strong enough to raise questions and create an ideological disturbance, but not so strong that the cords between them would be snapped. Slavery in the East In Eastern Life, Martineau mediates an Egyptian attitude to slavery that seems ambiguous, given that she is still an abolitionist. Arguably, the ambiguity is caused by her attempt to understand how slavery existed within Egyptian culture, as opposed to other parts of the world. The fact that all the slaves seen at the Egyptian markets were children is very quickly passed over with the comment that “they were intelligent and cheerful-looking”.24 Child slavery is not unusual to Martineau, but cheerful, intelligent slavery is. Much is made of the slaves’ appearance and their “business”, in a way that makes it sound as though they were free people working at the markets, rather than being sold (EL I: 98). Martineau even states that “the first aspect of Slavery is infinitely less repulsive in Egypt than in America” (EL I: 98). This way of presenting slavery was disturbingly common among travellers at the time, giving the impression that it was more acceptable in the East than elsewhere. Mrs Dawson Damar, writing just six years before Martineau, actually stated that she “saw none of the disagreeable objects which [the word slave] usually conjures up in the imagination from the descriptions one hears of slavery in other parts of the world”.25 Within the abolitionist discourse that Martineau participated in, there was a manipulative tension between what had been presented in earlier writing and what observers like Martineau and Damar saw for themselves. Living within the English middle and working classes had taught Martineau the importance of fighting for the causes of women and slaves, and the prominence of these moral issues is evident in her writings about other places: quite often her descriptions of the other culture seem secondary to her political and moral polemic. The two are interestingly mixed, for example, where she begins her description of the desert by claiming to finally understand the plight of Hagar when she was cast out there by her mistress—a seemingly incidental reference to a woman being treated poorly as a slave (EL I: 102). Another example is when she describes the Mahmoudieh Canal, but uses this description as a starting point both to critique the European view of Egyptian trade and to address a kind of slavery she sees among the ‘free’ people of Egypt: This is the canal which, as everybody knows, cost the lives of above twenty thousand people, from the Pasha’s hurry to have it finished, and the want of due preparation for such a work in such a country. Without tools and sufficient food, the poor creatures brought here by compulsion to work died off rapidly under fatigue and famine. Before the improvements of the Pasha are vaunted in European periodicals as putting

Translating Culture  115 European enterprizes to shame, it might be as well to ascertain their cost,—in other things as well as money;—the taxes of pain and death as well as of piastres, which are levied to pay for the Pasha’s public works. There must be some ground for the horror which impels a whole population to such practices as are every day seen in Egypt, to keep out of the reach . . . of government:—practices such as putting out an eye, pulling out the teeth necessary for biting cartridges, and cutting off a forefinger, to incapacitate men for army service. The fear of every other sort of conscription, besides that for the supply of the army, is no less urgent; and it is common practice for parents to incapacitate their children for reading and writing by putting out an eye, and cutting off the forefinger of the right hand. Any misfortune is to be encountered rather than that of entering the Pasha’s army, the Pasha’s manufactories, the Pasha’s schools. (EL I: 20–21) This is not to say that political priority made Martineau less sensitive to the culture she was visiting. On the contrary, being confronted with the way women and slaves existed within eastern culture, she was forced to address her preconceived ideas on the universal validity of her cause, which is perhaps represented in the way the slaves are presented as having greater liberty than ‘free’ people. Extending this idea, it could be argued that Martineau is trying to overturn the ideological construct in which the East is bound and the West is free; an innovation problematic within the long-standing discourse on the East, which appropriated the subject of abolition to argue for the rights of women and the working classes. In Egypt Martineau found it in some ways more difficult to sympathise with the culture than when she was in the United States. This is understandable, considering that the cultural differences were much more distinct, although she does seem to resist her own advice to have an open mind. It is possible that she expects more of the United States, given its pride in being a democracy, than of Egypt, which makes no such claim. To be fair to Martineau, it must be understood that as she is writing of her travels in the East, she is also trying to process and understand the differences for herself, between what she is experiencing and encountering and her preconceived ideas. In Eastern Life, Martineau’s cultural tension conforms to typical Oriental descriptions from the start: she wants her readers to recognise that she is in a place of controversy. The beauty and exoticness of the setting when she first encounters it is described as “a perfect feast to western eyes”, but there is no sense of harmony; she refers to “a multitude of screaming Arabs” and the “philosophical conviction” of certain “amiable gentlemen” that the only way to deal with Arabs is with a stick (EL I: 5). This juxtaposition of distance but also fascination is evidence of Martineau’s cultural struggle, as it becomes evident in the arrival scene: she contains the inhabitants of the cultural context she is visiting within a stereotype, yet at the same time she is appalled by the narrow-minded, imperialist viewpoints of her own countrymen.

116  Lesa Scholl Angels in the Harem In light of the appropriation of spoils of the British Empire, such as the Egyptian artefacts taken back to England for display, it is understandable that there might arise some uneasiness within the source culture regarding the motivation of travellers. Some travel writers, like Martineau, claimed to present an authentic picture of the East without another agenda; unfortunately, this apparent desire often resulted in over-domesticating certain aspects, while creating a contrasting scene of spectacle and stereotype. The most prominent stereotype that Martineau had to negotiate for her readership (although earlier it is the Arabs in general) is related to women: the licentiousness of the harem in opposition to the repression of the female form under the veil.26 These two extremes, and the compulsion to reconcile them, can be related to the figures of the Angel in the House and the Fallen Woman in the nineteenth-century English cultural context. In this aspect, perhaps, Martineau’s inevitable ties to Victorian middle-class culture are profound. She is offended by the “horrid sight” of women dancing (EL II: 129). However, this scene is an important connection for Martineau’s cultural translation, as she seeks to use the image of the dancing to reinforce the idea of female sexual slavery. John Carne, a male traveller to the East, had a rather different view of eastern women, seeing them as the ones truly in control of their situation. He even refers to “female dominion” over men in the context of the harem, and paints a picture of the eastern woman contriving a social position for herself in order to acquire wealth.27 Whereas this male discourse on the harem transmitted the idea of female power— incidentally a view couched in anxiety and a sense of the unnatural that I see as an attempt to reinforce the dominant Victorian view of women— Martineau’s interpretation emphasises the surveillance and their lack of freedom. Deborah Logan suggests that Martineau is offended by the dancing because she cannot separate herself from the western cultural ideology that separates motherhood and sexuality.28 However, Martineau’s account of children born in harems—places, according to Logan, of “institutionalised immorality” and “legitimised sexual slavery”—does appear to be trying to reconcile the two: she tries to open the eyes of her readers to sexual slavery by focusing on the unfulfilled desire of these women to be mothers.29 She raises the question of sexuality and reproduction by drawing attention to the very Victorian view that all women, regardless of culture, want to be maternal rather than sexual beings, shown through the fight for possession of children born there. She claims that the children are simultaneously idolised and murdered, emphasising what she sees as the perversion of the maternal instinct—tacitly blamed on the sexual slavery of the women. In this way, her translation appeals to the cultural ideals Martineau expects of her readership—a device used to create sympathy for her cause. At the other end of the scale is the veil, which Martineau looks at on both social and religious levels. On the social level she is surprised at how

Translating Culture  117 customary it is for women to be not properly veiled, or to appear overly concerned to cover their faces when they are practically naked elsewhere (EL I: 20). This is more of an amusement to Martineau than anything else, as she openly acknowledges that she does not comprehend the social outworking of the veil. She does, however, recognise differences within Egyptian attitudes towards veiling: When the camels had passed, some women entered the Square from different openings. I was surprised to see their faces hardly covered. They pulled their bit of blue rag over, or half over, their faces when anyone approached them, as a matter of form; but in Alexandria, at least, we could generally get a sight of any face that we had a mind to see,—excepting, of course, those of mounted ladies. As we went up the country, we found the women more and more closely veiled, to the borders of Nubia, where we were again favoured with a sight of the female countenance. (EL I: 8) Here, the women entering from different openings is a metaphor to reinforce Martineau’s sense that eastern women should not be stereotyped, although she often stereotypes the men, as in the previously mentioned arrival scene. Just as she seeks to demystify the Englishwoman, she acknowledges a certain dynamism in the positioning of Egyptian women. Integration and Assimilation What unsettles Martineau, however, is the religious significance of the veil. She speaks of her discomfort in knowing that having an uncovered face was considered an “indecency” in many parts, and that some of the stares she received contained “true Mohammedan hatred of the Christians” (EL I: 54). Her solution to her agitation is very interesting, though, and hearkens back to her disinclination to being absorbed into a foreign culture that could be linked either to British imperialism or perhaps to her own personality: Yet I would not advise any Englishwoman to alter her dress or ways. She can never, in a mere passage through an Eastern country, make herself look like an Eastern woman; and an unsupported assumption of any native custom will obtain her no respect, but only make her appear ashamed of her own origins and ways. (EL I: 55) From a twenty-first-century perspective, this attitude shows a lack of consideration for the foreign culture, and therefore seems at odds with those sympathetic qualities which Martineau herself suggests are necessary. Instead, she presumes that the foreign culture will see the situation in the same way she does. This stance actually reinforces Martineau’s otherness, though,

118  Lesa Scholl rather than the otherness of the East, as she clearly shows her inability to assimilate, although it would seem a fairly simple thing to wear a veil. I would contend that in this situation, her personal views on the repression of women have tainted her translation of the East to the point where she feels she must pause in her account to give specific instructions to her English readership. She sacrifices the invisibility of her mediation on this point in order to remind her English female readers that their freedom is superior to that of their Egyptian counterparts. At the same time, she draws interesting comparisons between the two cultures. She gives an account of a girl making a cord that is to go around a man’s waist. Martineau remarks that the craft is exactly the same as bobbinmaking—an English craft—although “instead of an ivory lyre, this child had two crossed sticks; and her cotton thread was very coarse” (EL I: 99). This account is clearly an example of domestication, intermingling the Egyptian and English cultures. It also creates a sense that perhaps the two cultures are not so far removed from each other. Martineau is constantly drawing near and pulling away from her experiences, as she tries to comprehend a culture she has been accustomed to denigrate. In Martineau’s travel writing there are strong political and moral ideas that she is trying to make accessible to her home culture. The reader cannot but react—whether to agree or disagree—to the personal account. Yet because her audience sees the foreign culture ‘in translation’—that is, through Martineau’s eyes and understanding rather than their own firsthand experience—they are more inclined to be led by the views of the one who has been there and place value on what she deems important. In this way, Martineau takes on the very powerful role of the translator, mediating between English and Egyptian cultural contexts, enabling her to promulgate her own conscious and unconscious beliefs. Notes 1. Susan Bassnett, Translation Studies [1980] (London: Methuen, 2002), p. xiii. 2. René Descartes, “Discourse on Method” in Descartes: Key Philosophical Writings [1911], ed. Enrique Chávez-Arvizo, and trans. Elizabeth S. Haldane and G. R. T. Ross (Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions, 1997), pp. 71–122 (at p. 74). 3. Mary Louise Pratt, “The Traffic in Meaning”, Profession (2002): 25–36 (at p. 25). 4. Susan Bassnett and André Lefevere, Constructing Cultures: Essays on Literary Translation (Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 1998), p. 33. 5. Edwin Gentzler, Contemporary Translation Theories [1993] (Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2001), p. 37. 6. Harriet Martineau, Preface to Eastern Life, Present and Past [1848] (London: Edward Moxon, 1875), pp. iii–vi (at p. iv). 7. Martineau, Preface, p. iii. 8. Martineau, Preface, p. iv.

Translating Culture  119 9. Walter Benjamin, “The Task of the Translator”, in Illuminations [1968], ed. Hannah Arendt and trans. Harry Zohn (London: Fontana, 1992), pp. 70–82 (at pp. 77 and 80). 10. Ali Behdad, Belated Travelers: Orientalism in the Age of Colonial Dissolution (Cork: Cork University Press, 1994), p. 21. 11. Pratt, “Traffic of Meaning”, pp. 27–28. 12. Sarah Winter, “Mental Culture: Liberal Pedagogy and the Emergence of Ethnographic Knowledge”, Victorian Studies 41 (1998): 427–41 (at p. 428). 13. Pratt, “Traffic of Meaning”, p. 31. 14. Vladimir Ivir, “Procedures and Strategies for the Translation of Culture”, in Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond, ed. Gideon Toury (Amsterdam: John Benjamin, 1995), pp. 36–48 (at p. 36). 15. James Buzard, The Beaten Track: European Tourism, Literature, and the Ways to Culture, 1800–1918 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993), p. 161. 16. James Buzard, The Beaten Track, p. 1. 17. Christopher Mulvey, Anglo-American Landscapes: A Study of NineteenthCentury Anglo-American Travel Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), p. 24. 18. Harriet Martineau, How to Observe Morals and Manners (London: Charles Knight, 1838), p. 189. 19. Hans J. Vermeer, “What Does It Mean to Translate?” in Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond, ed. Gideon Toury (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1995), 26–35 (at p. 29). 20. Harriet Martineau, Selected Letters, ed. Valerie Sanders (Oxford: Clarendon, 1990), p. 44. 21. Valerie Sanders, Introduction to Martineau, in her Selected Letters, pp. xi–xii. 22. Sanders, Introduction to Martineau, p. xii. 23. Lawrence Venuti, The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation (London: Routledge, 1995), p. 8 and 1. 24. Harriet Martineau, Eastern Life, Present and Past, 3 vols. (London: Edward Moxon, 1848), I: 98. Further page references to Eastern Life (EL) will appear parenthetically in the text. 25. Hon. Mrs G. L. Dawson Damar, Diary of a Tour in Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and the Holy Land, 2 vols. (London: Henry Colburn, 1842), vol. I, p. 120. 26. See Behdad, Belated Travelers, p. 18. 27. John Carne, Recollections of Travel in the East (London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1830), pp. 230–31. 28. Deborah A. Logan, “Harem Life, West and East”, Women’s Studies 26 (1997): 449–74 (at p. 7). 29. Logan, “Harem Life, West and East”, p. 6.

Part Two

Unravelling Forms of Travel

8 Signs in the Jungle Michaux in Ecuador David Scott

Cette terre est rincée de son exotisme.1 Using an important distinction made by Foucault in Les Mots et les choses,2 this chapter sets out to analyse the jungle experience of Henri Michaux’s travel text Ecuador (1929)—in terms both of semiotics (the sum of knowledge and techniques that enable signs to be apprehended) and hermeneutics (the sum of knowledge and techniques that enable signs to speak and reveal their meaning). The aim of this approach is to show how signs in the work of a travel writer like Michaux tend both to represent and to mediatise jungle experience, underlining the indissociable nature of hermeneutics and semiology in the signifying process. In the tension between hermeneutics and semiology, it is the problems associated with the latter that tend to loom largest. Where and what are the signs of the jungle? Can they be distinguished from the amorphous phenomenological mass that is equatorial forest? If so, what disciplinary tools—anthropological, botanical, geographical, and zoological—are best suited to a concerted analysis of them? What is the status of the travel document in the light of these different possibilities? And how can such hermeneutic preoccupations as do arise be reconciled with the primary semiological challenge of the jungle? It is already a sign of Michaux’s originality that in Ecuador he should set out with much lower expectations on a hermeneutic level than might be expected of a trip to such an exotic destination. Indeed, the motivation governing the book becomes very quickly apparent as a deconstruction of the travel journal genre, one that also calls into question the status and authenticity of the travel writer himself, one revealing an intense consciousness of what is at stake in travel writing. In the event, Michaux’s descent of the vast Amazon River by small boat and then by paddle-steamer raises as many semiological issues as it dismisses hermeneutic ones, such questions as, “And this trip, but where is this trip?”, setting the tone for the entire project (16–17).3 But Michaux is far too complex and subtle a writer for the message even of this, one of his earliest books, to be purely negative. On the contrary, the reader of Ecuador is obliged to negotiate issues fundamental to travel writing, the confrontation of which at this stage liberated

124  David Scott Michaux sufficiently to adopt the more complex approach visible in subsequent works such as Un barbare en Asie (1933). Reading, as Michaux points out in Ecuador, is a spatial as well as a temporal activity: “I am no longer in Quito, but in the land of reading” (41).4 It can transport the subject back to a culture thousands of miles away, detaching him or her from exoticism of the immediate environment. This point is further clarified later in Ecuador when Michaux underlines the necessarily intermittent character of contact with the real or the other of the exotic. The latter can be grasped only for a few privileged moments, images of which are only with difficulty separated from the amorphous flux of phenomena, jungle or other, before being adjusted to a given cultural frame and thus made susceptible to representation or expression. The way the critical reader approaches Michaux’s text is not dissimilar: citation itself is a découpage or cutting-up, one necessary to analysis and comment, but one which necessarily also distorts precisely as it strives to highlight the authentic flavour and colour of the travel texts from which it is extracted. The critical process thus also participates in the ambivalence of the semiotic enterprise, in that it involves recognizing signs (semiology) and offering a certain interpretation of them (hermeneutics), one that is open to a reading that is both subjective and communal. No travel writer is more conscious of this critical process than the Michaux of Ecuador. For Michaux, it is names and words as signs rather than visual images that become the principal instrument of découpage in the jungle landscape. So, on arrival in Ecuador, his first response is a reflection on names: Names. I was looking for names but I was unlucky. Names are only worth something after the event, and in the light of long experience. Only painters can really deal with the first encounter with the foreign; how quickly and completely painting and drawing capture it! Nature is first and foremost an unknown substance, it’s not really made up of objects at all. It’s only after detailed examination and from a fixed point of view that one can name anything. A name is a detachable object.5 (28–29) The name is a symbolic sign: it has no real connection with its object but yet is a sign with access to multiple interpretations. Michaux chooses as the title of his book Ecuador, a single proper noun, the name of a country, even though half the text in fact recounts a journey through Brazil. This may be because of the high degree of indexicality of proper names in general, and Ecuador in particular, which elicits multiple interpretants. First, it refers to a major geographical feature, the Equator, the line dividing the globe equally into two hemispheres; second, a vast region stretching across three continents (Africa and part of Asia as well as South America); third, a South American country straddling in effect two hemispheres; fourth, an imaginative conception englobing multiple associations, personal and cultural.

Signs in the Jungle  125 The signifier Ecuador being Spanish for Equator brings another layer of associations bound up with the history and culture of Latin America. In all, then, the name Ecuador, as an “objet à détacher”, constitutes a potent sign of the exotic. But names as découpages tend to come, as Michaux says, après coup. As the passage just cited suggests, the painter confronting the exotic or jungle landscape does not to the same extent need to cut it up to see it or to give it expression. The landscape presents itself immediately as a totality, the paté, or plastic form of which can be more readily translated into the paint or modelling clay the artist might use to represent it. For the writer, on the other hand, there is always a gap between sign and object. This is because words are arbitrary signs, they bear little or no iconic relation to their object and are a function of a repertory of signs that is already culturally determined according to the various disciplines of European knowledge—including botany, geography, geology, history, and zoology. As in the Garden of Eden, discrete objects only emerge when they are named. In an exotic context, as Michaux ruefully remarks, this process can necessitate detailed examination and a certain discretion. Thus Ecuador first appears to Michaux as just a mountain of mud.6 But although, like all writers, Michaux is ineluctably dependent on words and names, he is deeply suspicious of them. For naming things is a specific kind of découpage, which cuts across not only the unified or primeval chaos of the other or the exotic world, but also the feelings of the perceiving consciousness. Words are like clichés in both the visual and linguistic sense. When they are applied, they tend to cheapen or banalise both the object to which they refer and the emotional reverberation which attempts to express itself through them. They can strike a false note, as in the word sucre: “(the currency of the country). Soucrès, soucrès, as it is pronounced, the tastiest word, the most sensual word there is” (40).7 As a result of this, Michaux as a travel writer becomes acutely aware of the risks of parody attending evocations of the exotic. Local colour is thus looked upon with deep suspicion. So the Quito women’s habit of wearing men’s hats, which makes them appear like Amazons, is described by Michaux as “chiqué” [sham] or “revue de music-hall” (38). Similarly, the experience of Michaux in Quito is sometimes inhibited by the presence of the desired exotic, in particular the way it solicits the knee-jerk reaction that Victor Segalen in his Essai sur l’exotisme (1908) had already decried in nineteenth-century pseudo-exotic writing. Occupying, as Jean-Pierre Martin notes, “an advanced position on the destructive front that literature is beginning to establish in opposing the notion of exoticism”,8 Michaux strives to avoid the “travel impressions” style of writing that he refers to as “an insupportable bazaar in which nothing is worth buying” (16–17).9 Michaux discovers two alternative routes out of the impressionist “bazaar”. The first is to reinsert the selected word or name back into a textual continuum which absorbs the banality. These mini-texts take the

126  David Scott form of the loosely constructed fragments or poems that intersperse much of Ecuador. Their advantage is that they are able to express a greater degree of personal emotion, albeit at the expense of a certain bemusement on the part of the reader. This bemusement, Michaux argues, is in part a function of the nature of the phrases used by the writer, as he explains in the following passage: The phrase is the point of passage of one idea to another. This passage is enclosed in a mantle of thought. Since the writer’s mantle is not recognised, he is judged on his passages. He is soon reputed to be much sillier and more incomplete than his contemporaries. It is forgotten that in his mantle there was sufficient to express a quite different idea, even the opposite of what he said.10 (41) Leaving aside this passage’s extraordinary anticipation of the kind of play in language that Derrida will half a century later systematically analyse, one notes more particularly how it clarifies the nature of the tension between the necessarily conventional word used and “anything else” that the writer had possibly intended. The advantage of this inevitable ambivalence may be that it enables Michaux, despairing of finding authentic regular formulae to express the exotic, to concentrate rather on reproducing the effect of dépaysement in the reader by disorienting him or her in the reading process by the unexpected insertion of poetic phrases or texts. In this way Michaux diverts attention from the exotic object to the latter’s effect both on him and on his reader by setting up a play of interpretants that the form of the poem, in particular, is adept at mobilising. The second exit from the tropical bazaar is that which was already touched on, of parody and deconstruction. Michaux’s aim here is not, however, merely to undermine travel-writing and travel-reading conventions for their own sake. Rather, as was already the case with Segalen twenty years before, Michaux sets out to reintroduce a sense of critical evaluation which would both problematise and intensify the travel writer’s habits of perception and expression. This he does, in a manner anticipated by Segalen and which he will later perfect in Un barbare en Asie, by turning the gaze of the other back onto the traveller at the very moment that the latter attempts to seize the former. The temptation of ethnography is thus both indulged and undermined as the western eye is itself observed by the look of the other, as here: The negro has a strange expression on his face. Like orang-utans. And orang-utans have very human eyes. The negro has a spot of water in his face: it’s his eye. Whites seem to have in their eyes a nucleus that varies in size from individual to individual. This nucleus never dissolves into a gaze. It is

Signs in the Jungle  127 the mark of secrecy, of mental activity, of a reflection that cannot be expressed in terms of physiognomy.11 (26) In his comparison of Amerindians to orang-utans, Michaux seems to be making a racist interpretation, but this misapprehension is soon corrected as the orang-utan eye is seen as similar to that of a human, the white man in the end coming off worst as his look is seen to hide as much as it shows of his feelings and humanity. “L’Autre (l’indien)” is thus seen to be “a man like all the others” while the “voyageur” as “a novelty gobbler” turns out to be of a somewhat inferior species (98 and 120).12 The comic vignettes with which Michaux intersperses his text thus become a necessary element of his strategy as a writer of the exotic where each “take” is potentially a “takeoff”, of both the viewed and the viewer: I’ve rarely heard anyone describe the Tropics at all naturally. That would scarcely be possible. You move through the jungle like a police officer. Just to sit down, you have to take clinical precautions.13 (161–2) Moving from sign and interpretant to the object, to which, in the semiotic process, the former refers to the latter, Michaux, as writer of the exotic, experiences a comparable set of semiological difficulties. First of all, in encountering a relatively homogenous object—person, country, or town—the hurried traveller often has difficulty grasping it in its totality. What should be felt as a full and complex experience passes either as in a dream or as a fragment in which somehow the essential is let slip, leaving the traveller with a sense of having missed the point.14 A more persistent problem is the difficulty Michaux has in separating the individual phenomenon from the encompassing totality. Michaux travels by boat, descending much of the Amazon in a series of small canoes in one of which he spends much of the time lying on his back beneath a low and leafy roof: The author, having travelled 527 kilometres in a canoe, hoped to find a steamer at Rocafuerte, but the next one wasn’t departing for another month; he continued therefore to descend the Napo down to the Amazon making the 1,400 kilometre journey in a canoe, wedged beneath a pamakari, which is an arched shelter made of foliage descending to the edge of the boat, a coffin heated to 38 degrees centigrade, containing only bags of rice against which one was constantly thrown, in which it’s impossible to read or do anything and in which one has to lie rather than sit, without being able to see out.15 (147) The presence of water as a containing flow, as a means of transport—“Canoe too small and unstable. Several times nearly fall into water” (138)16—, and as the essence of the jungle environment—clouds, water vapour, downpour,

128  David Scott condensation, rapids, currents, waves—results in Michaux being swept along an interface between two humid surfaces at a dizzyingly fast rate. But it is the difficulty of isolating the signs as much as the expression or interpretation of them that is Michaux’s prime concern on the Amazon, as the following passage shows: We were wrenched into the current as if into a gearing system. The sudden jolt threw me onto my back as I was handing G. his camera. Recumbent in the bottom of the boat, I could have sworn that the keel was undulating.17 (132) Here, the snapshot approach to isolating and recording phenomena is comically abandoned as the exotic phenomenon itself, in the form of the surging Amazonian river current, literally bowls over the canoe’s occupants as the swell’s undulations make steady camera work impossible thereafter. The few images that are salvaged from this drenched and mobile environment are thus stained or blurred by the enveloping humidity. Water vapour blots out aspects of the scenery as arbitrarily as clouds in Japanese prints “the (dis)play of fog that is found in Japan” (55–56),18 while in some places the entire forest is obliterated by the downpour (63). When the dynamic object is water, which creates, mobilises, obscures, and disperses the essential reality of the scene, there is little the writer can do other than go with the flow, the odd observation appearing like flotsam in the drift. The water absorbs all qualities and “qualisigns” into itself, as in the “rivers of chocolate” Michaux observes in Ecuador which transform themselves as they fall from improbable heights: “Falling, it looked like dust; at the base it was smoke, an asphyxiating smoke, at the top it was boiling cocoa. This river is the Pastaza. Its falls the chorrera del Aguayan” (57).19 Here, Michaux identifies the objects indicated by the signs only after the signs have themselves been observed in terms of “qualisigns”—that is, pure signs of quality. In such a massive and amorphous environment, violent découpages are necessary even to see the object. This is especially the case in the jungle landscape, which has literally to be cut up (with a machete) to be seen and penetrated: trees, lianas, and shrubs have to be massacred before the rare orchids and exotic trees can be accessed: “That’s why there are lots of dead beasts in the forest, as many as there are live, and the only way forward is with the machete” (161).20 A similar problem arises with the fauna, often so abundant in their profusion as to preclude appreciation: so the spiders inhabiting the rest-house have similarly to be attacked with the machete while, to be observed, a monkey has to be shot (143). Most often fauna are recorded as a cacophony of sounds, fragments of which are evoked in a kind of telegraphic style frequently used in Ecuador (150). The phenomena of the exotic real only seem to separate and organise themselves into recognisable objects and species, flora and fauna (and tropical diseases) when

Signs in the Jungle  129 experienced through a climate that organises itself vertically rather than horizontally: At the top, snow and ice cap the numerous volcanoes. At an intermediary altitude (3,000 metres) it is still cold and bare. Half an hour of slow train later and you find yourself in a station with freshly picked mandarins for sale. The flies begin to bite. The overcoat comes off. (This is because one is now at 2,300 metres.) After a few more minutes’ descent, there is sugar cane, and a few hundred metres lower, at about 1,000 metres, pineapples, banana trees, all sorts of palm trees, monkeys, parrots, typhoid and malaria.21 (87–88) Such a quasi simultaneity of difference is summed up by Michaux in a typically comic vignette: It is difficult to determine the climate of Ecuador. In the high plateaux, people often say, and they are right: four seasons in a day . . . So what to wear becomes a real problem if you have to go out for several hours. You see some desperate individuals setting out wearing straw hats, linen jackets, pelisses and umbrellas.22 (89) If, then, for Michaux, Amazonia “est rincée de son exotisme” it is because of its nature as an object and the difficulty of reading and representing it in terms of signs. As a phenomenon, equatorial America is “rinsed” of its exoticism because water is the dynamic object that both underlies and obliterates it in an unstoppable cycle of convection and precipitation. The only way of accessing or penetrating the vast aqueous system that is the jungle is through rivers and their tributaries, but these arteries are themselves a function of related hydraulic principles, this time applied in a horizontal vector in the form of a flow in which the traveller is inexorably swept along by eddies and currents that deny purchase on his surroundings. As a sign, Amazonia is rinsed of its exoticism in that, given its inherent dynamism and homogeneity, it is difficult to find words adequately to define its difference as a phenomenon, and the differences between the phenomena it englobes, and to express its unique vitality. Photographs and verbal impressions fall short in their representation of its dynamic reality, referring the interpretant less to the latter than to the clichés and commonplaces of a tradition already by Michaux’s time a century old. For Michaux, the way out of this bind in Ecuador is to disturb as much as possible the illusory smoothness of the surface of linguistic signs, more specifically to make the reading process as choppy as possible and in this way to try and evoke at least some aspects of the dynamic object lurking beneath his text.

130  David Scott Notes 1. Henri Michaux, Ecuador [1929] (Paris: Gallimard, 1968), p. 35. Subsequent references will appear parenthetically in the text. 2. Michel Foucault, Les Mots et les choses (Paris: Gallimard, 1966), pp. 44–45. 3. “Et ce voyage, mais où est-il ce voyage?” All translations are my own. 4. “Je ne suis plus à Quito, je suis dans la lecture”. 5. “Le nom. Je cherchais des noms et j’étais malheureux. Le nom: valeur d’après coup, et de longue expérience. Il n’y en a que pour les peintres dans le premier contact avec l’étranger; le dessin, la couleur, quel tout et qui se présente d’emblée! Ce pâté d’on ne sait quoi, c’est ça la nature, mais d’objets, non, point du tout. C’est après de mûrs examens détaillés, et un point de vue décidé qu’on arrive au nom. Un nom est un objet à détacher.” 6. See Michaux, Ecuador, p. 50. 7. “(le franc du pays). Soucrès, soucrès, comme on le prononce, le mot le plus goulu, le plus cupide qui soit”. 8. Jean-Pierre Martin, Henri Michaux: Ecritures de soi, expatriations (Paris: Corti, 1994), p. 31: “une position avancée dans le front destructeur que la littérature commence à opposer à la notion d’exotisme”. 9. “[u]n insupportable bazar où l’on ne trouve pas de pain”. 10. “La phrase est le passage d’un point de pensée à un autre point de pensée. Le passage est pris dans un manchon pensant. Ce manchon de l’écrivain n’étant pas connu, celui-ci est jugé sur ses passages. Il est bientôt réputé beaucoup plus imbécile et incomplet que ses contemporains. On oublie que dans son manchon il avait de quoi dire tout autre chose, et le contraire même de ce qu’il dit.” 11. “Le nègre a dans la tête une étrange expression. Comme les orangs-outangs. Et les orangs ont des yeux très humains. Le nègre: une eau dans la figure, c’est son œil. Les blancs paraissent avoir dans les yeux un noyau plus au moins grand suivant les individus. Ce noyau jamais ne se dissout en regard. Il est la marque du secret, du phénomène cérébral, de la réflexion insoluble en psysionomie.” 12. “un homme comme tous les autres”; “gobeur de l’intéressant”. 13. “J’ai rarement entendu parler des Tropiques avec naturel. Ce ne serait guère possible. On avance ici comme des policiers. Et rien que pour s’asseoir, il faut prendre des précautions de laboratoire.” 14. See Michaux, Ecuador, p. 37. 15. “L’auteur ayant parcouru 527 kilomètres en canoa imaginait à Rocafuerte trouver une chaloupe à vapeur, mais elle ne part que dans un mois; il continuera donc à descendre le Napo jusqu’à l’Amazone, parcourant quelque 1.400 kilomètres en canoa, calé sous un pamakari qui est un toit de feuilles arqué, qui descend jusqu’au bord, cercueil de 38˚ de chaleur, n’y ayant que des sacs de riz où l’on bute, et ni se peut lire ni rien, on est couché plutôt qu’assis et presque sans rien voir.” 16. “Pirogue trop petite et mobile. Plusieurs fois manque se coucher sur l’eau”. 17. “On entra dans le courant comme dans un engrenage. Sa brusquerie me renversa sur le dos comme je tendais à G. son kodak . . . Couché dans le fond de la pirogue, j’aurai juré qu’elle ondulait.” 18. “Le jeu du brouillard [qui] se joue au Japon”. 19. “Tombant, elle semble poussière; en bas fumée, fumée d’asphyxie, en haut cacao bouillant. Ce rio est le Pastaza. Sa chute la chorrera del Aguayan.” 20. “C’est ainsi qu’il y beaucoup de morts dans la forêt autant que de vivants et qu’on n’avance qu’avec la machete.” 21. “Le plus haut, c’est neige et glace, la calotte de nombreux volcons. La région intermédiaire (les 3.000 m.) est encore froide et aride. Une demi-heure d’un

Signs in the Jungle  131 train lent, voici une station, on vous offre des mandarines fraîches cueillies. On est piqué de quantité de mouches. On ne supporte plus le pardessus. (C’est qu’on est descendu à 2.300 mètres.) Encore quelques minutes de trajet: cannes à sucre, et quelques centaines de mètres plus bas, vers les 1.000 mètres, ce sont des ananas, bananiers, palmiers de toute espèce, singes, perroquets, typhoïde et paludisme.” 22. “Il est difficile de déterminer le climat de l’Equateur. Dans les hauts plateaux, les gens ont coutume de dire, et c’est assez juste: les quatres saisons en un jour . . . Aussi l’habillement est-il une réelle difficulté pour peu que l’on soit dehors pendant plusieurs heures. L’on voit des désespérés sortir, avec chapeau de paille, veston de toile, pelisse et parapluie.”

9 Deep Maps Travelling on the Spot Peter Hulme

I Like most non-fiction, travel writing has had comparatively little attention paid to its formal and rhetorical characteristics. Now that the study of travel writing is becoming a more established part of the academic landscape, it is probably time to begin to map some of its strategies from a more global perspective. Formal analysis has its uses and its limitations. However, there has been so little formal analysis of travel writing that some broad brush strokes should be possible. The aspect that interests me here as a starting point has to do with travel writing’s relationship with mobility. Travel writing is hardly possible without the description of movement of some sort, but travel writing almost always wants to say something about the places the travel writer visits. Movement and place are therefore constantly in tension. To stay and to get to know—to travel on the spot—is not to move; to move is to risk that impressions be superficial. The titles of travel books suggest whether the writer has placed the emphasis more on movement or on place. Journey, passage, pilgrimage, and voyage all suggest movement; residence, visit, or the name of a particular location all suggest place. At one extreme there is a kind of willed superficiality, as if a dogged ignorance about a place is necessary to preserve the freshness of the writer’s fleeting contact with its features and its inhabitants. At the other extreme there is a compulsion to know more and more about less and less, to go deeper and deeper. Travel by boat or train or car tends inevitably to emphasise movement: Jonathan Raban’s Passage to Juneau has him sailing up the northwest coast of America, rarely stopping for more than a few hours in any one place.1 Paul Theroux’s The Old Patagonian Express would be another obvious example where movement across thousands of miles takes precedence over any particular stopping place. At the other end of the spectrum, travel books such as Barry Lopez’s Arctic Dreams or Peter Robb’s Midnight in Sicily emphasise the places in their titles rather than movement to those places or even within them. The example I want to look at in some detail, precisely because it offers an extreme case, is William Least HeatMoon’s PrairyErth, published in 1991, which sees him in Chase County,

Deep Maps  133 Kansas, on innumerable occasions during thirty months: he becomes what might be called an irregular resident over that period of time. “PrairyErth” is the name given to the soils of the central North American grasslands. Heat-Moon’s choice of the word is indicative that his sense of place includes what lies beneath as well as above. So one of the senses of his subtitle, “A Deep Map” is literal: there is a geology here as well as a topography. The local sense of history in Chase County goes back to around 1850, but Heat-Moon points out that Flint Hills beef comes from cattle feeding on grasses nurtured on a stony land produced by limestone which is the product of a 250-million-year-old history.2 The depth of the map is also a thickness, to invoke Clifford Geertz’s term3—as indeed Heat-Moon does, in contrast with what Barry Lopez calls thin maps, which are “not the sort of map that can be followed by a man who knows what he is doing” (quoted PE 4). PrairyErth is certainly not thin. The book’s 624 pages contain twelve numbered chapters, each focused on one segment of Chase County, with two additional unnumbered chapters acting as prologue and epilogue. The numbered chapters all have six sections, the unnumbered ones two sections. In all fourteen chapters the first section is called “From the Commonplace Book” and consists of quotations from a wide variety of texts, varying from a single line to more than a page. They range in number between twenty-two and thirty-six per chapter, averaging just over twenty-eight. That amounts to nearly four hundred separate quotations. The books quoted range from histories of Kansas to tracts on ecology, works of literature, and other travel texts. Authors quoted include—to take a random sample—Scott Momaday, Gilbert White, Walt Whitman, and Abraham Lincoln. I want to venture just one properly structuralist move here. If we extend mobility and place into two axes, one running from stasis to movement, the other from place to self (from attention outwards to attention inwards), then we can construct a semiotic square, to which examples of travel texts might be fitted:4 A) Movement / Self Tracks

Walden C) Stasis / Self

B) Movement / Place In Patagonia

PrairyErth D) Stasis / Place

134  Peter Hulme D is therefore the corner of the travel writing square that I want to examine via PrairyErth. Heat-Moon has written along the more conventional A/B axis: in fact, his other two travel books, Blue Highways and River Horse, published respectively in 1982 and 2000, both fit comfortably onto that quadrant. Heat-Moon himself actually uses this kind of spatial language to talk about his books: Blue Highways was “a horizontal journey”; PrairyErth is a book “at the other end of the spectrum”, “a book about stopping”, a book interested in “depth instead of breadth”.5 Strictly speaking, occupation of D on these two axes would probably result in a scientific book of geology or geography or sociology in which there was absolutely no personal involvement and no sense of self. Neither of these things is true about PrairyErth, and probably neither could be true about anything which we would want to call travel writing except perhaps the driest of travel guides. There is plenty of ‘self’ in PrairyErth, but the self is always secondary to place, unlike, in my examples, a book like Walden— one of Heat-Moon’s important precursors and reference points—where the journey into the self takes absolute precedence over the particularities of place: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately . . .”, wrote Thoreau.6 He could have chosen any old woods for his experiment in living: Walden—as a particular place—is accidental to the process. HeatMoon is more modest, less transcendent in his aims, and more focused on the place he writes about: his deliberation is directed outward rather than inward. It would be quite possible to make a further square within D, using the further axes of objectivity—reflexivity and description—meditation. Reflexivity is important because, if Thoreau is concerned with self in a romantic sense, and if the classic ethnographic observer, based on the equally classic philosophical subject, is a disembodied and unmarked presence, then Heat-Moon is neither of these: he is very much a walking, talking, eating, and drinking presence—an embodied self in the phenomenological sense. E) Objectivity / Meditation Annals of the Former World

The Rings of Saturn G) Reflexivity / Meditation

F) Objectivity / Description Description de l’Egypte

PrairyErth H) Reflexivity / Description

Deep Maps  135 It is no doubt possible to imagine even further semiotic squares which would eventually succeed in distinguishing PrairyErth from every other piece of travel writing ever published. Interestingly, that is just the kind of obsessivecompulsive behaviour by which PrairyErth is often tempted. At one point Heat-Moon takes shelter in the ruin of a stone house with the date of its construction—1889—cut into one of its walls. Sitting there out of the rain he calculates the relationship between distance and time. Trucks trundling by down in the valley would have covered a million miles in the ninety-nine years since that date was cut, so, sitting still but contemplating that date on the stone has, he reckons, extended his walk by precisely that distance (PE 270–71). Staying just this side of obsession for the moment, within D there is a significant division between urban and rural deep maps. If Gilbert White and Thoreau are Heat-Moon’s rural precursors, then Baudelaire and Aragon are their urban equivalents, and Heat-Moon has his own contemporary urban equivalents in writers of city books: Geoffrey Moorhouse on Calcutta, Jan Morris on Venice, William Dalrymple on Delhi, Robert Hughes on Barcelona, Mike Davis on Los Angeles, with perhaps the closest equivalents being those particularly restless urbanites, Georges Perec on Paris and Iain Sinclair on London. Sinclair’s celebration of urban graffiti and of the carbon monoxide high to be gained from walking in inner London would be absolute anathema to Heat-Moon’s ecological sensibility. Yet their writing techniques have a lot in common: Sinclair’s routes through the city tend to be as “near-arbitrary” as Heat-Moon’s selection of a singular US county; Sinclair’s preferred method of “drifting purposefully . . . in alert reverie”7 is very similar to what Heat-Moon calls his “usual pedestrious approach: set a small goal and let the destination find me” (PE 279). The track, Heat-Moon says, in a Sinclair-like phrase, finally comes from looking over your shoulder at where you have been (PE 244). Both writers are compulsive recorders of the written word—graffiti in one case, redneck bar signs in the other. Formal similarities therefore connect them despite the huge divergence in content. II What, then, is the proper size of place to which to pay deep attention? Gilbert White, quoted by Heat-Moon, wrote: “All nature is so full, that that district produces the greatest variety which is the most examined” (quoted PE 4). Heat-Moon likes to take things to extremes, and there is a sense in which he probably could see the whole world in a strand of prairy grass: “every detail is extraordinary when seen in its own deep colours”, he writes (PE 487).This is Thoreau’s view: Two or three hours’ walking will carry me to as strange a country as I expect ever to see . . . There is in fact a sort of harmony discoverable

136  Peter Hulme between the capabilities of the landscape within a circle of ten miles’ radius, or the limits of an afternoon walk, and the threescore years and ten of human life. It will never become quite familiar to you.8 Chase County, Kansas, is thirty miles by twenty-six, and so pretty close to Thoreau’s definition of “the capabilities of a landscape”; and its population in the 1980s was 3,013 (roughly what it had been in the mid-nineteenth century), small enough for Heat-Moon to talk to a significant proportion of them. At the beginning of PrairyErth, Heat-Moon explains—in terms verging on the obsession I mentioned earlier—why he chose Chase County: Sundown: I am standing on Roniger Hill, and I am trying to see myself as if atop a giant map of the United States. If you draw two lines from the metropolitan corners of America, one from New York City southwest to San Diego and another from Miami northwest to Seattle, the intersection would fall a few miles from my position. I am on a flattopped ridge 155 miles southeast of the geographic center of the contiguous states, 130 miles from the geodetic datum (the point from which all North American mapping originates), and about three miles from the precise middle of Chase County, Kansas. Were you to fold in half a three-foot-long map of the forty-eight states north to south then east to west, the creases would cross within an inch of where I stand, and you would see that Roniger Hill is nearly at the heart of the nation; but I think that is only incidental to my reason for being here. In truth, I don’t much understand why I am here, but, whatever the answer, it’s strong enough to pull me five hours by interstates from home, eight hours if I follow a route of good café food through the Missouri hills. (PE 10) Other reasons follow at intervals. The most central route across North America is along US Highway 50 from Maryland to San Francisco: Chase County is where east becomes west, where the absence of trees convinces the traveller that this finally is the prairie: “Between that earth and that sky, I felt erased”, as Willa Cather put it in My Ántonia, which Heat-Moon quotes (PE 12), determined to discover how not to feel erased. “Nearly at the heart of the nation” certainly suggests that Kansas is a special place within a national perspective, a place in which the pulse of the nation might be felt. If Heat-Moon’s other, more horizontal, travel books have traversed the nation in the tradition of John Muir’s A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf, or Charles F. Lummis’s A Tramp Across the Continent, both from the nineteenth century, or Peter Jenkins’ more recent Walk Across America, then PrairyErth attempts to epitomise it, to find the national temper in a single county. Those eight hours by car from Columbia to Chase County are not part of PrairyErth: there is no detailed account of any of the innumerable times

Deep Maps  137 Heat-Moon made this journey. He does sometimes travel by van within the county, but most of his ‘travel’ takes place with deliberation. Heat-Moon saw his new challenge, he says, as to travel a good deal in one county, “slowly, almost inch by inch, on foot” (PE 223). Slowness is an important concept here. Slow travel has connections with slow food, and stands opposed to tourism, which is the equivalent of fast food; with attention to what might be called local growth common to both movements. The bête noire in PrairyErth is the interstate, the national highway which stands as a symbol of fast movement and lack of attention. Heat-Moon’s previous book, Blue Highways, was so called because of his preference for the minor roads, marked blue on US maps. Here his antagonists are “twodimensional Rand McNally travelers”, who are opposed to “travelers who perceive a place as part of a deep landscape in slow rotation at the centre of a sphere” (PE 246). Tourism is too rapid to put down even the shallowest roots. Slow travel might mean not moving at all: at one paradigmatic moment Heat-Moon crouches so long to look at a flower that a harrier takes him for a rock and almost lands on him (PE 113). The proper pace for slow travel is a walk, and he gives considerable attention to the question of how best to walk on the prairy: not with your eye on a far goal but focused near, in order to keep the huge distances at bay (PE 82). His kindred spirits here are Rebecca Solnit, who wrote a whole book to explore her suspicion “that the mind, like the feet, works at about three miles an hour”,9 and again Thoreau, who pointed out that the word “sauntering”, to which he was much attached, derived from idle people in the Middle Ages roving around asking for charity on the grounds that they were off to the Holy Land, La Sainte Terre—so that they were sarcastically referred to as “sainte-terrers”.10 Heat-Moon, in search of the Holy Land of the Deep Map, is definitely a saunterer. These are some of the kinds of slow travel that Heat-Moon practises: • He talks to people: they tell him stories, and their words are quoted in italics, at considerable length. He seeks out the older people, often to ask them about some particular event or some former way of doing things: the last quarryman, the last Mexican railway worker. HeatMoon is an oral historian. • In Cedar Point he parks his van in the centre of town: “It’s half past eight in the morning, starting to rain, and I’m sitting in the back of a small van I’ve travelled in for fifteen years, a clipboard on my knee. I’ve pulled the curtains halfway to conceal me as I watch through the rear windows. I’m on assignment” (PE 483). He has been told that nothing ever happens anymore in Cedar Point and he’s come to watch “nothing” happen, invoking in the process Ruth Orkin’s photographs of the intersection below her New York apartment. “My assignment here is to compress watching and time by observing intensely for twelve

138  Peter Hulme



• •







hours—arbitrarily no more or fewer—and enter village life only as an unseen observer . . . I’m armed with a full load of patience, a small bag of French-roast espresso coffee, and a box of Fig Newtons” (PE 486– 87). Heat-Moon is a non-participant observer. He has three tallies: PU, AU, WD—pick-ups, autos, wet dogs. Just before six in the evening, a man walks by. Just the one man in twelve hours of observation. He reads the census-books in the state courthouse basement, the graffiti on the jail wall, all the early accounts of travellers into Kansas, the gravestones in the cemeteries, the books about prairies, the diary of a settler’s wife in the 1860s, the messages on people’s hats, the handwritten signs in bars, and the headlines from the local paper—one of the more exciting of which reads: JANITOR APPLICANTS INTERVIEWED (PE 209). Heat-Moon is an inveterate reader and recorder of words. He collects inventories, such as the inventory from the farm of an 1856 pioneer (PE 168–71). He also makes them: he sets out to draw up a list of every murder committed in the county (PE 244). He sits in bars taking notes but disguising his scribbling by occasionally copying figures from a State Board of Agriculture Annual Report manifestly open on the bar—a manoeuvre which probably fools nobody. It gets so that people come and say to him: “Write this down”, and tell him a story; but later they just ignore him (PE 212). Heat-Moon is what he himself calls “an inspector of the ordinary” (PE 49). He collects the plants and grasses that grow in the county, rubs them on his skin and eats them as part of an attempt to reconstruct the deep botanical knowledge of the indigenous population. As he puts it, when the settlers got the land, they stole the big machine but forgot the operating instructions (PE 239). Heat-Moon is an experimenter. He unearths stories: about the Orient line—the trade route to China which started with a railroad line from Kansas City to a Mexican town on the Gulf of California from where a shipping line would link to the Chinese coast (PE 222ff); about the famous murder trial of Harry Brandley; about the plane crash that killed the Notre Dame football coach, Knute Rockne; about the life and opinions of Sam Wood, one of the most colourful nineteenth-century politicians—finally shot by his enemies. Heat-Moon is a story-teller. He slowly ponders how to write slowly. He recalls a conversation overheard in a diner: a woman complained, “What’ve you ever done with your life?” and the man replied, “There isn’t enough time to tell you all I done in my life”, and then they both stared out of the window. The next day, sitting on his porch, Heat-Moon set a tape recorder and tried to describe a minute of his life as it was happening. Predictably it took him sixty seconds—but left out everything important. So he took up a pencil and paper and began to write a description of that minute, giving up when he hit six pages—“not because I was finished but because

Deep Maps  139 I was so far from finishing” (PE 335). It then took him ten minutes to read out what he had written. Heat-Moon is Tristram Shandy: I totted up and figured: even an abbreviated retelling of one hour of my life would take ten hours to relate, and one working day— could I remember it all—would, with an hour of rest each day, require a week to retell, and that meant a single year needed seven years, and my half century of waking life would consume 350 years, about the time of the Mayflower till now.11 (PE 335) • He seeks out particular places, for example, the Diamond Spring trailhead for the Santa Fe Trail, one of the main pioneer routes westwards, now covered in barbed wire and with an electric pump “rammed down its cold throat”. Heat-Moon is interested in the accumulation of voices that encrust a place slowly, “like so much travertine”. Neglected by the state, Diamond Spring “now appears a barren place indeed because a traveler now must rely entirely on these depositions to open it to the imagination and reveal its deep time” (PE 464). The deep map has a temporal as well as a spatial dimension as Heat-Moon constantly tries to add depth through historical perspective. He even experiments looking back over his shoulder through a Claude glass before realising that the angle of vision is less important than the depth of the view: My grid walking half complete, I understood this: I’d come into the prairie, this place of long and circling horizons, because of a vague and undefined sense that I lived in shortsightedness; I saw how the land, like a good library, lets a fellow extend himself, stretch time, rupture the constrictions of egocentrism, slip the animal bondage of the perpetual present to hear Lincoln’s mystic chords of memory. If a traveler can get past the barriers of ignorance and forgetfulness, a journey into the land is a way into some things and a way out of others. (PE 269)

III To this point PrairyErth could probably be contained within the older genres of chorography or descriptio, or within the newer genre of US bio­regionalism. The clue to the fact that it ultimately goes beyond those genres is the very writerliness of the book. The second section of the introductory chapter is marked by an incantation of the phrase quoted earlier: “I am standing on Roniger Hill”. At this point, Heat-Moon stands there as darkness falls to help him imagine “how things have been” and “to test the shape”, as he puts it, “of what I’m going to write about this place”. He

140  Peter Hulme discusses his frustrations at trying to organise his material, trying to connect one detail to the next: For thirty months, maybe more, I’ve come and gone here and have found stories to tell, but, until last week, I had not discovered the way to tell them. My searches and researches, like my days, grew more randomly than otherwise, and every form I tried contorted them, and each time I began to press things into cohesion, I edged not so much toward fiction as toward distortion, when what I wanted was accuracy; even when I got a detail down accurately, I couldn’t hook it to the next without concocting theories. It was connections that deviled me. I was hunting a fact or image and not a thesis to hold my details together, and so I arrived at this question: should I just gather up items like creek pebbles into a bag and then let them tumble into their own pattern? Did I really want the reality of randomness? Answer: only if it would yield a landscape with figures, one that would unroll like a Chinese scroll painting or a bisonskin drawing where both beginnings and ends of an event are at once present in the conflated time of the American Indian. The least I hoped for was a topographic map of words that would open inch by inch to show its long miles. (PE 14–15) In desperation he had laid over the floor of his motel room the twenty-five US Geological Survey maps of Chase County, the central twelve maps holding almost all of it in their grid, and he decided to gamble on the very arbitrariness of those quadrangles to give him his organisation. So there is a ceremony undertaken here, a real conjuring, a ritual invocation which has nothing traditional or customary about it. Heat-Moon stands on Roniger Hill till it gets dark and then lies down to sleep. If his configuration is alive in the morning, he writes, then he will walk one more time across Chase County grid by grid, on the arbitrary course of Japanese writing, up to down, right to left. By this time, of course, the reader knows that the configuration has survived and that this is exactly what he has proceeded to do, and how he has organised his material. The interesting combination here is the formality of the grid system—that ultimate symbol of Cartesian spatial organisation embodied in the 1785 US National Survey—which gives Heat-Moon his arbitrary organising principle, with the “dark loomings” which are paradoxically conjured by this formality, as if—and this would again be a properly Shandyan thought— taking rationality to extremes conjures the unconscious in wholly unpredictable ways. Perhaps, then, Heat-Moon says, his very adoption of that supra-rational effort to subdue the place through the national grid would serve to encourage its deeper reality to emerge. That 1785 US National Survey had provided a textbook example of what the philosopher Edward Casey calls “deplacialization”, the reduction of place to space which, in this instance, had formed part of the cartographical

Deep Maps  141 methodology underpinning the US thrust to dispossess Native North Americans of their land.12 So it is not perhaps surprising that what Heat-Moon conjures from his formal configuration are “dark loomings” from an indigenous history which—in this case—Kansas so successfully trampled over in the rush to establish the riches produced by its beef-herds. Early on in PrairyErth, this historical perspective is introduced when Heat-Moon recalls that Kansas had been the nineteenth-century dumping ground for eastern Indian tribes forced in with the native Kansa and Osage, then emptied so that Indian Territory could become Kansas Territory, and finally the state of Kansas. Today no Indian lives in Chase County: “A few weeks ago,” he writes, “I sat in the last row of the Chase County High School auditorium, and before me was an assembly of blond heads with last names from Kent and Antrim and Bavaria by way of New York, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and I remembered what a New Jersey visitor had once said to me: The people here look so American.” (PE 56) But then, as the book progresses, the absent presence of the Kansa Indians begins to make itself felt, rather like the Selknam do in In Patagonia,13 although here, it is the Shandyan dimension of PrairyErth which unexpectedly provides the link. Heat-Moon draws his reader in: “Now: you are dreaming, walking in your dream, here in the hills, alone. If you continue you will find what I’ve hidden for you, if you want it” (PE 326). He leaves an assemblage of forty unpunctuated paragraphs all relating to the cottonwood tree and introduced by these words: The writer writes, but there is no real book until the reader enters a dreamtime and makes the connections. So: start in the middle and read outward, start at the end and read upward; it is yours to make: design, whittle, cut, snip, tie, glue, trim, rasp, paint, grow vexed, cuss, and pitch it across the room (we will then share one more thing): it is yours to show how the pieces can fit together, perhaps even to demonstrate how the job should be done. (PE 327) The last paragraph consists of six sentences from Black Elk, the renowned Lakota spiritual leader, the last two of which are: “The sacred stick is the cottonwood tree . This tree never had a chance to bloom because the white man came” (PE 333). Just over halfway through the book, this paragraph strikes a note that will become more and more insistent, as Heat-Moon begins to recover and tell the story of the Kansa. An 1846 treaty forced them to cede two million acres along the Kaw River in exchange for a reservation in southern Morris and northern Chase counties, where they spent twenty-six years. In 1873 they were moved to the new Indian Territory, which then became Oklahoma. Only the ruins of the agency building and a few rock cabins survive. At one point a whole chapter on nomenclature ends with a list of the 140 recorded variations on the name for the “Kansas” Indians. Another chapter is an almost verbatim report by Joe Hickey,

142  Peter Hulme the local historical anthropologist working on Kansa history. The following chapter begins: “Hi-e-ye-ye Summon them, those who knew the people in time gone, and call them to speak the story, to give testimony” (PE 561). The testimony comes in extracts from travellers who crossed the county between 1802 and 1872. Heat-Moon then goes out of state to meet the grandson of an old Kansa chief, Jesse Mehojah, Jr. Six full-bloods remain, none of whom can speak the language (now called Kaw), but there are some signs of tribal renewal reported: the ledger now shows 1,550 members. The very last chapter of PrairyErth contains an account of the one thing that “remained to do” (PE 608): follow the southern Kaw Trail through Chase, the path the Kansa followed into their Indian Territory exile. HeatMoon travels with an old friend whose banter keeps the tone light. The seriousness of their four-day exercise in participatory history is ironically but predictably interrupted when the friend demands a trip to the nearest town for a cheeseburger: in a finely gauged comic moment, slow travel is interrupted by an urgent need for fast food. IV One of the obvious questions to ask about PrairyErth is just what makes it a piece of travel writing at all. So, flirting again with obsession, we need one further square, situated within H, using the further axes of stillness– restlessness and surface–depth to enable a final set of distinctions: I) Stillness / Surface The Natural History of Selborne

Sea and Sardinia K) Restlessness / Surface

J) Stillness / Depth The Long-Legged House

PrairyErth L) Restlessness / Depth

PrairyErth has a restlessness within its stasis, and this is what ultimately makes it a piece of travel writing rather than a contribution to US bioregionalism. Heat-Moon is restlessly still, unlike, say, Wendell Berry, author of The Long-Legged House, who is restfully still: “a placed person” as he calls himself.14 Heat-Moon is never quite “placed”. At one point in PrairyErth he sits on a hill watching. Nothing is happening. It is as if the entire

Deep Maps  143 scene had frozen “except”, he writes, “for the tiny scratching of my pencil across this notebook page—good god, I’m the only thing happening here”. But he then realises that what he sees as stasis is in fact movement; and that even if his pencil moves faster than the “fractional creepings of the continental plate”, that movement counts as nothing when the traveller is impervious to the 1,000-mile-an-hour spinning of the planet he rides through space at 67,000 miles an hour (PE 293). There is no placed tranquillity here. In interviews, Heat-Moon has suggested that he chose Chase County because “the Flint Hills are also the embodiment of the tallgrass prairie, and, well, the tallgrass region is my home”.15 There is a very strong link in PrairyErth to the tradition of US bio-regionalism, but Heat-Moon was born in Kansas City and lives in Columbia, Missouri, so he does not have the intimate connection with the place about which he writes on which true bioregionalism depends.16 That is why the squares have to distinguish him from somebody like Wendell Berry, who writes in very similar ways about a place which he identifies as home and to which he has a long-term commitment: what Berry calls “a particular knowledge of the life of the place one lives in and intends to continue to live in”.17 The tallgrass region may be HeatMoon’s home, but he has to travel eight hours through the Missouri Hills to get to Chase County, so he is always there as an outsider. At one point, talking to Linda Thurston, who ran the local café, he writes: I’m scribbling things down, and she watches and says, Growing up in this county I learned not to ask questions. If people want you to know something, they’ll tell you. I say that I must be a popular fellow, what with a question mark in every sentence, and she says, You don’t count. You don’t live here. (PE 128) Darkness plays an increasingly important part in PrairyErth. Heat-Moon has difficulty writing about one particular quadrangle, Homestead, where the imaginary grid turns into a reality of roads all running plumb northsouth or east-west: “I could never find a way to escape through the gaps into where the real place might lie, and I seemed equally incapable of turning the grid into a screen that might sift our artifacts” (PE 364). He prowls around the map in his dismal motel room trying to find a way to penetrate the place. He even puts some of its rocks into his whiskey to cool it down in the hope that the place might penetrate him. Finally he has an idea: he will go back at night “and noctivagate the encroached quad, let darkness conceal the intruded place, let my dimmed vision turn a graph-paper land into a blank sheet that might open to dreamtime” (PE 365). We tend to associate travel with enhanced observation, but here Heat-Moon deliberately eliminates the ocular: Night travels permit you to forgo certain baggage—pretenses, preconditions, assumptions—and they can let you cut loose from some moorings,

144  Peter Hulme

Figure 9.1  Peter Hulme, “These boots were made for walking”. The Chase County Historical Society Museum and Library, in Cottonwood Falls, contains artifacts and pictures from the Knute Rockne crash site, displays of kitchen tools and barbed wire, and a chuck-wagon used on one of the local ranches. It now also contains the boots that William Least Heat-Moon wore on his very slow journey around Chase County. Reproduced with permission of the author.

even go a little loony under the privacy of darkness: when you disorient yourself, the country changes, often for the better, and sometimes you can then encounter it directly. Purblindness might work. (PE 365) “Noctivagating” in the dark with his compass, he walks a few yards due west and cannot help imagining them as the first steps of a journey which, if continued round the globe, would eventually lead him to South Korea, across the Great Wall, down the length of Turkey, past the Parthenon, into Palermo, along the edge of La Mancha, through Baltimore, and back to where he started (PE 366). Nobody with that kind of lunatic imagination deserves to be called anything other than a travel writer. The danger of bio-regionalism, as with any sustained attention to place or locality, is a narrowness of focus, a provincialism in the older sense of the word. The deeper you go, the harder it is to back out. I think Heat-Moon avoids this danger. He does so in part because his depth—historical depth— also provides breadth, allowing him to look outwards along the railroad

Deep Maps  145

Figure 9.2  Peter Hulme, “Watching nothing happen in Cedar Point”. Reproduced with permission of the author.

tracks to China or the Kaw trail into exile. But he does so mostly because of the Sternean restlessness of his narrative persona, which is very much that of the travel writer, refusing finally to be placed or to belong anywhere at all. Literature Cited Jonathan Raban, Passage to Juneau (1999) Paul Theroux, The Old Patagonian Express (1979) Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams (1986) Peter Robb, Midnight in Sicily (1996) Robyn Davidson, Tracks (1980) Bruce Chatwin, In Patagonia (1977) William Least Heat-Moon, Blue Highways (1982) William Least Heat-Moon, River Horse: Across America by Boat (1985) John McPhee, Annals of the Former World (2000) Description de l’Egypte (1808–25) W. G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn (1995) Gilbert White, The Natural History of Selbourne (1789) Charles Baudelaire, Le Spleen de Paris (1869) Louis Aragon, Le Paysan de Paris (1926) Geoffrey Moorhouse, Calcutta (1971) Jan (James) Morris, The World of Venice (1963)

146  Peter Hulme William Dalrymple, City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi (1993) Robert Hughes, Barcelona (1993) Mike Davis, City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (1990) Georges Perec, Species of Spaces and Other Pieces (1997) John Muir, A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf (1914) Charles F. Lummis, A Tramp Across the Continent (1892) Peter Jenkins, Walk Across America (1979) D. H. Lawrence, Sea and Sardinia (1921)

Notes 1. Books mentioned on diagrams or in passing are listed in the “Literature Cited” section of this chapter in order of occurrence, if they are not otherwise referenced. 2. William Least Heat-Moon, PrairyErth (A Deep Map) [1991] (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999), p. 15. Further references to and quotations from PrairyErth are included parenthetically in the text after the abbreviation PE. 3. Clifford Geertz, “Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture”, in his The Interpretation of Cultures (London: Hutchinson, 1975), pp. 3–30. 4. Adapted, at some distance, from A. J. Greimas: see Fredric Jameson, “Foreword”, in On Meaning: Selected Writings in Semiotic Theory, by Algirdas Julien Greimas, trans. Paul J. Perron and Frank H. Collins (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), pp. vi–xxii. 5. Interview with Heat-Moon in John Price, “Native Dreams: William Least Heat-Moon and Chase County, Kansas”, in his Not Just Any Land: A Personal and Literary Journey into the American Grasslands (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004), pp. 93–158 (at p. 130). 6. Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or Life in the Woods [1854], in Walden and Civil Disobedience (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983), p. 135. 7. Iain Sinclair, Lights Out for the Territory: 9 Excursions in the Secret History of London (London: Granta Books, 1998), p. 1 and 3. 8. Henry David Thoreau, “Walking” [1862], in his Excursions (New York: Corinth Books, 1962), pp. 161–214 (at p. 169). 9. Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking (New York: Viking, 2000), p. 10. 10. Thoreau, “Walking”, p. 160. 11. One of the final chapters contains another image of the writer and his materials: he, a magnet, moved; they, iron filings, shifted but kept various patterns. They gradually moved themselves into their proper places except for one renegade chapter which kept slipping from quadrangle to quadrangle until he finally pinned it down “in this far reach of the book” (p. 597). He calls it the Black Hole and, after a suitable introduction, it turns out to be the Shandyean black page, with the instruction to the reader to scrape away the portion of ink that isn’t the topic to let the chapter stand revealed (pp. 598–99). 12. Edward S. Casey, The Fate of Place: A Philosophical History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), p. xii. See also Andro Linklater, Measuring America: How the United States Was Shaped by the Greatest Land Sale in History (London: HarperCollins, 2002). 13. See Peter Hulme, “Patagonian Cases: Travel Writing, Fiction, History”, in Seuils & Traverses: Enjeux de l’écriture du voyage, vol. II, ed. Jan Borm (Brest: Centre de Recherche Bretonne et Celtique, 2002), pp. 223–37.

Deep Maps  147 14. Wendell Berry, The Long-Legged House [1965] (Washington, DC: Shoemaker and Hoard, 2004), p. 140. 15. Interview in Price, “Native Dreams”, p. 130. 16. See Rob Nixon, “Environmentalism and Postcolonialism”, in Postcolonial Studies and Beyond, eds. Ania Loomba, Suvir Kaul, Matti Bunzl, Antoinette Burton and Jed Esty (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005), pp. 233–51. 17. Quoted by Price, “Native Dreams”, p. 95, with no reference.

10 Making It Move The Aboriginal in the Whitefella’s Artifact Tim Youngs

I In 1984, artist Krim Benterrak, a Moroccan Berber resident in Australia since 1977, white Australian academic Stephen Muecke, and Aboriginal Australian Paddy Roe published Reading the Country: Introduction to Nomadology, dedicating the volume “To the/nomads of Broome, always there and/always on the move”.1 Movement sets the course of the book. Hearing Aborigine Paddy Roe’s expression for the production of Aboriginal culture, “We must make these things move”, Muecke “reflect[s] on the potentially static nature of our project: the production of a white man’s artifact, a book” and asks himself, “How could I make this thing move?” (RC 26). Muecke attempts to resolve the dilemma of representing an Aboriginal voice in a “whitefella artifact” by developing a text that employs a number of aesthetic forms and by negotiating the politics of these, aiming to preserve their differences while making them complement one another.2 In its sixty short chapters (covering 280 pages), Reading the Country draws together Muecke’s academic prose, his photographs of the landscape and of the main figures mentioned in his narrative, others’ maps, Benterrak’s abstract, colour paintings of the land, and Roe’s memories and observations, transcribed by Muecke to give an impression of Roe’s speech rhythms. The procedure adopted in Reading the Country is important for two main reasons. First, through its formal experiments, its introduction of multiple perspectives, and its engagement with Aboriginal ideas of movement, it represents an implicit challenge to the travel narratives associated with European expansion, in which western protagonists move among peoples who are viewed as immobile by comparison (a trend still strongly present in post-imperial narratives). Second, it may be seen as characteristically Australian: Robyn Davidson has written that in Aboriginal philosophy the metaphorical possibilities of the journey “extended to include the earth itself—Australia is a travel narrative”.3 Given the role of ‘discovery’, migration, and tourism in the modern history of the continent, it is difficult not to think of Australia as a travel narrative in a broader sense also.4 In the words of the editors of an anthology of Australian travel writing:

Making It Move  149 Travel has always been central to the experience of living in Australia and to giving that life a meaning. For Aboriginal Australians, identity was—for many still is—bound up in the travelling of the land; possession was confirmed not by a title deed but in the very movement from place to place. Non-Aboriginal Australians defined themselves through a different form of travel, an experience or folk memory of migration.5 Through an examination of Muecke’s strategies for presenting mobile perspectives on the land, the discussion that follows considers the role played by the Australian experience in motivating Muecke to make the whitefella artifact move, to outline the methods by which he tries to accomplish this, and to ask whether he is able to adapt textual forms more than he is controlled by them. While the focus of the chapter is on a single text, Muecke’s work provokes questions that apply to the writing and reading of narratives of place and travel more generally. II Muecke begins Reading the Country by explaining that Roebuck Plains in North-West Australia was inhabited a century before by the Aboriginal people, the Yawur, now merged into the Asian/Australian population of nearby Broome. He tells us that Paddy Roe, a Nyigina man, is the person who knows most about Roebuck Plains and was born there at the time white people first came to the country with their sheep. Except for the sounds of birds and cattle and of fences and windmills being built, the Plains are silent now and have been for quite a while. Only white people still live there permanently, and they run a Brahman cattle stud. Muecke is careful to let us know that he has been asked by Paddy Roe to write a book about his country: “It was Paddy Roe initially who had this desire to speak, to tell the story of his country once again” (RC 15). One of Muecke’s aims in Reading the Country is to show that there is no single way of understanding or representing the land, but his desire to make reparation to the dispossessed and the displaced sits uncomfortably with the methods by which he does so. Among those who have criticised Muecke, insinuating that the latter’s uneasy conscience has him abasing himself before the Aborigine, is J. J. Healy, who writes of the “twinge-cringe” that appears at “those central moments when the literature [of Australia] touches on the experience of the Aborigine”.6 Muecke is, however, sharply aware of the dangers of being seen to exploit the Aborigines. He captions one of his photographs: “A considerable amount of money has been made by people taking photographs of Aborigines. How much did people like Butcher Joe get paid?” (RC 68, italics in the original). He highlights the academic appropriation of indigenous peoples, pointing out that while the only entry under Paddy Roe’s name in the library of the

150  Tim Youngs Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies is his book of stories, Gularabulu, “[his] knowledge has been distributed under the names of experts: anthropologists, archaeologists, linguists and public servants” (RC 265, n. 44). By contrast, Muecke strives to put academic discourse at Roe’s service. He does not deny that his own work has obtained authority from Roe, but insists that Roe has gained something from him too: “If he gave me some of his aura, I also let him have some of mine, which was whitefella, university even, authority. It was a reciprocal thing.”7 Although it is impossible objectively to measure the balance of this reciprocity, Muecke’s efforts to assemble a text that is more equitable and more collaborative, invite an assessment of the extent to which he successfully adapts the available textual forms for his purposes and a consideration of the implications of his experiment for travel literature beyond Australia. III Muecke describes his own role in the production of Reading the Country as “that of writer, photographer and coordinator of the others’ work”. Roe’s voice, Benterrak’s paintings, Muecke’s photographs and prose, all “represent in different ways, from different positions, the one constant—Roebuck Plains—this is the country we will be ‘reading’ ” (RC 24, italics in original). The collaborative nature of the book, crucial to its politics, is apparent from the start, not only in the presence (in alphabetical order) of the names of Benterrak, Muecke, and Roe on the cover and title page, but in the additional attribution on the title page: “with Ray Keogh, Butcher Joe (Nangan), E. M. Lohe”. In the Acknowledgements, Muecke writes that these three “made visible contributions”, that “[m]any people contributed to the production of this book”, and that the work of the Press’s editor and of friends and readers “confirmed for us the idea that authorship is not a private matter”. The notion of joint authorship contrasts with the individualistic narration of most travel writing and is a symptom both of trends in contemporary literary theory that stress the desirability of multivocality and collaboration, and of revisionist Australian history, which restores to the narrative of the continent the presence of Aborigines. Both of these developments influence Muecke’s experimental text that aims to restore multiple perspectives on the histories of place and travel. These concerns continue to inform Muecke’s subsequent work. A fictocritical essay on Gulaga, Mt. Dromedary, on the South Coast of New South Wales “performs the idea of multiple travels and stories/histories”. In juxtaposing Cook’s account against that of the local Aboriginal people, the Yuin, Muecke offers both in such a way that “[n]either is given more authority”.8 The idea is to position different narratives alongside one another without according any of them power over the others. This also entails a rejection of linearity: The recognition of pre-existing, Aboriginal stories undermines

Making It Move  151 narratives of ‘discovery’, both because the so-called discoverers, explorers, and pioneers arrived at places already known to indigenous peoples and because the European arrivals were assimilated into the stories of the latter: They say that when the British arrived in their boats, the blackfellas thought they saw pale ghosts. They must have been their ancestors coming back. Not first arrivals, pioneers, how could they be? These whitefellas were the eternally present ancestors. Just as Cook, coming in to Hawai’i in the right season and from the right direction, was transformed into Lono.9 European narratives are identified as chronological and linear, unlike the circular narratives of Aborigines.10 In “Gulaga Story” Muecke emphasises that there “is not just one time-line”,11 a fact he underlines by describing his Aborigine guide steering a four-wheel-drive up the mountain and discussing George W. Bush and the “New World Order”.12 Muecke is strongly opposed to those who would perpetuate the dichotomy of the primitive and the modern (or the postmodern). He shows that the Aborigines inhabit the modern, globalised world, and in Ancient & Modern illustrates the complicated coexistence of tradition and modernity by quoting Renato Rosaldo: “Is an asphalt road modern? If a traditional peddler is walking on a modern road, does the road become more traditional or the peddler more modern? Both, either, neither?” (A&M ix) IV This meeting of elements that are often thought to inhabit different spatial and temporal zones is reflected in Reading the Country. Muecke’s arrangement of the various voices and images creates an alternative to uni-directional, monological accounts. A chapter headed: “How Shall We Write History?” reminds us that Muecke is writing in a context in which “[i]t is only recently that the chronology of Australian history has been pushed back beyond 1788” (RC 144). Heather Goodall has noted that “ ‘Sharing histories’ has been a key goal of Australian Reconciliation and it has proved to be as ambiguous and problematic as the Reconciliation process itself.”13 Reading the Country precedes or rather anticipates the process of Reconciliation that formally began in 1991.14 While “[t]he hope [of Reconciliation] is for a sum total which will produce a unified, consensual account”,15 Goodall discovers from her interviewees during a three-year study that “virtually none of the Indigenous respondents were interested in moving rapidly towards a simple, linear, coherent narrative of ‘Australian’ history to which all could lay claim”.16 Instead, they emphasised their role as custodians and storytellers and saw the function of Reconciliation as being to provide a forum for indigenous voices to be heard respectfully. That “Aboriginal historians

152  Tim Youngs find conventional historical narrative an inadequate form for understanding the contradictions of Aboriginal survival” has been noticed too by Lyndall Ryan, who comments that “Aboriginal historians also write within the traditions of discontinuous narrative, stream of consciousness and fractured time, associated with modernist writers like Proust and Joyce.”17 V In asking: “How, then, shall we write the history of Roebuck Plains?”, Muecke suggests some alternatives. Great individuals, he writes, might traditionally include King William II, who sent William Dampier on a second trip after being impressed with his account of his first voyage to New Holland, published in 1697 (RC 145), but might include Paddy Roe, the “first person of Aboriginal descent in the Broome region to have a driver’s licence”, and who “is said to have blood connections with the pioneering Roe family of Western Australia” (RC 146). Muecke then reproduces what seems to be the first official European map of the Roebuck Plains area from 1884 (RC 146) and a document showing an application for the lease or licence of pastoral lands (RC 147). He contrasts European and Aboriginal ideas of ownership of the land and provides a list of lessees of up to a million acres of land from 1885 to the book’s present. In the 1970s, individual and family names are replaced by Roebuck Plains Holdings Pty. Ltd. This is contrasted with the history of the Aboriginal tribes of the area: the Yawur, Djugun, and Nyigina people. Muecke proceeds to give two quite different accounts of the economic history of the Roebuck Plains. He begins by offering a short paragraph: “Economics”, on one of the early settlers, Streeter, who “was the first to realize that money could be earned quickly” at the land base for the pearling fleet, and who employed George Roe, son of the first Surveyor General, to build his store and residence. Streeter took up a lease that he called Roebuck Downs to supply his butcher shop.18 Muecke follows this with a five-and-a-half-page interview: “Economics II”, which he and Benterrak conducted with Paddy Roe. The first paragraph is Roe speaking thus: Before the white fellas   no station nothing   no station just, just the country   oh mighta been some sort a station some other place   ’cos Roebuck Plain didn’ have station   nothing   but Roebuck Plain station was in diff’ren’ place in ah top Lumangan, Lumangan Station, that further up in Derby Road   then they come back an’ build this one then. Stephen: Roebuck Plains? Roebuck Plains (RC 149)

Making It Move  153 Roe, “who says that his biological father was one ‘Georgie Roe’ ” (RC 267, n.77), then recounts his early working life. He describes how he and his workmates used to be paid only five shillings a year and would spend three of them on one trip to town when they would watch a film. They worked mainly for rations, Roe repairing windmills and shearing sheep. Pressed by Benterrak, he admits that the boss made a lot of money and “we work for nothing” (RC 151), but remarks that “[w]e was quite happy long as we get some tucker and all these sort of things” (RC 152). In those days, Roe explains, money was nothing to them and they had little need of it. He recounts how he would run away from the station for another when refused permission to leave. He would always be found and brought back. Muecke lets his and Benterrak’s questions leave room for Roe, who does not allow himself to be portrayed as a victim in the way that Benterrak’s questions in particular would imply. Instead, Roe chuckles at his own certainty that his boss’s determination not to let him go was proof of his value to his employer, who would then treat him better. This suited Roe, as he did not want to leave the land to which he was close. His speech presents him as agent rather than victim. That it is unclear how far it is Muecke’s organisation of the narrative that bestows agency on Roe, and how far it is Roe’s own words, is a further indication of the ambiguities inherent in Reading the Country; ambiguities due in large part to the circumstance noted by White, that “Australia is both colonised and colonising”.19 VI Despite Roe having trusted Muecke and Benterrak to “provide a context for his words, and [having] done, to the best of our abilities, what we knew how to do, working in our own spheres of activity”, Muecke admits that “I still think that my work encloses Paddy’s and Krim’s too much” (RC 258). Muecke is aware that he may be seen to be incorporating Roe’s words but he returns to the idea of movement to propose a way out: Paddy Roe’s texts can be read independently (and must be read) as paradoxically included in the book, and thus incorporated in the broader culture, but extending before and beyond the covers (already crossing the country before the book was thought of), one word after the other like footsteps: lively spoken words. (RC 27) In this concern to preserve Paddy Roe’s independence and to subordinate the book to his prior and continuing existence, Reading the Country would seem to mark a departure from the conventional travel narrative in which a single (white) author surveys the land, offering an authoritative view of it. (That is still a common pattern, with individual western travellers defining for their readers the character of the cultures through which they briefly

154  Tim Youngs move.) Muecke is not—and does not want to be—monarch of all he surveys. But the polyphony that replaces this trope seems to contain a contradiction. On one hand, Muecke aspires to complement the voice of Aboriginal communities, in which stories of place are produced collectively in a “contrapuntal polyphonic style”, and authority is deferred to the next custodian (RC 81) in contrast to the individual ownership practised in non-indigenous culture. Muecke would say later that: sometimes one can’t finish a story because the next part is ‘owned’ by the next person down the line. These are protocols that are observed in the Aboriginal systems, and I tried to incorporate them in Reading the Country.20 On the other hand, the philosophy and aesthetics that have influenced Muecke are European, and in particular French. He took a Master’s degree in Linguistics in Paris in the mid-1970s and grew interested in French theories of narrative. Paul Dawson notes Muecke’s reminiscence “that in 1972 Barthes’ Mythologies had provided him with an epiphany, that it represented some new form of writing, which he could not at the time define”.21 Lyndall Ryan makes a fascinating if provocative comparison of Reading the Country with eighteenth-century French explorers’ accounts of Tasmania: just as these “contained significant quotes from the French philosophers to guide the explorers in ‘reading’ different peoples and landscapes, so Reading the Country contains quotes from the present-day male French philosophers, Barthes, Attali, Derrida, Bachelard, Foucault and Baudrillard, to add another dimension to the reading of the Roebuck Plains”.22 Muecke himself states: “One of the purposes of this book is to attempt to put into practice theories of reading which have appeared recently in cultural, literary and political studies” (RC 18). There is clearly a problem here. We are faced not with an instance of the colonised using the tools of the colonial master to undermine him, but with a representative of colonial power deciding that the coloniser’s tools are appropriate ones to employ for the recovery of voices and views obscured by European expansion.23 At the very least, there is an irony in this remedy. Yet Muecke has also written that: It is not a question of getting the theory right . . . It is a question of reserving a place at the negotiating table and then listening. Reading the Country created such a place in the domain of Australian literature for Paddy Roe, and the book is an archive of his words, maps and images more than it is an application of any sort of theory.24 Muecke’s confident statement here suggests that he does not see all this as contradictory, or at least, not as a flawed contradiction. The fact remains, however, that Reading the Country is more than an archive of Roe’s maps, words, and images, and that without the strong influence of French cultural

Making It Move  155 theory on Muecke it would either not exist or would take a very different form. According to Muecke, the poetry of Reading the Country is one: that responds to our times. It is a poetry of fragmentation, contradiction, unanswered questions, specificity, fluidity and change. We [Benterrak, Muecke, Roe] are three different people from three different cultures . . . drawn together (with our different ways of expressing ourselves) by a concern for one thing which remains constant in spite of everything: Roebuck Plains. Our speaking, writing and painting is in response, therefore, to what might be called a ‘politics of place’. (RC 15–16) But of course those ideas of fragmentation, contradiction, and fluidity are also indicative of postmodern thought, just as the practice of assembling different stories alongside one another is a recognisable feature of (but not unique to) postmodern writing. The question therefore arises of whether the Aborigines are now called into textual being by European thought, just as it was European ideas that silenced them previously.25 In other words, this might not be redress or reconciliation so much as readmission on the master’s terms. VII In The Post-Colonial Exotic, Graham Huggan, paraphrasing Sonia Kurtzer, writes that “the increasing attention being paid to Aboriginal literature in Australia is not necessarily the sign of a new multicultural openness; rather, it registers ‘the [conventional] desires of the hegemonic culture to hear “authentic” tales of the “other” ’, preferably in accordance with those tales and images of otherness already possessed”.26 It cannot fairly be said that Reading the Country recycles old, familiar images of Aborigines, but it is not so easy to dismiss the impression that Muecke is attracted by the authenticity of the exotic. In particular, he gives Roe’s speech the appearance of poetry and his own and Benterrak’s of prose. For the most part, Roe’s speech is written in short lines with dashes at the end of each and with the lines grouped into stanzas. Here, too, though, Muecke is in some ways trapped by the limits of his discipline, wanting to convey the nature of Roe’s speech more faithfully than early ethnographies have managed to do with their Aborigine subjects. In his introduction to an earlier book, Gularabulu, a collection of Roe’s stories, Muecke explained that: The texts are divided into lines whenever the narrator pauses. The length of these pauses is indicated by one dash per second of pause. Hesitations in mid-line, at which points the breath is held at the glottis, are indicated by commas.27

156  Tim Youngs The poetic rendering counters the common racist charge that the Aborigines are culture-less, but it risks reinforcing stereotypes of the ‘primitive’ as an antidote to a sterile, prosaic, white culture. Further, in Reading the Country, where the men are in dialogue with each other, the page assumes the appearance of a playscript. While this may be true of any transcript of an interview, the sense of dialogue created here is greater than in most travel narratives and histories, in which speech is recorded (if directly at all) more briefly. The impression of drama is appropriate, for Muecke has written elsewhere that to be successful one has to bring one’s subject to life, which means that the writing should be performative. It is not enough that history writing makes the strange familiar; what it should do is “take into account . . . the different representational, performative and conceptual/philosophical strategies of Aboriginal versus Western culture”. There needs to be “attention to performance, the mimetic power of history enacted and re-enacted” (A&M, 40). Muecke stresses the participatory, collaborative nature of Aboriginal culture (RC 272), but in his claim that “the practice of Paddy Roe’s culture fits in better with an understanding of the dialogical nature of language and of the text as polyphonic (an amalgam of different voices)” (RC 272) he might be accused of forcing that fit; of interpreting Aboriginal lifeways through an alien European intellectual culture in a process similar to that of a century before, if with very different motives, sensibilities, and results. To posit this is not to condemn Muecke: we cannot convincingly pretend that our intellectual frameworks do not exist, but it is to propose a critical look at the academic models by which we aim to achieve more accurate and fairer representations of the other. VIII “According to Muecke,” notes Paul Dawson, “the analysis or the expression of marginality in the academy lends itself to experimental writing.”28 In Reading the Country, the most obvious experiments involve bricolage and ficto-criticism. Indeed, “Bricolage” forms the title of one of the chapters. In it, Muecke writes that “Bricolage, in any form, sets up a double vision, it forces a juxtaposition of forms, and new meanings must emerge”. “Bricolage is thus disruptive of what we expect to always perceive as ‘the normal’ ”. It “does not seek continuity or harmony in a world of discontinuity and inequality”. Thus, in Muecke’s view, “Paddy Roe’s storytelling, as it has been written down here, stands as a bricolage of standard English and Aboriginal languages” (RC, 171–72). Muecke identifies what he describes as two errors that are easy to make in reading Roe’s speech: one is to see Aboriginal English as a “bastard” version of standard English; the other is to “overcorrect it in writing it down”, failing to indicate sufficiently its difference from standard English (RC 171). Muecke claims that Roe has things to say that are not normally expressed

Making It Move  157 in standard English and that his way of expressing them gives them meaning. To edit out the repetitions, the inflections, and the gestures “would be to banish the Aboriginality from the texts” (RC 171). Of course, while Muecke focuses his discussion of bricolage on Roe, his remarks apply to Reading the Country as a book. The combination and juxtaposition of Roe’s stories, Benterrak’s paintings, and Muecke’s expository prose themselves constitute bricolage. There can, in these postcolonial and postmodern times, be no single way of reading or writing the country. Muecke has written elsewhere that “[d]ecolonisation . . . is about the creation of a new assemblage” (A&M 48), and this is what the bricolage in Reading the Country aims at. Healy suggests that Muecke’s bricolage makes a virtue of non-assertion that aims at redressing white wrongs but which “becomes . . . a guerrilla strategy, for the insertion of white need/desire, haunted by the humiliation of inauthentic presence on the Continent, into the full, rich, interior spaces of Aboriginal Australia”.29 It may be impossible to refute the accusation that, like other whites in his position, Muecke is guilty of using the figure of the Aborigine to atone for past collective sins. However, his concern is not to replace one authority with another but to show multiple outlooks and experiences in coexistence. In adapting textual techniques to accomplish this, Muecke opens up a space in which different traditions and narratives jostle against or complement one another. One of the main methods by which Muecke achieves this is through the rubbing together of two broad forms of literary discourse, fiction and essay, in the blend labelled ficto-criticism, which Helen Flavell has explained is used in the Australian academy primarily to signify “a critical act that incorporates creative effects”.30 Muecke has described ficto-criticism as: “deform[ing] the limits of literary genres, working both within and beyond them”.31 Referring to Muecke’s experimental No Road (1997),32 Dawson has written of how: the metaphor of a “space between” generic boundaries . . . has become the prevailing trope of fictocritical discourse. The work presented here is often fragmentary, and “experimental”, seeming to shift between fiction and essay.33 On Muecke’s website, No Road is proclaimed as the first ficto-critical monograph to be published in Australia,34 but Reading the Country shares some of its characteristics,35 and they certainly apply to “Gulaga Story”, with which “fictocritical essay”, to use Muecke’s own label, that book has affinities. Dawson notes that Muecke was one of the co-ordinators of a new Masters degree at the University of Technology, Sydney, and hoped to encourage ficto-criticism and other new forms of writing.36 Muecke’s explanation of No Road, which has been proclaimed “[a] radically new way of writing about Australia”,37 further illuminates the purpose of the form he chooses: “It struck me that the difficult coexistence of

158  Tim Youngs different—Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal—knowledges [sic] poses such a challenge for understanding that writing has to cut across the usual boundaries and categories.”38 The verb used to describe the writing emphasises its active role: it does not drift across or between boundaries but slices its way through them. The book, which draws on Muecke’s previously published work, consists of essays, travel sections, letters (including one from his wife, Patience), photographs, research, and memoir. Most chapters are brief, often a little over or under a page. As with Reading the Country, connections between writing and journeying are made throughout; for example: “Writing can be moving, trips in intensity even when sitting still” (NR 16); “Words are like footsteps” (NR 194); and: The linearity of the road is homologous with the linear drive of the text, but the deep narrative is what has interested me as I write and drive, drive and write, so the two almost become the same thing. Australia is a country where the deep indigenous narrative lines have been confused by the imposition of another grid of lines. (NR 192) Muecke aims to give his book an appearance that suits the particular kind of movement it describes as he travels on his researches, but this is not simply a literary exercise. He keeps material factors in view: Ayers Rock—and I begin the necessary digression which the fragmentary narrative of tourism demands, texts no bigger than postcards— seen on the way to the Bungles is a mere pimple on the face of Australia, but it is vested with such significance that it draws forty million tourist dollars a year; the Aboriginal Community gets only about $130,000 of that. (NR 33) His journey in No Road is also a “quest for cultural identity” (NR 78), and the distinctively Australian setting is especially evident in the Newtown passage. In a short section, a page in length, titled “take a walk”, in which an unnamed family (Muecke’s own, we learn later) strolls down King Street in Newtown, Sydney, Muecke finds that: I can’t help thinking about de Certeau: space is a practised place. The street, geometrically defined by urban planning, is transformed into a space by walkers. I am thinking, now less innocently, about history and demography. These lands around King Street all once belonged to Governor Bligh, of Bounty fame. Down the hill towards the Everleigh railway yards bushrangers used to spur their horses. Here, near St Stephen’s church, is a tree with a plaque: Mogo’s Tree, a marker of the original inhabitants

Making It Move  159 . . . how has this place been transformed into different kinds of spaces by different practices? We are practicing being ourselves, as it were, in a place which I identify with as ‘home’: but there are concentric circles of engagement—Australia, a locality within Australia, an appreciation of one thing, an intolerance of another . . . (NR 124, ellipses in original) This sense of historical transformation, of “[c]ultures trying to coexist in the same country, the same space”, contributes to Muecke’s thinking that “space is curved, there are strange attractions, so the lines curve in parallel, sometimes almost meeting, sometimes shooting off” (NR 16–17). Yet, like Reading the Country, Muecke’s walk in Newtown—or at least his writing of his walk—owes as much to European theory as to Australian experience. Muecke acknowledges in particular the influence of Barthes (NR 171).39 But such detours are neither to be concealed nor to be thought contradictory, for: to know is not to perish quickly in the deserts of endless deferral of meaning, but getting to know may mean leaving home and getting lost for a while, to admit that there may not be a road going anywhere that we all agree on, but that somewhere along that road is a local guide who knows a story we may never have heard before . . . (NR 130) For all of Muecke’s experimental attempts to give voice and representation to the Aboriginal presence, that presence is mediated through European theory. Even the desire to make it visible and audible is stimulated by that theory (though it might be argued that the theory is responding to the ThirdWorld liberation movements that have fed into postcolonial thought). But the irony goes deeper. Australia, as a postcolonial society, has an ambivalent relationship with Europe. In a review of No Road, David Brooks has commented on the probability that any Australians writing about the book will find themselves amid: all the old paradoxes of Australia’s relation to theory . . . that we theorize our own (only partly postcolonial) predicaments with theories fashioned in the very imperial centres—Paris, London, New York—that we seek at the same time to turn our back upon; that we are attempting, with a bricolage of or from such theories, to undo—but also to build, to construct our own sense of ourselves and our situation.40 This is intellectual evidence of the condition summarised by Pesman et al: “The sense of being Australian for non-Aboriginal Australians has involved a comparison with somewhere else a world away—most often England or a generalised Europe, but also frequently Asia or the United States.”41 One might apply to Muecke’s projects Richard White’s comment on all other efforts to render the country:

160  Tim Youngs we will never arrive at the ‘real’ Australia. From the attempts of others to get there, we can learn much about the travellers and the journey itself, but nothing about the destination. There is none.42 A further irony is that White’s refusal of knowledge about the ‘real’ and his emphasis on the traveller and journey—on the narrative subject, rather than on the object—are themselves products of western thought. The idea of unknowability expressed in the preceding quotation derives from postmodernism and in particular from poststructuralist notions of deferral. These, along with the self-reflexivity of postmodern ethnography, have similar origins to ideas that have shaped the thought of Muecke, who declines to see his own text as lying at the endpoint of a progress in attitudes and representation. “The conditions for enlightenment still exist”, he writes (RC 118), placing his text on the same footing as the writings of a white Englishwoman, Ada Janet Peggs, whose letters home from Australia at the turn of the century were organised into an article on “ ‘the manners and customs of the native races’ ”, which appeared in the journal of the Folklore Society in 1903 under the title: “Notes on the Aborigines of Roebuck Bay, Western Australia” (RC 113 and 267, n. 60). Comparing Reading the Country to her writing, Muecke declares that, like her, “we are all spinners of texts”. Her text may seem inadequate in 1984 but, he asks, “is this text any better? It has appropriated Mrs Peggs’ text and woven it into its own design in the same way she appropriated the [Aborigines’] artifacts; an assumed right to criticise and quote” (RC 118). Mrs Peggs’ text, he goes on, was seen in its own day as an enlightened response to colonial experience (RC 118). Thus Muecke’s text does not rest on a confident sense of its own moral superiority, but instead proclaims its awareness of its own historical context, not simply to explain its approach but to acknowledge its own limitations; to admit that it will be superseded, but by something that will, in turn, bear the marks of its own time. Muecke’s refusal to situate his work at the end of a path of enlightenment finds a complement in his view of nomadism. For Muecke, to write nomadically means “writ[ing] a book sensitive to Aboriginal understandings of the country . . . constantly deferring its authority to other sites and their guardians” (RC 23). In Reading the Country, there are signs that Muecke is ambivalent about nomadism. He is attracted to the concept and to its metaphorical meanings, but recognises that it can constitute a romanticised misinterpretation of Aboriginal lifeways. He has been influenced by Deleuze and Guattari’s theorising around nomadism,43 but will not apply postmodern concerns where he thinks they will not fit. For example, he explains that nomadology was not a useful term when applying the ethnographic gaze to the cultures in and around Broome: But if my subject was cultural exchange and the (mis)matching of ‘Western’ and Aboriginal knowledges, and if my subject was also ‘how to

Making It Move  161 write a book about these things’, then the concept came more into its own. I was also using it to poke fun at ‘ologies’, to point out some of the inadequacies of the social sciences. For instance: research as singular, uni-directional and non-collaborative, the univocal text, the inflexibility of the structuralist theoretical model. For me the nomadic had yet another use, and that was connected with grammatology. It was about writing. In general, as the deferral and deflection of desire, flickering perceptions of presence and absence. That is why the dedication is cast as a paradox.44 Muecke highlights that paradox in an interview near the end of the book when he asks Roe if he has ever heard the word “nomad”. Roe mishears or mistakes the word for “Mahomet”, “No maid”, and “No made” (RC, 236–37) before replying: “Er no, oh I might have” and, “Yeah move around all the time yeah that’s right that’s right Oh that’s the er er that’s what that word say?” (RC 237). The effect is to show that the Aborigines’ lives are not contained by another culture’s word for their habits. Roe’s answer makes the word seem almost irrelevant. In a later interview, Muecke spells out that readers who have reached this part of the book will realise that his dedication “used ‘nomad’ in an ironic sense—as an anthropological typology the notion was already discredited. . . . the term—or concept—has no local currency; Paddy Roe had to have me explain it to him”.45 And in “Gulaga Story”, Muecke refers to “blackfella modes of travel in their own country, what has inaccurately been designated ‘nomadism’ ”.46 If there is a contradiction in Muecke’s qualified application of nomadism, he attempts to resolve it by turning the idea of exploitation in the reverse direction: that is to say, since the metaphor could be taken to exploit Aborigines, Muecke states of Reading the Country that “the book has appropriated nomadology as a metaphor, as an idea and a way of being” (RC 253). This kind of reversal establishes Muecke as an orchestrator moving things around. If Reading the Country goes some way to showing that “for the Aboriginal inhabitant the Plains are a moving text” (RC 101), and demonstrates that, for all the usual textual constraints, the “whitefella artifact” can be made to move, then Muecke is the prime mover. His role may mimic that of the Aborigine: “In Aboriginal country bodies are integrated with places via stories” (A&M 50), Muecke would write later. In Reading the Country, his performance in moving things around integrates his body with his text. But his effort to incorporate body and text, to make “this thing move”, to restore the perspective of the Aborigine alongside that of the dominant white narrative, is at once a sign of his intent to join with the Aborigine and of his difference. In all this we may observe the process described by Richard White: Throughout its white history, there have been countless attempts to get Australia down on paper and to catch its essence . . . This they call

162  Tim Youngs Australian, but it is more likely to reflect the hopes, fears or needs of its inventor.47 With this idea we are back to what a number of critics have said of travel writing: that it discloses more of its subject than its object. In the end, Reading the Country is as much about, and the product of, Muecke’s own travels as it is Roe’s. While its genesis may lie partly or wholly in Muecke’s time at the Sorbonne, the result of his own mobility as an academic, one should remember that his text was first published in 1984, predating by some years many more celebrated postcolonial texts. For all its contradictions (many of them acknowledged by Muecke himself), it represents an example of the Australian contributions to travel and postcolonial studies that have been largely eclipsed by the productions of the US and European academy, despite the early impetus given to postcolonialism by Australian scholars such as Bill Ashcroft and Helen Tiffin. In that sense, as well as in the ways described, Muecke’s text looks both ways: within and outside Australia. As Muecke writes in No Road: “The Aboriginal Other has long occupied a place of psychic denial in Australian national consciousness” (NR 227). Recognising Aboriginality, he states, “will help forge a new postcolonial Australia” (NR 237). It is true that Muecke, as the coordinator of Reading the Country, may not altogether escape the critical observation (made in general, not of him specifically) by Aborigine, Michael Dodson: “Our constructed identities have served a broader purpose of reflecting back to the colonising culture what it wanted or needed to see in itself.”48 But Dodson has written against the idea of an essential Aboriginal identity: I cannot stand here, even as an Aboriginal person, and say what Aboriginality is. To do so would be a violation of the right to self-determination and the right of peoples to establish their own identity. It would also be to fall into the trap of allowing Aboriginality to be another fixed category. And more than enough “fixing” has already occurred.49 In an essay collected in the same volume as Dodson’s, Sonja Kurtzer writes of Muecke’s awareness of the constraints on Aboriginal self-expression, constraints imposed by the expectations both of white and Aboriginal audiences.50 Muecke has not let the existence of those constraints prevent him from approaching the Aborigine, and in doing so he has shown something of what lies in and around the path. For all the impediments noted by Muecke himself and by his critics, his writing has the capacity to make his readers move too. The lack of fixity induces intellectual movement—motion that is not intended to take place only in a rarefied zone: “The text is part of the real world, the real world is a text”, Muecke insists; “[m]etaphors, figures of speech, are real becomings” (NR 231). That quotation comes from a section titled: “Australia, for example”. If, as this chapter has argued, Muecke opens up and expands the often maligned genre of the travel text, then it

Making It Move  163 is appropriate that this should have happened in a country of which it has been said that the borders between travel writing and other literary genres are more blurred than elsewhere.51 There have been, and will continue to be, arguments over Muecke’s collaboration with Roe, but even criticism of their book has Muecke returning to the idea of movement. Expressing his hope that public debate and support “can lead to some kind of meaningful and useful basis for our understanding of the country”, Muecke concedes: “Of course you have no final control over the way others will want to perceive your work or the directions in which they will want to take it” (RC 260, my italics). One direction would be to conclude that here are mixed the Barthesian death of the author and the Aboriginal handing of the story to the next person down the line. Notes 1. Krim Benterrak, Stephen Muecke, and Paddy Roe, Reading the Country: Introduction to Nomadology [1984] (South Fremantle: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1996), p. 7. Further references are to the 1996 revised edition and will be given parenthetically as RC, followed by the page number. 2. The term “whitefella artifact” is quoted from Stephen Muecke, Ancient & Modern: Time, Culture and Indigenous Philosophy (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2004), p. 105. Further references to this text will be given parenthetically as A&M, followed by the page number. By the different aesthetics I mean the presence of Benterrak’s paintings and Muecke’s photographs and the conjunction of Muecke’s academic prose with his rendering of Roe’s speech, but also the cultural traditions to which each of these belongs. My chapter is concerned primarily with the prose features of Reading the Country. 3. Robyn Davidson, ed., The Picador Book of Journeys (London: Picador, 2001), p. 4. 4. I do not mean by this that Australia is literally a travel narrative, but that travels of various kinds are so fundamental to how the continent is conceived that one’s understanding of the place becomes inseparable from an understanding of travels within, to, and from it. Australian historian Richard White remarks, for example, that “[p]erhaps Australia has always been a land more travelled than settled. The tensions between mobility and settlement have dominated the experience of the land for both the indigenous people and the European invaders. The land itself demanded more travel than most lands, to manage it and survive in it through the extremities of drought and good seasons, and, since 1788, to exploit it for industrial capitalism. So when the experience of the land came to be recorded, it is not surprising that so much of it appeared as forms of travel writing.” “Travel, Writing and Australia”, Studies in Travel Writing 11, no. 1 (March 2007): 1–14 (at p.1). 5. Ros Pesman, David Walker, and Richard White, eds., The Oxford Book of Australian Travel Writing (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. ix. 6. J. J. Healy, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Literature as Treaty Stance Before Aboriginal Australia, A Consideration, in the Main, of the Benterrak, Muecke, Roe book Reading the Country”, Journal of Popular Culture 23, no. 2 (Fall 1989): 33–45 (at p. 33). 7. Chris Healy, “Moving Around: An Interview with Stephen Muecke”, Meanjin 58, no. 3 (1999): 174–91 (at p. 178).

164  Tim Youngs 8. Stephen Muecke, “Gulaga Story”, Studies in Travel Writing, 11, no. 1 (2007): 83–91, quotations from Muecke’s abstract (at p. 83). 9. Muecke, “Gulaga Story”, pp. 83–4. Similarly, see Pat Hohepa, “My Musket, My Missionary, and My Mana”, in Alex Calder, Jonathan Lamb, and Bridget Orr, eds., Voyages and Beaches: Pacific Encounters, 1769–1840 (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1999), pp. 180–201. 10. “Travelling whitefellas tend to think in lines, like the roads they eventually build and drive along, like the chronological histories they tell.” Muecke, “Gulaga Story”, p. 84. Denis Byrne has written of how, “In Australia . . . the colonial cadastral grid made an ‘instantaneous’ appearance in the Aboriginal landscape. It gave no recognition to pre-existing Aboriginal boundaries or spatial conventions, let alone to any form of pre-existing Aboriginal land title. Rather, as part of the imperial machinery, it assimilated colonial terrain to metropolitan terrain by imposing the same generic grid of counties, parishes, and rectangular ‘holdings’ onto it” (“Nervous Landscapes: Race and Space in Australia”, Journal of Social Archaeology 3, no. 2 [2003]: 169–93 [at p. 172]). 11. Muecke, “Gulaga Story”, p. 90. 12. “I don’t know if Yuin is pre-industrial or not, but she’s handling the 4WD pretty well. And certainly things of the world from far and wide are getting folded into her tour-guide talk”. Muecke, “Gulaga Story”, p. 86. 13. Heather Goodall, “Too Early Yet or Not Soon Enough? Reflections on Sharing Histories as Process”, Australian Historical Studies 33, no. 118 (2002): 7–24, (at p. 7). 14. Muecke observes that “The 1992 Mabo decision represents a radical change in how the country is perceived in Australia; terra nullius is no longer a valid concept” (A&M 11). “Named after Eddie Mabo from the Torres Strait Islands, this High Court decision . . . recognised for the first time that the people of Murray Island retained a title to their land that was not extinguished by the annexation of their island to the state of Queensland, thereby effectively cancelling the legalistic fiction of terra nullius (empty land)” (A&M 180). 15. Goodall, “Too Early Yet”, p. 9. 16. Goodall, “Too Early Yet”, p. 11. 17. Lyndall Ryan, “Reading Aboriginal Histories”, Meanjin, 45, no. 1 (1986): 49–57 (at p. 50). Ryan’s incorporation of Aboriginal historians within the traditions of Western modernism is itself problematic and overlooks modernism’s imitations of non-European cultures. 18. Muecke’s account of Streeter draws on and quotes from Mary Albertus Bain, Full Fathom Five (Perth: Artlook Books, 1982), p. 228. RC 267, n. 77. 19. White, “Travel, Writing and Australia”, p. 3. 20. Healy, “Moving Around”, p. 177. 21. Paul Dawson, “A Place for the Space Between: Fictocriticism and the University”, Westerly 47 (2002): 139–51 (at p. 140). 22. Ryan, “Reading Aboriginal Histories”, p. 53. 23. My point here is that European theories are utilised by a descendant of Europeans to accommodate Aboriginal voices. This is certainly not to attack Muecke (or others) for making the effort; nor is it to deny that work has been done to understand and to try to move beyond the colonisers’ psyche. But it is a fact that Europeans were the invaders, and for them or their descendants to supply the means to let Aborigines talk and be heard in books is not the same as restoring land and power to them or as hearing from them direct. Muecke’s awareness of this contributes to the tensions and ambiguities in Reading the Country.

Making It Move  165 24. Healy, “Moving Around”, p. 179. This is a quotation by Muecke from one of his own essays. 25. I do not mean by this that the ideas are the same, or that there has been no evolution of or challenge to them from within Europe, or that there has been no exchange between European and non-European thought. My point is simply that it is European ideas that first disable and then enable Aborigines, meaning that the power of definition has shifted little. The present chapter is not exempt from that process. 26. Graham Huggan, The Post-Colonial Exotic: Marketing the Margins (London: Routledge, 2001), p. 159. 27. Paddy Roe, Gularabulu: Stories from the West Kimberley, ed. Stephen Muecke (Fremantle: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1983), p. x. Further references to this work will be given parenthetically as G. See also RC, pp. 271–72. 28. Dawson, “A Place for the Space Between”, p. 142. 29. Healy, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men”, p. 38. 30. Helen Flavell, “Writing-between: Australian and Canadian Ficto-criticism”, Chapter 4, “Becoming-woman: Australian Ficto-criticism”, PhD thesis, Murdoch University, Perth, 2004, p. 150. Available at: http://wwwlib.murdoch.edu. au/adt/pubfiles/adt-MU20051222.114143/06Ch4BecomingW.pdf (accessed 07/09/07). 31. http://www.transforming.cultures.uts.edu.au/research_programs​/​transnational​ _​cultures​.​html​#​fict, accessed 29/08/07. Muecke notes on this page that fictocriticism “can label a wide variety of styles”. The examples he gives are of “the tradition of the Essay (from Montaigne to Barthes); the New Journalism of Joan Didion; the travelling philosophy of Alphonso Lingis; the hallucinatory ethnographies of Mick Taussig”. 32. Stephen Muecke, No Road (bitumen all the way) (South Fremantle: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1997). Page references will be given parenthetically as NR, followed by the page number. 33. Dawson, “A Place For the Space Between”, p. 140. It should be noted that sections of No Road appeared previously in different versions (NR 241). 34. http://www.transforming.cultures.uts.edu.au/research_programs​/​transnational​ _​cultures​.​html​#​fict (accessed 29/08/07). Flavell records that for marketing reasons No Road was promoted at the time of its publication not as ficto-criticism but as travel writing. Flavell, “Writing-between: Australian and Canadian Ficto-criticism”, p. 190, n. 57. 35. Alec McHoul and Bob Hodge briefly refer to the self-reflexive, ficto-critical qualities of Reading the Country in their article, “The Politics of Text and Commentary”, Textual Practice, 6, no. 2 (1992): 189–209 (at pp. 206–7). They also state that the text weaves its different commentaries with “the lavish illustrations and fine artwork of a coffee-table book” (p. 206). 36. Dawson, “A Place for the Space Between”, p. 140. For a critique of Muecke’s predominance in Australian ficto-criticism, see Flavell, “Becoming-woman: Australian Ficto-criticism”. Flavell’s main arguments are that Muecke’s and Noel King’s appearance of ownership over the territory of Australian fictocriticism (p. 146) provides them with an authority that is at odds with the revolutionary potential of ficto-criticism as a minoritarian practice (pp. 141 and 150–51) and ties ficto-criticism to postmodernism in ways that mask its other influences and developments, in particular those practised by women. 37. Quotation from Amanda Lohrey on the front cover of No Road and also found on http://www.transforming.cultures.uts.edu.au/research_programs​/​ transnational​_​cultures​.​html​#​fict (accessed 29/08/07). 38. Healy, “Moving Around”, p. 185 (italics in original).

166  Tim Youngs 39. The website cited at note 29 includes a photograph of Muecke sitting at Barthes’ grave. 40. David Brooks, “On the Road Again”, Meanjin 56, no. 3-4 (1997): 486–94 (at p. 486). 41. Pesman, Walker, and White, eds., The Oxford Book of Australian Travel Writing, p. ix. 42. White, Inventing Australia: Images and Identity 1688–1980 (Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin, 1981), p. x. 43. See Muecke’s discussion of “Strategic Nomadology” in Reading the Country, pp. 240–54, esp. pp. 240–42. 44. Healy, “Moving Around”, pp. 175–76. 45. Healy, “Moving Around”, p. 178. 46. Muecke, “Gulaga Story”, p. 84. In Reading the Country, Muecke refers to nomadology as an artificial word, an “exotic import” from Deleuze and Guattari “applied inappropriately to Aboriginal cultures”, but suggests that “it is only within relations of power difference (colonialism) or knowledge difference (the social sciences) that a discourse can be mobilised as the summary account of a culture” (RC 241). 47. White, Inventing Australia, p. viii. 48. Michael Dodson, “The End in the Beginning: Re(de)finding Aboriginality”, in Michele Grossman, ed., Blacklines: Contemporary Critical Writing by Indigenous Australians (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2003), pp. 25–42 (at p. 36). 49. Dodson, “The End in the Beginning”, p. 39. 50. Sonja Kurtzer, “Wandering Girl: Who Defines ‘Authenticity’ in Aboriginal Literature?”, in Grossman, ed., Blacklines, pp. 181–88. Kurtzer begins her essay by referring to Muecke’s essay, “Aboriginal Literature and the Repressive Hypothesis”. 51. Pesman, Walker, and White, eds., The Oxford Book of Australian Travel Writing, p. xiii.

11 Reconciling Strangers White Australian Travel Narratives and the Semiotics of Empathy 1

Robert Clarke

Since the 1980s, and with increasing frequency, domestic white Australian travel narratives have mobilised encounters with Aboriginality as contexts for political and ethical critiques of white Australian hegemony that in turn reflect manifestations of sympathetic white liberal discourses of reconciliation. Texts such as Reading the Country by Krim Benterrak, Stephen Muecke, and Paddy Roe (1984/1996), Barry Hill’s The Rock (1994), Kim Mahood’s Craft for a Dry Lake (2000), and Nicholas Jose’s Black Sheep (2002) produce rhetorical performances of reconciliation by appearing to represent the possibilities of white travellers engaging peacefully and respectfully with Aboriginal guides and hosts. This chapter focuses on how these narratives enact performances of a white Australian postcolonial sensibility towards Aboriginality that defines and expresses itself through a semiotics of empathy. It also investigates how the co-ordinates of this semiotics shifted in the 1990s in response to movements in the Australian public sphere vis-à-vis the politics and ethics of reconciliation, most prominently represented by the cultural impact of the publication of Bringing Them Home: Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families (1997). “Reconciliation” is used here to include the field of discourses that structure public debate about the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians during the last twenty or so years. Gillian Whitlock notes that “[d]iscourses of reconciliation have emerged in the past decade as one of the most powerful scripts for interracial negotiation in states which struggle with the legacies of Eurocolonialism”.2 In Australia, reconciliation between Aboriginal and European Australians has become a field of dominant utopian discourses in the public sphere. Not unexpectedly, reconciliation has become a significant theme for contemporary white Australian travel writers. But the meaning of reconciliation is not uniform or uncontested, and discourses of reconciliation have evolved in response to significant political events. This chapter examines how the discourse of reconciliation becomes manifest in recent travel narratives, and how the “script” of the performance of reconciliation has changed subtly over time.

168  Robert Clarke Travel Texts/ Reconciliation Texts Reviewing Mahood’s travel memoir, Craft for a Dry Lake, Drusilla Modjeska writes that to read the book is “to enter a sensibility, an intelligence, a dialogue”.3 Elsewhere Modjeska situates Mahood’s text in relation to recent white memoirs that address the challenges presented by the “Stolen Generations narratives”. At a time of official denial of past criminality by whites against indigenous Australians, white writers like Mahood, according to Modjeska, are doing the “work of national mourning”.4 Mahood’s book tells the story of her travels into the Tanami Desert, to a property that her family owned during her childhood and teenage years, and to a local Aboriginal community. The journey is motivated by the death of the author’s father, and as she travels around the region Mahood explores the different layers of personal, social, and national history that create the fabric of this landscape as well as her own consciousness, and confronts her ambivalent status as a postcolonial white woman implicated in past and present forms of cultural colonization. Mahood describes her book as an attempt to “bear witness” to the country and its peoples.5 Yet, while Mahood engages with a number of significant racial issues, she does not actually discuss the “stolen generations” phenomenon. Why then are this issue and Bringing Them Home such significant factors in Modjeska’s reading of Craft for a Dry Lake? The answer lies in the profound influence that these issues have had on contemporary Australian public life. The “Stolen Generations narratives” are those life narratives of individuals of mixed racial heritage, Aboriginal and European, who were forcibly removed from their families under Australian State and Federal government policies of assimilation during the twentieth century. In 1997, a commission of inquiry detailed the ubiquity and devastating impact of such racist policies. Entitled Bringing Them Home, the report claimed, amongst other things, that: between one in three and one in ten Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and communities in the period from approximately 1910 until 1970 . . . Most [Aboriginal] families have been affected, in one or more generations, by the forcible removal of one or more children.6 Elsewhere, and perhaps most controversially, the report labelled the policy of forced removal genocide, and called for a national apology to the members of the Stolen Generations and for restitution and monetary compensation. None of these has occurred. While a number of government and non-government agencies have, at least, offered an apology to the members of the Stolen Generations, the conservative Federal Government refused. This resulted in intense public debate over the meaning of words like apology and reconciliation, as well as history and heritage.

Reconciling Strangers  169 While the majority of white Australians agreed with the position adopted by the Federal Government, for many others this report produced an outpouring of remorse for the past, as well as a crisis in sympathy, a feeling that the ideals of Australian social justice and benevolence had been deeply betrayed. These concerns are reflected in a speech made by Modjeska a few months after the publication of Bringing Them Home. Modjeska explains that she feels compelled to address the issue of the Stolen Generations and the revelations of the Bringing Them Home report and states: All that winter I had been living quietly, writing each day and following public events on the radio and in the press . . . I felt that when historians come back to look on that year, the writing that would be best remembered would not be the literary works we were there to celebrate, but the testimony of the separated children . . . Political events can and do affect even the most private and domestic aspects of our lives; I could see it in their past and feel it in my present.7 Modjeska adds, “the story of those children, and the struggle for the land that surrounds it, is like an open wound through our history. It is a story that demands absolutely that we attend to words like community, and responsibility. And morality. And shame. And apology.”8 Modjeska uses Bringing Them Home to articulate an understanding of reconciliation that differs from previously held views amongst many in the white Australian intelligentsia and the moral middle classes. It has to be understood that prior to the release of Bringing Them Home, reconciliation was broadly conceived as a political process of rapprochement between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, premised on “new” Aboriginalauthorized versions of colonial and postcolonial history. Reconciliation was a state-sponsored project. Following the recommendations of an earlier Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Federal Government established a Council for Reconciliation in 1991 that was charged with overseeing the process of reconciliation and with advising how this goal might be achieved. One of the core principles of the Council in its early work was the “sharing of history”. As historian Ian D. Clark puts it in a publication for the Council, “[a] shared sense of history has the potential to be an influential agent of reconciliation”.9 But while the focus of reconciliation in the early 1990s appears to have been on the articulation of legal, political, and educational frameworks for facilitating the sharing of history, after Bringing Them Home the focus shifted to the ethics of such an endeavour. For example, as Whitlock points out, many indigenous Australians stressed that the testimonies of the members of the “Stolen Generations” demanded an active response from non-indigenous Australians.10 Consequently, many non-indigenous Australians came to feel extremely unsettled and ‘dis-eased’ by the testimonies and felt it necessary to confront their own

170  Robert Clarke complicity in this aspect of Australian history and society. Whitlock argues that in the testimonies of the “Stolen Generations” a narrative exchange is enacted in which non-indigenous Australians are called to bear witness: witness to the trauma of those Aboriginal people and families who experienced forced removal, and witness to their own response to that narrative of trauma and estrangement. And part of this examination for non-indigenous Australians involves an examination of their whiteness. Whitlock claims that for “many readers, in particular those who wish to make an ethical response; these testimonies produce a revelation of a racial identity which has previously been unmarked”.11 In short, the meaning of reconciliation in Australian public discourse changed subtly during the 1990s and in particular in the aftermath of the publication of Bringing Them Home. This was reflected in the way sympathetic white writers, including travel writers, mobilised a semiotics of empathy to represent the encounter between indigenous and non-­indigenous agents. A semiotics of empathy is an institutionalized system of signs through which a group or individual represents an emotional responsivity towards others. The term is used here to facilitate the analysis of white Australian travellers’ expressions of empathy (and solidarity) with Aboriginal people, and their desire for reconciliation; it is taken from the work of North American critic Megan Boler, who uses it to critique the Arnoldian ideology that has been a foundational strand in Anglo-American literary studies. This ideology, amongst other things, promotes the study of literature as a means of inculcating empathy for others in the minds of readers. Boler argues that such an ideology results in “passive empathy”, which fails to promote genuine political or ethical transformation because it reiterates “consumptive” modes of identification between self and other.12 In its place, she advocates the study of a semiotics of empathy in order to examine how critical and empathetic readings of texts can contribute to progressive politics. A more “progressive” racial politics has been a core project for many contemporary Australian travel writers. In exploring the possibilities of such a politics, a number of writers have sought to question the history of race relations as well as examine their own complicity with contemporary colonialism. Those who consider themselves sympathetic to Aboriginal causes have identified themselves through various discourses and narratives of reconciliation which have proven to be mutable and responsive to events and movements within the public sphere. Consequently, sympathetic white travel texts published at different moments over the last twenty-five years, while reflecting similar regimes of value with respect to Aboriginality, have deployed different tropes and themes as part of a semiotics of empathy. In short, in the case of narratives like The Rock and Reading the Country, published before 1997, reconciliation is conceived as a national project of political transformation in which the sharing of the past facilitates the sharing of power and authority between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. On the other hand, the works of Jose and Mahood, published in the late

Reconciling Strangers  171 1990s, in the aftermath of the publication and reception of Bringing Them Home, appear to promote reconciliation in terms of an ethical transformation in the white travellers that occasions a new openness to cultural difference through a sense of personal responsibility. In both cases, the semiotics of empathy is played out through particular ways of approaching history, and of using history as a basis for creating affiliations and identifications with indigenous and non-indigenous others. In particular, while The Rock, Reading the Country, Black Sheep, and Craft for a Dry Lake explore the vernacular heritage of the places visited, they differ in the way they privilege themes of historicity and effectivity (in Hill and Benterrak et al.) and familiarity and affectivity (in Jose and Mahood). Heritage and the Cultural Politics of Reconciliation While travel writers visiting Australia during the 1980s and 1990s generally followed the well-worn panoramic route around the continent, domestic writers, who used the travel experience as a means to encounter contemporary Aboriginality, frequently restricted their movement to within localised spaces. Furthermore, they generally undertook such journeys in the company of an indigenous guide, and indeed attributed the motivation for the journey and its subsequent textual rendering to the guide. Stephen Muecke writes that it was Paddy Roe’s “desire to speak, to tell the story of his country once again”13 as much as Muecke’s own desire to write, that initiated their journey across Roebuck Plains. Similarly, Barry Hill suggests that it was Tony Tjamiwa, a traditional Anangu owner of Uluru, who “sparked the idea for the book”.14 The intense focus on a specific tract of country, and the cultivation of a relationship with an indigenous guide, provide the means by which the white traveller obtains an intimate understanding of the lived histories of particular spaces: Roebuck Plains in Reading the Country and Uluru in The Rock. The cultivation of a relationship with an Aboriginal guide is also a technique for the white traveller to confront and ameliorate certain forms of angst that arise in relation to knowing a place and its past. Sometimes this angst is voiced against the duplicity of European history, but at other times it is expressed toward the circumscription of indigenous heritage and the inaccessibility for whites of the secrets of Aboriginal law/lore. Muecke’s text deals with this angst through the rehearsal of avant-garde theories of communication, a self-conscious examination of the position of the white author vis-à-vis Paddy Roe and the other Aboriginal informants, and a verbatim account of Roe’s knowledge of Roebuck Plains. In The Rock, the exclusion of whites from indigenous ways of knowing place creates a sense of emotional dissonance that is ironically productive of the imperialist desires that the text in other places ostensibly denies: rehearsing the logic of modern

172  Robert Clarke tourism, the more the travel writer is denied access to indigenous knowledge, the more attractive that knowledge becomes as a commodity. Hill’s tour of the Mutitjulu waterhole in the company of Barbara Nipper, Nura Ward, and white ranger, Julian Ward, is exemplary of this.15 Hill makes a great performance of the insurmountable difficulties in communication and the explicitly circumscribed nature of the information that he is given, while at the same time he appropriates the exclusivity of indigenous heritage in order to signify the exceptionality of his own travel performance. Hill, however, is not unaware of these ironies, and indeed a level of self-awareness of the traveller’s complicity and embeddedness within institutions of the commodification of Aboriginality and travel is a frequent feature of many recent Australian travel texts, and of postcolonial travel writing in general. This is another example of how contemporary travel writers, especially those who promote styles of travel critical of the modes and effects of mainstream travel cultures, enjoy a fraught relationship with the global tourism industry. Even when travel writers try to “locate themselves in opposition to conventional modes of travel, particularly tourism . . . travel writing . . . still depends on [tourism’s] traditions and its—not least, commercial—cachet”.16 The angst and dissonance generated with respect to the legacies of colonialism, the ideology of European histories, and the exclusivity of indigenous heritage are contrasted with vernacular knowledges of place, the acquisition of which becomes a political and moral imperative in these texts. For example, in The Rock, local stories of white injustices, such as the story of the murder in the caves as told to Hill by Tjamiwa, are vital to the white traveller’s understanding of this place and its status within contemporary public debates concerning land rights. This is the story from the 1930s of the murder of an Aboriginal man by a white policeman that accounts for the absence of one of the traditional owners of Uluru—Paddy Uluru, who had witnessed the murder and escaped to South Australia—from the locality during the middle years of the twentieth century. Consequently, it is a story that played a significant role in the Anangu land claim over Uluru in the 1970s, and is one that Hill claims Tjamiwa “wanted to—had to tell . . . an instructive tale about the brutality of dispossession . . . [i]t belongs to the place in a way that animates past, present and future”.17 It is also a white story that white society has long denied. Vernacular heritage is local knowledge that relates to the entangled histories of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians and their respective claims to and identifications with place. Chris Healy defines vernacular heritage as: a loose way of describing historical meaning which is shared by relatively small groups of people; it might be locally specific in terms of idiom and themes or it might be familiar principally to those who share a common language or set of experiences, but it is certainly particular and lived rather than general and abstract.18

Reconciling Strangers  173 The vernacular heritage narratives in Reading the Country and The Rock function to re-define a sense of historicity for the white travel writer and the travel reader, and to produce a space of effectivity for local indigenous informants. That is, they re-situate the white travellers within a reformed narrative of their history in relation to a particular place and people (historicity), and provide a textual space through which indigenous voices can question and respond to the hegemonic versions of local and national histories (effectivity). In a chapter of Reading the Country entitled “How Shall We Write History?”, Muecke contrasts European histories of Roebuck Plains with transcriptions of Paddy Roe’s accounts of recent colonial events. Prefacing the chapter is a photograph of Paddy Roe’s hands holding a photograph of himself and his wife, children, and grandchildren. The question: “How shall we write history?” presents a challenge: Who is the “we” to whom the question is addressed, and how will this seemingly ordinary image of domestic Aboriginal family life be given a place within the historical matrices of the modern “white” nation? As Muecke points out, “History” (“the most ‘obvious’ history to write”) “celebrates the achievements of the powerful, using the language of the powerful” (RC 143). Rehearsing the narrative of the postmodern democratisation of history, Muecke argues that “History” does not simply present a false view of the past but also contains gaps, namely the stories of the lives of those who sustained the powerful and who experienced the consequences of colonialism firsthand. The rewriting of “History” would “become a task of producing different sets of stories about ordinary people, about Aborigines, about women; not in the name of the ‘truth’, as if the ruling class historians were distorting facts for their own ends, but with the idea of seeing history as always being written within political formations” (RC 144). At stake in this struggle over the past is both the reclamation of Aboriginal sovereignty and, directly related to this, “our conception of ‘nationhood’ ” (RC 144). Here Muecke shifts the definition of Australia from a white nation to what might be termed an other-than-white nation. That is, the whiteness of the nation and its hegemony is always being named and confronted, especially with respect to the way in which it appropriates and exploits Aboriginality. The purpose is not the renunciation of the nation, but its transformation. The (neo)colonialist white nation is one that cannot allow a place for Paddy Roe and his family as fellow citizens. But, Muecke suggests, there is an emergent nation, one in which Roe is accorded citizenship status, and in which the image of an Aboriginal family is recognised as ordinary. For this to occur, a “more specific history” (RC 145) needs to be conceptualised, and Muecke finds this in the nascent field of Aboriginal history, in which: “our” history is now going to be seen, for the first time, through Aboriginal eyes, and that “they” opposed “us”; there really was Aboriginal

174  Robert Clarke resistance to invasion and the history which represented the Aborigines as peacefully giving way to superior strength was the product of the discourses circulating at that time. (RC 145) The point, though, is not to produce a more truthful version of the past, but rather to ask which narratives of the past can recognize Paddy Roe’s sovereignty; it is a way of asking how Roe and his family can fit into the picture of postcolonial national life. The challenge of indigenous vernacular histories is not simply to the certainty or truth of History but to the idea of heritage as a means of articulating citizenship. As Healy explains, “it is not just any conjuring of ‘the past’ or evocation of history that falls within the territory of heritage but specifically the deployment of history in imagining and defining citizenship and governance”.19 Vernacular heritage, according to Healy, provides a means for the transformation of the understanding of Aboriginal citizenship and with it white citizenship. In this way, Muecke’s examination of the vernacular heritage of Roebuck Plain through the transcriptions of Paddy Roe’s life stories serves a cultural politics of transformation in which Roe’s account of place is set alongside European accounts in ways that both augment and destabilise the latter. As Healy puts it: A transformed notion of heritage decisively underpins not only reconciliation but all attempts to fashion just relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in at least two ways. First the inheritance of colonisation, for both indigenous and non-indigenous people, is refigured. The “old” Australian heritage is simply no longer tenable. Second, this “new” Australian heritage is placed at the centre of national governance, potentially affecting notions of territory and cultural identity, political representation and authority at the most basic levels.20 Reading the Country and The Rock can be read as manifestations of the shift in Australian historiography since the 1980s that has seen Aboriginality given an ever-increasing presence within narratives of the nation. As Muecke writes in the preface to the 1996 edition of Reading the Country, “Australians are coming to realise that Aboriginal knowledges and ways of living are a core part of national identity. As imperial histories fade away, postcolonial indigenous histories will come to occupy a dignified place in republican Australia” (RC 13). The acknowledgement of the significance of Aboriginal histories has been complemented by an awareness of the challenges that such histories pose in relation to the ways in which they are to be spoken and received. The communication of narratives of the past has consequently become a highly charged political issue of concern across a diverse range of institutions and spaces, as well as for white travellers and writers like Muecke and Hill, who are concerned with the everyday elements of inter-cultural transactions. More significantly, the challenge to History that Aboriginal histories bring goes to the core of issues of citizenship and of

Reconciling Strangers  175 the rights and obligations different Australian publics and the State enjoy and owe to others. Furthermore, the intimate encounter with the vernacular heritage of Roebuck Plains in Reading the Country and Uluru in The Rock demonstrates, in Healy’s words: “the embeddedness of the past in the present as varied and shifting”.21 Reconciliation, Travel, and the Ethics of Self-Fashioning Since 1997, the model of reconciliation presumed in Reading the Country and The Rock, and the kind of cultural politics of decolonisation this itself presumes, have come under sustained pressure. The upheavals in the national public sphere with respect to Aboriginality that have occurred since this time, most prominently represented by the so-called history wars,22 have produced for white liberals a crisis of sympathy—a sense that the traditional myths of white Australian benevolence have been deeply betrayed. This sense of a crisis in sympathy has not gone unnoticed by recent travellers who have sought to address it by reorienting the semiotics of empathy as part of a performance of an ethics of reconciliation, through the deployment of the themes of familiarity and affectivity. Kim Mahood’s Craft for a Dry Lake and Nicholas Jose’s Black Sheep demonstrate, like Reading the Country and The Rock, a strong concern for the secrets of the vernacular heritage of particular places: a cattle station in the Tanami Desert for Mahood and Borroloola and the Gulf country for Jose. However, they differ from the earlier texts in the degree of intimacy sought with specific Aboriginal subjects. For instance, there are no indigenous guides in these texts, nor is an indigenous agent acknowledged as a motivator for the journeys and the narratives. Nevertheless, both Craft for a Dry Lake and Black Sheep are deeply concerned with Aboriginality, which is approached through the travellers’ attempts to reconcile themselves to white figures from the past, and their questioning of the sense of collective responsibility that the relationship with other whites creates towards indigenous Australia. Both texts represent white attempts to “bear witness to the country”, and in doing so they provoke reflection upon the kind of generosity required in such an endeavour, and the implications of this for the transformation of relationships across history and cultural difference. In Craft for a Dry Lake and Black Sheep, history is a personal imperative reflected in the way in which both Jose and Mahood deploy the conceit of a search for family secrets, and through the necessity of achieving reconciliation with those (real or imagined) to whom they owe kinship obligations. The idea of the journey as a means of recovering family connections is, according to Jose, part of a significant cultural movement in postcolonial societies. The genealogy craze, fuelled by the technology of the Internet, has given rise to many people being “curious about family secrets, curious about

176  Robert Clarke continuity and identity, curious about the web of generation”.23 Moreover, Craft for a Dry Lake and Black Sheep suggest that the concern for genealogy is intimately associated with the attempts of white postcolonial subjects to reconcile the contradictions of race and to understand their relationships and obligations towards colonised peoples and territories. For Mahood, the journey to the Tanami Desert and the cattle station where she spent much of her childhood is a means of honouring and making peace with the memory of her father. For Jose, the journey to Borroloola is a way of discovering the story of Roger, who may or may not have been his great uncle. These manifestations of the theme of familiarity, however, belie the fundamental strangeness of the places and the journeys for these travellers. Mahood repeats how strange and affecting the country that was once so familiar has now become. This estrangement is felt as a visceral experience that intensifies with each new meeting of the new and old owners of the land, and with each new attempt to recover the connections of intimacy that Mahood once enjoyed. For Jose, on the other hand, the strangeness of Borroloola represents for him the promise of utopian transformation. Despite its poor reputation as a colonial outpost and violent backwater, the heritage of Borroloola suggests an alternative paradigm of race relations, one that might hold the promise of a hopeful future. Jose states: “[y]et in isolated Borroloola . . . things had a chance to work out somewhat differently—and I think perhaps they have. That included assumptions about how Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people could interact” (BS 25). Jose’s identification with Roger Jose through a spurious family connection is a means, then, of forging a sense of belonging to this space and its transformative potential. Jose states that, through his search for his “putative kin, a labourer who lived ‘blackfella’ [and who] . . . might turn out to be the most exemplary of forebears, a neglected visionary”, he wished to “join [him]self to someone who had earned his belonging to this country” (BS 38). For Mahood the identification with her father, and the space of “Mongrel Downs”, is complicated by her Aboriginal “skin name”, Napurrula. Mahood was given this name as a child by local Aboriginal women. It provides her with a sense of Aboriginal identity and authority—“a way of being here that circumvents [her] whiteness”—and also cultural cachet that she can exploit among her metropolitan white friends. Yet it confers obligations upon Mahood, positioning her within a story that “expands to accommodate [her]”; and with this “goes the assumption of responsibility to that country”.24 Thus the gifts that Mahood receives from her father and the Aboriginal women from whom she received her skin name provide not only a means of establishing a connection to a once familiar place, but also a context for an ethical sensibility towards place and others, an openness to alterity that I term affectivity. In Craft for a Dry Lake and Black Sheep, the affective responses to family members are intimately connected to the travellers’ sense of responsibility to others, both past and present, and in particular to indigenous Australians.

Reconciling Strangers  177 In both books, the white men with whom the narrators form their primary identifications represent complicated relationships between European and Aboriginal Australians. Joe Mahood was a former superintendent of an Aboriginal reserve, a pioneer pastoralist in the Tanami, who was considered “a bit of a black-lover” (CDL 223). A reserved man with artistic sensitivities and a strong sense of fairness and justice, Joe Mahood was nevertheless complicit with colonialism in its protean form: the appropriation of others’ land. His sense of propriety, his alcoholism, and his denial of an internal world, moreover, were significant factors in his estrangement from his daughter. In contrast, Roger Jose emerges as something of a white saint, with Nicholas Jose going so far as to speculate on physical as well as intellectual and spiritual similarities between Roger Jose and Saint Jerome (BS 135). Roger’s relationships with Aboriginal people, and especially his marriages to two Aboriginal women, are also used to create an impression of his benevolence (BS 91). Despite these contrasts, both Joe Mahood and Roger Jose are examples of marginalised whites whose class and ethical values position them in opposition to myths of white frontier masculinity. While Roger Jose is held up as emblematic of anti-racist sensibility, Joe Mahood is a more complicated and flawed character; this makes the question of his daughter’s posthumous reconciliation with him all the more poignant. While Roger Jose serves as an image of white moral nobility during a period of white madness, Joe Mahood, in his daughter’s painful reckoning, represents a character who, but for the alcohol and his complicity in a system of apartheid, nevertheless possessed goodness. Crucially, it is the memory of her father’s goodness, despite his faults, that makes the confrontation with the mythologies of the moral superiority of the outback male—and in particular the mythologies of white belonging—all the more urgent for Mahood. Similarly, it is Roger Jose’s virtue that becomes for Nicholas Jose a source of inspiration and reassurance. The engagement with kin in these texts, real or putative, represents an attempt by the narrators to address what Ghassan Hage refers to as the “polluting memories”25 of the past. Hage writes: Like family life, all social communal life is communicated to us as a gift which, like all gifts, creates obligations when well given. Participating in, and “caring for”, whatever community we belong to is the common, though not necessary, mode of returning such a gift. It is through this process of gift-exchange that communal affects such as pride and shame circulate.26 The search for reconciliation with lost kin provides a context for the narrators of Craft for a Dry Lake and Black Sheep to speculate upon engaging with Aboriginal Australia in ways that do not simply recognise cultural difference and provide a textual space for the voice of another, but which examine the subjective and ethical meanings of responding to the legacy of

178  Robert Clarke the colonial past. In this regard, both texts reflect Rosalyn Diprose’s understanding of reconciliation as decolonisation. Diprose examines the ethical and political consequences of the colonisers’ total self-confidence in “found truth”, and the irrepressibly unsettling quality of indigenous testimonies to the crimes and transgressions committed in the name of colonialism. For Diprose the ethical significance of whites bearing witness to such indigenous testimonies rests, not in the cultivation of pity, but in the fortitude and generosity to allow such testimonies to destabilise cultural certainties: “a generosity born of an affective corporeal response that generates rather than closes off cultural difference”.27 Diprose argues that: To endure this contestation without evasion, without denying the trace of the other in ourselves, requires that we pass from pity for the other’s suffering to questioning ourselves. This response of being-in-question amounts to the responsibility for the other; a being-given to the other without thought of return; a movement toward the other that answers, without annulling, the debt to the other incurred in the constitution of oneself and one’s culture.28 The recognition of “being-in-question” is for both Mahood and Jose a necessary insight into managing the “uncomfortable contradictions” (CDL 37) that their journeys generate, and a way of creating a space within which to learn from the experiences of those who preceded them. It becomes a means of performing an act of humility in order to forgo any easy solutions to the contingencies of postcolonial being. Notes 1. This chapter draws upon material from my doctoral dissertation, “The Utopia of the Senses: White Travellers in Black Australia”, submitted to the School of English, Media Studies and Art History, University of Queensland, Brisbane (2006). Sections have been published in “Intimate Strangers: Contemporary Australian Travel Writing and the Semiotics of Empathy”, Journal of Australian Studies 85 (2005): 69–82. I thank Professor Helen Gilbert, Professor Alan Lawson, Professor Robert Dixon, Dr Marguerite Nolan, and Dr Christy Collis, for their contributions to this chapter. 2. Gillian Whitlock, “In the Second Person: Narrative Transactions in Stolen Generations Testimony”, Biography 24, no. 1 (2001): 197–214 (at p. 210). 3. Drusilla Modjeska, “Refreshing the Memory”, The Australian Review of Books 9 August (2000): 5–6 and 26 (at p. 6). 4. Drusilla Modjeska, “Memoir Australia”, in her Timepieces (Sydney: Picador, 2003), pp. 159–200 (at p. 181). 5. Kim Mahood, “Bearing Witness”, Eureka Street 12, no. 4 (2002): 24–26 (at p. 25). 6. Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Bringing Them Home: Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families (Sydney: Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1997), p. 37. The claim that one in three

Reconciling Strangers  179 children were removed from their families has been hotly contested. As Robert Manne points outs, it is almost certainly wrong. Manne claims the “lower estimate of one in ten is far more soundly based”. Robert Manne, “In Denial: The Stolen Generations and the Right”, Quarterly Essay 1 (2001): 1–113 (at p. 25). This still, however, represents a very large number of people removed from their families—Manne estimates 20,000–25,000 (at p. 27). 7. Drusilla Modjeska, “A Bitter Wind”, in Michelle Grattan, ed., Reconciliation: Essays on Australian Reconciliation (Melbourne: Black Inc., 2000), pp. 158–64 (at p. 158). 8. Modjeska, “Bitter Wind”, pp. 159–60. 9. Ian D. Clark, Sharing History: A Sense for All Australians of a Shared Ownership of their History (Canberra: Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, 1994), p. 1. 10. Gillian Whitlock, “Becoming Migloo”, in David Carter, ed., The Ideas Market (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2004), pp. 236–58. 11. Whitlock, “In the Second Person”, p. 197. 12. Megan Boler, “The Risk of Empathy: Interrogating Multiculturalism’s Gaze”, Cultural Studies 11 (1997): 253–71 (at p. 253). 13. Krim Benterrak, Stephen Muecke, and Paddy Roe, Reading the Country: Introduction to Nomadology [1984] (Fremantle: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1996), p. 15. Subsequent references abbreviated to RC and given parenthetically in the text. 14. Barry Hill, The Rock: Travelling to Uluru (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1994), p. 1. 15. Hill, The Rock, pp. 139–45. 16. Patrick Holland and Graham Huggan, Tourists With Typewriters: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Travel Writing (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998), p. 198. 17. Hill, The Rock, pp. 128–29. 18. Chris Healy, “ ‘Race Portraits’ and Vernacular Possibilities: Heritage and Culture”, in Tony Bennett and David Carter, eds., Culture in Australia: Policies, Publics and Programs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 278–98 (at p. 280). 19. Healy, “ ‘Race Portraits’ ”, p. 279. 20. Healy, “ ‘Race Portraits’ ”, p. 287. 21. Healy, “ ‘Race Portraits’ ”, p. 295. 22. Stuart MacIntyre and Anna Clark, The History Wars (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2003). 23. Nicholas Jose, Black Sheep: Journey to Borroloola [2002] (South Yarra, Victoria: Hardie Grant, 2003), p. 39. Subsequent references abbreviated to BS and given parenthetically in the text. 24. Kim Mahood, Craft for a Dry Lake (Sydney: Anchor, 2000), pp. 124, 257, 258. Subsequent references abbreviated to CDL and given parenthetically in the text. 25. Ghassan Hage, “Polluting Memories: Migration and Colonial Responsibility in Australia”, in Meaghan Morris and Brett de Bary, eds., “Race” Panic and the Meaning of Migration (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2001), pp. 333–62 (at p. 354). 26. Hage, “Polluting Memories”, p. 355. 27. Rosalyn Diprose, Corporeal Generosity: On Giving with Nietzsche, MerleauPonty, and Levinas (New York: SUNY Press, 2002), p. 146. 28. Diprose, Corporeal Generosity, pp. 164–65.

12 To Witness and Remember Mapping Reconciliation Travel Peter Bishop

Travel and reconciliation The aim of this chapter is to construct a frame for an engagement between travel writing and social reconciliation.1 The term “reconciliation” refers to some form of psycho-social healing in the everyday discourse of many countries, especially those who have engaged in reconciliation projects at a national level (e.g., South Africa, Cambodia, Canada, Argentina, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, East Timor, New Zealand, and Australia). Various forms of transnational reconciliation are also taking place as attempts at healing continue from World War II—in Germany, Japan, and China—as part of resolving issues left over in the post-Soviet era, and across the whole legacy of western imperialism. A struggle towards dialogue lies at the heart of reconciliation. This often occurs in contexts of fear, anxiety, and even violence. Reconciliation often confronts what seems to be untellable, struggling as it does with the complexities of narrating trauma. Dialogue in the service of reconciliation involves opening up reflexive spaces within which silenced, anxious, or angry voices can be heard. It involves a “politics of memory” and a power struggle around claims to knowledge.2 Reconciliation involves a politics of recognition and a re-imagining of community. With a responsibility to “the story of the other”, it seeks what John Frow calls “discursive justice”.3 Reconciliation aims to heal grief, calm fear, and, most importantly, “break the cycle of revenge”.4 In reconciliation travel the relationships between identity, memory, and place are disturbed and sometimes reconfigured. As we will see, several key themes arise in reconciliation travel, themes that involve some kind of double movement between social justice and reflexivity. Travel in a reconciliation mode can involve the desire to awaken or assuage a sense of guilt or shame, as well as to seek forgiveness, or to forgive. It can also be undertaken in order to remember or to challenge memory, and especially to witness. At its most basic level, reconciliation demands an acknowledgement that there is a ‘problem’, but that there is also a glimpse of hope for some kind of ‘healing’. By briefly introducing some key texts, we can start to map

To Witness and Remember  181 the possible contours of reconciliation travel. The texts could be organised according to which aspects of a reconciliation frame they address, or around their level of emotional involvement, or the relationship between the narrator and reconciliation (including the experience of trauma, whether the victim’s, perpetrator’s, or third party’s). But at this stage I merely want to use them to establish the scope of a reconciliation travel landscape. Alexandra Fuller’s Scribbling the Cat is the story of a journey to recover uncomfortable memories in the hope of redemption.5 Fuller is a white woman who grew up through the long and bitter anti-colonial war that ran from the late 1960s to 1980 in what was then Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. The conflict also affected adjacent countries such as Mozambique, Zambia, and Botswana. Her account begins sometime after the war has ended, when she visits her parents who now live and farm in a remote corner of Zambia. There she meets K, a withdrawn white male farmer, an ex-elite soldier and veteran of the Rhodesian war, who has seemingly repressed any acknowledgement of his direct involvement in its cruelty. Fuller is haunted by memories of her childhood naiveté and the racist assumptions of her youth: her unwitting complicity in, and support for, white dominance. She convinces K to return to Zimbabwe and to journey with her into northern Mozambique to visit the sites of his fighting. Poverty, crime, and corruption are rampant in both countries as they still struggle with the aftermath of that conflict. Both Fuller and K travel in search of resolution and healing. Catfish and Mandala, too, is a travel text dominated by a search for reconciliation. Its author is a young Vietnamese-American, Andrew Pham, who cycles through Vietnam years after he fled with his family as a refugee from the long and controversial war which consumed that country until its conclusion in 1975. Pham’s family had been punished after the war because of his father’s high-ranking position in the South Vietnamese military.6 This was the side that was defeated, along with its deeply committed American allies. Pham travels in search of healing, identity, and memory. This is one of many travel accounts that attempt to deal with the legacy of that war, written by a range of authors including American veterans returning to Vietnam, ex-refugees, anti-war activists, and tourists.7 In Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads With an Indian Elder, Kent Nerburn, a middle-aged white man, whose works on Native Americans they had generally received favourably, receives a sudden invitation to work with a very elderly Native American man, Dan, on a book about ‘real’ Indian life and culture, not some Hollywood or New Age fantasy.8 It takes Nerburn on an initiatory road trip through the landscapes of late twentiethcentury Indian America, and deep into the reconciliation territory of guilt, shame, and memories. In 2000, a white male journalist, with an established track record in reporting the struggles of indigenous Australians, sets out on a journey around indigenous Australia, visiting places not on the itinerary, or even map, of most non-indigenous Australians, let alone travellers and tourists

182  Peter Bishop to the country. Reconciliation: A Journey clearly reveals the single-minded intention of its author, Michael Gordon, as does the timing of his journey, the final year of Australia’s formal reconciliation process.9 He reports on several key Aboriginal communities he visits around Australia, and his travel text contains extensive conversations with indigenous people. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families is the disturbing account by Philip Gourevitch of a series of journeys he undertook around Rwanda in the years immediately following the genocide in that country. Gourevitch, a white male American journalist, records eye-witness accounts and personal testimonies, alongside his own observations, in order to challenge worldwide misconceptions of the atrocities, and to tell about the progress towards some kind of reconciliation and reconstruction.10 While travel texts that are fully devoted to reconciliation are not common, as a theme it can be found running through a broad range of travel writing. In Pico Iyer’s collection, Sun After Dark, for example, the issue of reconciliation is mentioned twice: when he visits post-Pol Pot Cambodia, and in conversations with the Dalai Lama.11 By contrast, in Graeme Sparkes’ 1997 book, The Red Island, which chronicles his journey around Australia, reconciliation issues form a slight but continuous thread. Even some travel guides contain information that can feed into a reconciliation agenda. The Lonely Planet Guide to Germany, for example, highlights Dachau as a much-frequented site on day trips from Munich. There are sections specifically on reconciliation in the Lonely Planet Guide to Australia, as well as a whole edition of Lonely Planet dedicated to Aboriginal Australia and the Torres Strait Islands.12 Elsewhere, visitors, through a variety of texts, tell of their experiences of any number of museums and monuments that address reconciliation, such as Robben Island off Cape Town, the Apartheid Museum, and Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. Diaries, letters, postcards, emails, and chat sites each allow a different kind of reconciliation travel text to be produced.13 Some ficto-documentary autobiographical works, which utilise travel writing conventions as part of their structure, can also be oriented towards reconciliation. Loss plus a search for memory, healing, and hope in the wake of genocide, widespread oppression, and socially induced catastrophe are integral to Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald, Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjiang, and Echoing Silences by Kanengoni.14 Even travel texts that are only marginally related to a reconciliation theme, such as Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines, can be read, studied, and thereby produced as reconciliation texts.15 A reconciliation perspective for travel and travel writing takes its place alongside, and overlaps with, other more familiar ones such as exploration, adventure, tourism, migration, exile, autobiography, pilgrimage, and journalism. As has been seen, concern for reconciliation can deliberately embrace a whole journey, or just surface, as a brief, perhaps serendipitous, episode.

To Witness and Remember  183 Witnessing and Witness Literature Witness literature, like witnessing, is complex and at times controversial. Any evaluation of such literature needs to take into account certain factors: the reliability of the witness; the circumstances being reported; the nature of discourse that is produced; the circumstances under which the testimony is produced; and the purposes for which it is being read. What does it mean to witness, and how does this simple act of seeing or hearing differ from being a witness, from the act of coming forward and bearing witness? These concerns haunt many who travel to places that have been the site of conflict and suffering, such as war correspondents and photojournalists. As Engdahl puts it, “[o]ne does not become a witness only by observing an event with one’s own eyes. A witness is a person who speaks out and says, ‘I was there, I saw it, I can tell people!’ ”16 In Scribbling the Cat, Fuller’s seemingly macho, and often silent companion, K, the war veteran, resists acknowledging and recounting his involvement in wartime atrocities. It is not until the second half of the journey that he finally breaks down and emotionally expresses grief and remorse for his actions. Significantly, it is K’s confession of torturing a young black woman to death that triggers Fuller’s own admission of guilt: And I thought, I own this now. This was my war too. I had been a small, smug white girl shouting, “We are all Rhodesians and we’ll fight through thickanthin”, I was every bit that woman’s murderer. Fuller continues: I said, “I had no idea . . .” But I did. I knew, without really being told out loud, what had happened in the war and I knew it was as brutal and indefensible as what I had just heard from K. I just hadn’t wanted to know. (Scribbling 152) A dialectic between denial and acknowledgement of complicity lies at the heart of reconciliation. From Germany to Japan, Australia to South Africa, there are struggles over the narratives of memory, awareness, and knowledge. Claudia Eppert would agree with Fuller that “to receive the words of a witness” is to become a witness oneself.17 Important questions about personal knowledge and personal responsibility come to the fore, as do issues of “apology” or “guilt”. The autobiographical voice is one of the key defining characteristics of travel writing. Reconciliation is marked by deeply contentious issues about inequalities in power and justice. These issues are often ones in which colonialism and imperialism are profoundly implicated. Disturbing emotionality is often addressed (trauma, fear, anxiety, grief, loss, hope, celebration, forgiveness,

184  Peter Bishop guilt). Under such conditions, the narrating position and authorial voice assume a fundamental importance. Understanding and evaluating the authenticity and trustworthiness of the witness is critical, as is the reliability of any act of witnessing. Witnessing is not an objective act, despite its role as evidence in judicial proceedings. Subjectivity is not necessarily a distortion of accurate witnessing but is inevitable because of personal circumstances, character, and standpoint. For example, what is the relationship of the witness to the events? On the most basic level there is a question of whether he or she is a victim, a perpetrator, or an observer. It could be suggested that such a categorisation is generally too simplistic given the complexity of most events. However, Primo Levi, drawing on his profound experiences in Nazi concentration camps, pushes the notion of authenticity to its limits when he insists that only the silenced, those who have given up and been rendered mute, or who have died, are true witnesses because they experienced the tragedy in full.18 As with the act of witnessing, truth is rarely straightforward or simple. In his account of travelling around Australia visiting various indigenous communities, Michael Gordon succinctly summarises the complexities of truth: “who tells it, how they tell it and, most importantly, whether they embellish it to make their point”.19 Testimony is a contentious category. It has been suggested that there is a difference between those narratives understood as chronicles, as historically factual, and those interpretive narratives that veer towards the personal and symbolic. In her study of testimonies given by indigenous Australians during investigations in the 1990s into the widespread and controversial practice in the recent past of removing Aboriginal children from their families, Rosanne Kennedy highlights debate about the veracity of these differing narrative styles.20 She points out that witnesses may not always be offering their testimony as evidence to be interpreted by the historical or judicial expert. Instead, they could be attempting to situate themselves as “active producers of historical meaning”.21 Therefore, the demands of factual objective truth should not be the sole or even dominant arbiter by which testimonies are evaluated. Instead, Kennedy suggests, “they should be read and analysed for their insights into how people involved in past events interpreted those events”, and now give meaning to their experiences.22 Reconciliation travel writing can find itself between these extremes, on one hand using testimonies to provide historical, documentary facts, and on the other acting as experiential accounts. For example, an old woman told Philip Gourevitch in Rwanda two years after the genocide: A certain Girumuhatse is back a man who beat me during the war with a stick, and from whom I received a machete blow also. This man threw me into a ditch after killing off my whole family. I was wounded. He’s now at his house again. (Rwanda 303)

To Witness and Remember  185 He reports that as the old woman spoke, she “constantly made a chopping motion with her hand against the side of her neck”. While certainly not doubting the veracity of her accusation, Gourevitch seems unsure about how to situate it in his narrative. Understandably, he offers it both as historical fact and as an expression of traumatic experience. Importantly, he also describes the circumstances of how he elicits both this testimony and the response by the accused, Girumuhatse. The messy informality and casualness of both encounters, and the cautiousness exhibited by both Rwandans towards Gourevitch, are important in any interpretation by readers of this text. Kennedy suggests that it is crucial to understand the conditions under which testimonies are produced and their purpose: “the immediate audience for the testimonies, whether the witnesses knew the audience, whether there was a situation of trust, whether the setting was formal or informal”.23 Narrating cases of profoundly disturbing experience and bringing coherence to the flow of events is not easy. It can be difficult to find expression and structure that are appropriate and adequate for these intense episodes. Shane Graham, in the context of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), comments: “The traumatic event precludes closure and continues to haunt the survivor’s present, that event cannot be rendered into a linear telling of the past, so stories about trauma are prone to fragmentation, displacement, and distortion”.24 It has been suggested that witness literature is therefore by necessity “a mongrel form of literature . . . The requirements of veracity distort the literary form while the literary form distorts the testimony”.25 David Espey, in reviewing the field of US writing about Vietnam and the war, claims that: “[t]ravel writing is often pulled in two directions—towards an external, public, journalistic focus—and an inner, more private perspective, tending towards memoir”.26 The tension between factual truth and psychological or personal truth can be extreme in travel writing that attempts to deal with trauma and injustice. Significant silences can also occur in reconciliation travel texts. Sometimes the silence is in the form of an absence, as either a conscious or an unconscious attempt to avoid articulating something disturbing. But in some travel accounts attention is clearly directed to silences and to their significance. So, in Catfish and Mandala, Andrew Pham’s response to a US veteran’s heart-rending plea for forgiveness, for understanding the torment he has had to endure, is silence. This is “the most honoured gift, the singular gift we Vietnamese give best, the gift into which one can cast all one’s sorrow like trash into an abyss” (Catfish 9). Philip Schlesinger suggests that silence in Sebald’s seminal hybrid works such as Austerlitz, “can be a sanctuary which protects speakers from themselves and from their histories”, and also that to forget “offers an escape route” (Sebald 48). Silences are frequently gendered. Nthabiseng Motsemme, writing about women’s frequent unwillingness to speak of their experiences within the South African TRC, insists that such silences should be considered “as part of a range of ‘languages of pain and grief’ ”.27 For Motsemme these silences

186  Peter Bishop arise from encounters with “unspeakability”, with silence as “a site for coping and the restitution of the self”.28 Similar conclusions have been drawn from other studies, such as Tankink and Richters’ discussion of refugee women from the Southern Sudan.29 They suggest that silence can also be a form of resistance to often oppressive and heavily gendered dominant narrative constructions by which rules and meanings of everyday life of cultures are proscribed. Nthabiseng Motsemme insists that silence can be seen as another language “through which women speak volumes”.30 Who Are “We”? Imagining Responsibility During the course of working on Neither Wolf nor Dog with Dan, the elderly Native American, Kent Nerburn, becomes agitated at being bracketed with all white American culture—past and present. Dan says accusingly, “We, the native Americans, were welcoming . . . when your white people first came among us . . .” (NWD 122). Then he continues, “you destroyed that welcome” (NWD 123). Nerburn reacts silently, to himself, “I didn’t give anyone smallpox blankets . . . I didn’t sail on any damn Pinta or Nina or Santa Maria, and I didn’t . . . ride with General Custer” (NWD 85–86). He continues: My discomfort had become acute. He [Dan] had made the identification I had most feared—me as all white people; him as all Indian people. The brush was too broad, and I knew that he knew it. But his mind was clouded by exhaustion, anger, and hurt. (NWD 192) Penny Rossiter, writing about responsibility, asks, who are “we” anyway, the collective “we” implicated in the demands of reconciliation?31 She insists that there should be heightened awareness of possible traces of colonial frames and narratives in texts associated with reconciliation and in the ways that these are read, plus vigilance towards the imbalances and assumptions of the power to narrate, to “other”. She suggests that any collective identity has to embrace all aspects of the collective past. An example of this occurs in Catfish and Mandala with Pham’s complex resolution of his VietnameseAmerican-ness. He attempts to occupy multiple positions as witness, victim, and perpetrator: both as the innocent and the guilty. He tries to cope with being simultaneously an ex-refugee and a privileged cosmopolitan North American. A key struggle in contemporary Australia is over the refusal by many to accept any degree of “collective blame”, or what has been called “the black armband” view of white Australian history. In a parallel to holocaust-­denying historiography, the magnitude of the genocidal impact on indigenous culture is sometimes denied. Much contemporary Australian travel writing is replete with this struggle over identity and history, over the “we” and the “what happened”.

To Witness and Remember  187 Yet, responsibility, especially when applied to collective sensibility, is a contentious and slippery notion. Like so many other ideas associated with reconciliation, there are tensions between legal, ethical, and political interpretations of responsibility. Andrew Schaap argues that “all those who find themselves implicated in State wrongs as supporters or beneficiaries of the previous regime should acknowledge their share of collective responsibility for those wrongs”.32 He suggests that the assumption of responsibility is a necessary political act which “opens the way for forgiveness, restoration and social healing”.33 However, the notion of being implicated, let alone a beneficiary of past injustices, committed in previous times or just without one’s knowledge, is complex. Rossiter discusses three ways of theorising collective responsibility over and above clearly obvious and direct culpability. At the most basic level, the argument is that if people want to proudly identify with a national past and present, with a national “we”, then they have to identify with the shameful aspects as well. An alternative interpretation stresses the obligations inherent within an ethical citizenship rather than just in a vague notion of national identity. It has been argued that citizenship carries historical obligations: “Future-oriented ethical practices insinuate retrospective duties—to acknowledge past commitments”.35 Finally, there is the argument that individual and collective identities, with all their fragile uncertainties, are inextricably related through a shared social imaginary. Reconciliation from this perspective requires an “ongoing critical and historical examination of the production of ‘us’ ”.36 Narrating Reconciliation Travel In Scribbling the Cat, Fuller calls the young black African woman tortured to death by K, “a martyr”, whereas she and K were apparently free, although this freedom was an illusion given the burden of memory, guilt, and responsibility that they continuously carried: “Never free. Not if we thought about what we had done” (Scribbling 154). But what had she done? During the war she had only been a child. But it seems as if now, as an adult, she wants to feel guilt and blame. Why does she want to locate herself so severely on the gradient of guilt? She had been just a child, while K had been a soldier who committed a war crime. Perhaps her vicarious identification with K gives more impetus to her search for “redemption”? On her journey Fuller meets other veterans of the Rhodesian war. They are eccentric and solitary men in the African bush, haunted by the war, who scream during their recurring nightmares. In the face of the madness, the unresolved hatreds, bitterness, and shame of these veterans, she ends up nauseous, doubting her mission: I didn’t care about the tapes, or the film . . . I didn’t care about any of it, because putting their story into words and onto film and tapes had

188  Peter Bishop changed nothing. Nothing . . . told me or shown me—and nothing I could ever write about them—could undo the pain of their having been on the planet. Neither could I ever undo what I had wrought. (Scribbling 237–38) Deborah Britzman writes of “difficult knowledge”, pointing to a crisis of witnessing, “in which the learner is incapable of an adequate response”.37 Much of the book Neither Wolf nor Dog describes the struggles between Dan (the elderly Native American) and Nerburn (the white writer) over the style the writing should take, and over the legitimacy and voice of Nerburn’s authorship. Dan adopts a teacher, even a guru role—strict, taciturn, dismissive, direct. Nerburn is not always happy about this. At times he feels compelled to strongly defend his right to authorship: “I have had the good fortune to have lived and worked among Indian people. I have sat at their tables, talked with them about their children, . . . helped them bury their dead . . . I have been part of their lives.” He continues, “I am neither a white exploiter who traffics in Indian themes because they are popular, nor a blueeyed wannabe who has miraculously discovered a Cherokee grandmother somewhere in my distant past” (NWD 2). He sets out with the highest of motives: “I had a human obligation to try to bridge the gap” between Indian and non-Indian cultures. But his first draft is thought to be “too white”. He is told, “It sounds alright. But it just don’t sound real. It sounds too much like movie Indians” (NWD 27). It is too neat. A resentful and suspicious granddaughter of Dan’s attacks Nerburn: “White people shouldn’t write books about Indians.” “I’m not writing a book about Indians, . . . I’m writing a book for an Indian. That’s what he wants.” “Why didn’t he ask an Indian?” “I don’t know. I’ve wondered that myself”. (NWD 211) In much travel writing, several characters, working with the central protagonist, the ‘narrator’, can form a complex ‘voice’. These can be seen as aspects of a multi-vocal, fragmented, narrating subjectivity. In Catfish and Mandala, prior to the narrator, Pham, embarking for Vietnam on his quest for identity, a pilgrimage to his ancestral land, to the place of his childhood memories and site of his family’s stories, he meets a US veteran, like many, haunted by the war and emotionally scarred. In tears, he apologizes to Pham: “I’m sorry, man. I’m really sorry.” “How can I forgive you?” a perplexed Pham reflects to himself: What have you done to my people? But who are my people? I don’t know them . . . Then why, of us two, am I the saviour, and you the sinner? (Catfish 9)

To Witness and Remember  189 This coupling with a Vietnam “Vet” is a literary device that enhances Pham’s sense of ‘we-ness’ and facilitates a direct experience of being a bearer of US ‘guilt’. In effect, it enriches his speaking position both as a perpetrator seeking forgiveness and a victim who can forgive. Multiple characters gather around the narrator, allowing other speaking positions and ways of accessing other kinds of witnessing, experiencing, and expressions of emotionality. In Scribbling the Cat, the veteran and the woman narrator form a travelling synergy, or imaginative union, that allows a simultaneous displacement and identification with oppression and guilt. In Sebald’s ficto-autobiographic travel text, Austerlitz, this narrative complexity becomes highly sophisticated. The central character, the protagonist Austerlitz, had been sent to Britain as a child refugee by his Jewish parents anxious about the rise of Nazi anti-Semitism. He had then lost all recollection of his origins and had no idea of the tragedy that marked his early life. As an adult, Austerlitz knows that something is not quite right and that he needs to find ways to remember. He lives like a flâneur, going on lonely walks, noting things in obsessive detail, and recounting these from time to time to the narrator. Schlesinger suggests that: Sebald positions the narrator as a recorder of testimony. He is also cast as a witness to the protracted suffering that is revealed through the protagonist’s recovery of memory. And ultimately, he takes on the responsibility of mourning. (Sebald 54) The narrator is “self-effacing and unclear” and is a crucial character. “Behind the narrator is a German-in-exile who chooses to bear witness to Jewish suffering at the hands of a previous generation of Germans”. Controversially, the narrator almost assumes the identity of a Jewish writer. The narrator, insists Schlesinger, “is there to accept the burden of Jewish remembrance” (Sebald 55). Prager suggests that Sebald’s writing “raises numerous questions regarding how non-Jewish German authors can adequately represent the Holocaust and its consequences”.38 He argues that “the moral basis of his [Sebald’s] authorial position is troubled by his choice to narrate from the standpoint of an empathetic German”, although Prager is not suggesting that only Holocaust survivors can comment on the terrible things that took place.39 In these situations the type of authorial voice adopted clearly becomes crucial. Schlesinger argues that Sebald “sought an appropriate ‘subject-position’ for one with his particular sense of responsibility about the historical relations between Germans and Jews”, drawing parallels between his own writing and with the work of “taking testimonies from victims of the Holocaust” (Sebald 51). Prager is uncertain about the success of Sebald’s solution and comments that despite “his attempts to let victims speak for themselves—to allow their voices to emerge—Sebald’s work at times blurs important differences between the speaker and the listener”.40

190  Peter Bishop Linda Alcoff insists that every narrating position is problematic. As already discussed, even silences can be complex and rich in meanings. Speaking for oneself, self-representation by necessity also represents others and positions them. Alcoff suggests that authors need to “strive to create . . . the conditions for dialogue and the practice of speaking with and to rather than speaking for others”.41 This is perhaps a deceptively over-simplistic solution to a complex problem, particularly within the intensely cross-cultural or cross-community antagonisms and mistrust being addressed in reconciliation travel writing. As Judith Butler succinctly points out, the “very notion of ‘dialogue’ is culturally specific and historically bound”. The result, she concludes, is that “while one speaker may feel secure that a conversation is happening, another may be sure it is not”.42 The Landscape of Reconciliation and the Struggle for Memory In Catfish and Mandala, Pham writes, “Here’s to you Saigon. I’ve come for my memories. Give me reconciliation” (Catfish 62). Integral to a landscape of reconciliation are key places and their associated memories. When, in Neither Wolf nor Dog, Kent Nerburn goes to meet Dan for the first time, the sense of place is crucial: “I checked the map and marked my progress. The reservations were defined only by slightly off-color squares surrounded by dotted lines” (NWD 10). Nerburn struggled to imagine: . . . an America seen from within these tiny islands in a sea of invading cities and farms. I thought of how a mild sense of discomfort overcame me whenever I crossed one of these borders into a reservation, and how I felt vaguely alien, unwanted, even threatened. (NWD 11) He became acutely aware of the mirror-experience of Native Americans: “Travelling across great expanses of country, feeling that same threat and alienation until they could reach the protective confines of one of the tiny off-color squares that were so few and separated on the vast map of our country” (NWD 10–11). Similarly, in Reconcilation, Gordon insists that not only are the Aboriginal lands integral to the sense of indigenous exclusion and neglect, to the question of re-imagining landownership and dispossession, so fundamental to reconciliation in Australia, but that there is also a profound and disturbing sense of difference between these places and the rest of Australia. It is as if reconciliation is compelled to include remembering, healing, and empowerment which involve border-crossings between different orders of place. The landscape of Austerlitz’s tortuous journey in Sebald’s Austerlitz is defined by European railway stations, odd corners of cities, and holocaust museums. In Neither Wolf nor Dog, Nerburn is taken on a journey across

To Witness and Remember  191 “Indian country”, scarred and haunted by memories of injustice, trauma, and suffering. Much of the driving, in an old car, is vague, at night, through unmarked country. He cannot identify direction, route, or purpose for most of the time, as he is taken far from mainstream white places and even from conceptions of what a journey should entail. The landscape is rolling grassland; often there are no roads. His Indian companions occasionally stop at run-down, red-neck towns. He is taken past key sites, memorials of Native American relationship to the land, and to the history of a bitter encounter with white culture. Museums and Memorials Struck by the absence of any clear signs of the terrible catastrophe that had so recently overwhelmed Rwanda, Gourevitch muses about possible ways of ensuring that there is no forgetting, and of how to engage with memory. He reflects on how “a new national narrative” could be constructed, one “that could simultaneously confront the genocide and offer a way to move on from it” (Rwanda 220). The Canadian UN military escort Gourevitch to Nyarubuye, a “rocky hill with a church where many Tutsis were slaughtered in mid-April of 1994” (Rwanda 15). Even though it is over a year since the killing, the dead remain unburied. This was, he states, a deliberate decision by the authorities to reinforce the impact of the site as a memorial (Rwanda 16). As sites where emotional and memory work can take place, memorials and museums are integral to the geography, landscape, and rituals of reconciliation. Like Gourevitch, Pico Iyer visits a site of atrocities which has been transformed into a museum. Tuol Sleng is a former girl’s school that was used as a centre for interrogation and torture by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Iyer describes many hundreds of photographs lining the walls, images of “the people, often children, . . . who were executed here. One large wall is dominated by a map of Cambodia made up entirely of skulls” (SAD 57). The Museum of Genocidal Crime, as the signs call it, “has long been one of the principal tourist sites in Phnom Penh” (SAD 58). Unsurprisingly, it is mentioned in some detail in the Lonely Planet Guide to Cambodia (2000). Clearly, however, the meanings generated depend on the visitor’s relationship to the historical events. Unlike Pico Iyer, there is a direct conduit linking Andrew Pham’s past with contemporary memorials in South East Asia, and he seeks out Minh Luong Prison where his father was incarcerated and threatened daily with summary execution before his eventual release and the family’s flight to the United States of America. He also goes to war memorials. But Pham is not sure what he is actually seeking. Museums are not only information-saturated and carefully-themed tourist sites. They can also function as heterotopias, as places where multiple layers of meaning co-exist, both for locals and foreigners. Here, I could point

192  Peter Bishop to the community involvement in The District Six museum in Cape Town, as well as to memorials that have been built in South Africa’s townships by the local communities. Lazarus Kgalema, of the Johannesburg-based Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, calls them “Symbols of Hope”, insisting that they are “peace pursuing guide posts in the process of reconciliation”.43 Memorials can concentrate and focus both the mind and the emotions. They are deeply involved in the struggles over memory, understanding, reconciliation, and hope. At the conclusion of Neither Wolf nor Dog, Nerburn is taken to the memorial to the Indian victims of the massacre at Wounded Knee. Here, in 1890, hundreds of mainly elderly men, women, and children were murdered by US soldiers. Unlike Rwanda, over a hundred years have passed. The demands on memory differ in the two situations, and much work of reconciliation in the US situation still remains to be done. For Dan, the Indian elder, this is the site for a final ritual to get Nerburn to understand, a last chance for him to be initiated into understanding time and memory from Dan’s perspective. Nerburn is deeply moved and upset. Austerlitz’s journey takes him through what John Wylie has called a “spectral”, haunted geography.44 Amid the spatial fragments there are only hopelessness and dream-like dissociation. A visit to the bleak Breendonk fortress, once used as a holding-ghetto for Jews on their way to the concentration camps and now a stark museum, scarcely shifts the haze that engulfs Austerlitz’s memory. This was where the protagonist, Austerlitz, Sebald’s alter ego, lost contact with his mother and father. Schlesinger reports Sebald as saying that he wanted to “create an alternative Holocaust museum” in the form of the book, Austerlitz (Sebald 44). Remembrance can be “a difficult return”, and many—not just perpetrators but also victims—prefer to learn instead the art of forgetting.45 According to Gourevitch, many who survived the genocide in Rwanda “regret that they weren’t killed”. People wanted to forget so that they could try to get on with life. He was criticised for asking too many painful questions: “We were beginning to forget, but now it’s as if you had a wound that was healing and then someone came and reopened it”. He reluctantly concluded that “there could be no complete closing of the wound for the generation that suffered it” (Rwanda 316). Gourevitch suggested that it was outsiders, from the West, who seemed most impatient for reconciliation in Rwanda. They seemed to forget how long healing after an event such as the Holocaust was taking, and how complex was the reconciliation process half a century after the horror had ended. It was as if Africans were somehow different. “Some people even think we should not be affected”, Gourevitch is told: “They think . . . when you’ve lost some family, you can be consoled, given some bread and tea—and forget about it . . . Sometimes I think this is contempt for us” (Rwanda 337). In Cambodia, Pico Iyer is told by a guide showing him around Tuol Sleng, the “Museum of Genocidal Crime”: “I don’t want to think more about Khmer Rouge, . . . They killed my brother. They pulled

To Witness and Remember  193 down my life. They took my education—everything—to zero. I want peace” (SAD 60). The Cambodian museum guide tells Iyer that locals constantly ask why he wants to look at these things. They say, “It’s easier to forget” (SAD 63). The challenge for these memorials is to find ways of offering hope without short-circuiting remembrance. Tourism and Pilgrimage At the beginning of 2005 I joined many others on visits to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, to the District Six Museum in Cape Town, and, by boat, to Robben Island, the infamous prison where Nelson Mandela and thousands of other non-white opponents to Apartheid were incarcerated for years. A diverse spectrum of people visit such places: victims, activists, locals, and even, I am sure, ‘perpetrators’, plus the general public, including those from the previous apartheid white community who supported, or at least tolerated, apartheid (whether acknowledged or not). In addition, foreign tourists visit these sites, many of which are now on tourist maps. Tourist guides at such places can often be ex-activists and ex-victims. All can, in part, be reconciliation workers. Tourism is consistently defined as travel for pleasure. So how can, or does, tourism and its associated texts handle more challenging emotions, bad feeling, sadness, and awful thoughts? How does it handle various types of encounter with sites of disturbing remembrance? As we have seen, it is not unusual for travellers/tourists to seek out the darker side of places, guided there by travel books—refugee camps, death camps, massacre sites. Of course, the motivation for such visits may be just macabre curiosity, a desire to rub up against a marker of big history, or a counter to being caught in a tourism package, a desperate attempt to find authenticity. Ian Munt points to the “emergence of new social movements” that are linked to “an oppositional postmodern tourism”.46 He cites an interest in minority cultures, mass non-western cultures, “religious traditions, ethnicity, environment and ecology”. There is also a range of educational trips or tours such as those run by various Tibet-support associations, designed to produce witnessing and remembering of Chinese oppression and Tibetan resistance. Many forms of reconciliation-related travel are linked to NGOs such as CARE or WWF. There are numerous indigenous-organised tours in Australia, although these are not free from a critique that indigenous culture is being overly packaged for tourist consumption and appropriated by nonindigenous Australia for its own purposes.47 Reconciliation travel can be like a shadow pilgrimage, either as a public display of apology and healing, or as something more private and personal. In 2003, hundreds of young Australians began a pilgrimage in the name of reconciliation to Uluru, also previously known as Ayers Rock, at the heart of Australia. It was reported that traditional custodians would

194  Peter Bishop teach the young pilgrims about indigenous culture and that the pilgrimage was grounded in the Easter Message of reconciliation between God and humans. A similar highly visible mass walk for reconciliation was undertaken by hundreds of Christians who set off from Cologne in Germany in 1996 to trace the path of the First Crusade of 1096. The purpose of this walk was to offer an apology for the crusade’s more ignoble deeds. By contrast, Gao Xingjian’s ficto-autobiographical “journey” in Soul Mountain was a deeply solitudinous and private personal quest played out against a disturbing social background. Here was a desperate search for some reconciliatory fulcrum that was both personal and social.48 Often the sense of pilgrimage can be a subtext, or just surface momentarily in texts of reconciliation travel—as in an account of a trip to Robben Island, Auschwitz, or Nagasaki. Sometimes, with difficult returns to places haunted by disturbing personal memories, the journeys are perhaps more in search of exorcism than quests of pilgrimage. Reconciliation as a Challenge for Travel Writing Why are so few travel accounts seemingly written by ‘victims’ or by the less powerful? Why are they all apparently from one side of the divide? Is it to do with my personal research limits? Is it to do with the nature of travel of or writing about travel? Is the scholarly definition of the genre too restricted in scope? Basic to the nature of many social reconciliation practices are the postcolonial challenges of a wounded and wounding intercultural dialogue. This brings into bolder and sharper relief questions that are inherent within the core of travel writing—as a genre and a practice. In particular are issues to do with inequalities: of mobility and border movements; of power in discursive practices and codes; in access to publishing and reading; and in the very frames and epistemes that define travel/writing as a scholarly and popular paradigm. I suggest we stay vigilant both to the limitations imposed by western-centric interpretive and defining frameworks, and to the emergence of new postcolonial forms and narrative multiplicities. Jody Rank, writing about Rwanda, insists that much talking and writing on reconciliation is from within a liberal and humanitarian frame that desires “to produce closure, to know the past as it was, without coming to terms with the political inscription of violence and one’s complicity within structures that carry great potential to reinscribe violent discourses under the guise of peace or justice”.49 A reconciliation frame therefore can force us to look for other modes of travel writing. For example, how far does one need to travel before it becomes a journey? Narratives of home and of the local can sometimes be read as types of travel writing. A visit to a museum

To Witness and Remember  195 that remembers the local and the community, such as that of District Six in Cape Town, or to local township memorials, can be more about a sense of home-ness than of anything exotic, particularly for the many locals who visit and work there. How have such travels been written about? Perhaps we should attend to oral narratives? Perhaps we can identify reconciliation travel songs? Much depends on the extent to which a piece of travel writing is simply an account or discussion of reconciliation, and how much it is a deliberate intervention into the process, a contribution to reconciliation. Certainly, travel writing can be considered one mode of reconciliation practice. The manner of the writing, the ‘telling’ and ‘reading’, plus the context within which these occur, are of clear importance and are directly addressed by some authors. We have already seen that Sebald’s writing crosses and transgresses many conventional genres. Iyer suggests that Sebald invented “a new kind of travel writing” and that his travel text, Rings of Saturn (1995), reads more like a novel, while the novel Austerlitz runs close to travel writing (SAD 73). Others consider Austerlitz a complex mix of quasi-ethnographic travelogue, autobiography, novel, and a collection of short stories.50 Other examples of hybrid ‘travel’ writing include Gao Xingjian’s Soul Mountain, in which the author uses a ficto-autobiographical mode and multiple narrating positions in his struggle to ‘tell’ of existential survival in Maoist China. Stephen Muecke’s No Road blends the conventions of scholarship, autobiography, and travel writing in order to locate both himself and Australian society within a postcolonial context and, potentially, a reconciliation frame.51 The writing of each of these authors disturbs comfortable, univocal, and linear forms of narrative. Endings During a difficult time of sickness on his Vietnam journey, Andrew Pham is befriended by an elderly Vietnamese man, a poor peasant, “a stranger-onceenemy” who tries to heal him. They talk about the war and about Pham’s friend, the GI veteran. “Tell your friend”, says the elderly Vietnamese, that there “is nothing to forgive. There is no hate in this land. No hate in my heart” (Catfish 267, 284–85). But for Fuller, in Scribbling the Cat the ending is bitter: “Instead of giving each other some kind of peace and understanding, we had inflamed existing wounds. Far from being a story of reconciliation and understanding, this ended up being a story about what happens when . . .” (Scribbling 250–51). A key role of reconciliation travel writing is its contribution to what Graham calls “the restoration of narrative”.52 However, as has been argued, this is rarely a simple matter, and closure, despite much hope, is seldom fully achieved.

196  Peter Bishop Notes 1. This chapter is part of an Australian Research Council project (DP0451610), Rethinking Reconciliation & Pedagogy in Unsettling Times. The project is a collaboration between A/Professor Peter Bishop, Dr Robert Hattam, Dr Stephen Atkinson (University of South Australia), Dr Julie Matthews (University of the Sunshine Coast), A/Professor Pam Christie (University of Queensland), and Professor Pal Ahluwalia (University of Adelaide). 2. Ian Hacking, “Memoro-politics, trauma and the soul”, History of the Human Sciences 7, no. 2 (1994): 29–52 (at p. 32). 3. John Frow, “The Politics of Stolen Time”, Meanjin 52, no. 2 (1998): 351–67 (at p. 364). 4. Pal Ahluwalia, “Toward (re)conciliation: The post-colonial economy of giving”, Social Identities 6, no. 1 (2000): 29–48 (at p. 42). 5. Alexandra Fuller, Scribbling the Cat (London: Picador, 2004). Further references to and quotations from Scribbling the Cat are included parenthetically in the text after the abbreviation Scribbling. 6. Andrew Pham, Catfish and Mandala (New York: Picador, 1999). Further references to and quotations from Catfish and Mandala are included parenthetically in the text after the abbreviation Catfish. 7. David Espey, “Americans in Vietnam: Travel Writing & the War”, Studies in Travel Writing 8, no. 2 (2004): 149–78. 8. Kent Nerburn, Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads With an Indian Elder (San Rafael, CA: New World Library, 1994). Further references to and quotations from Neither Wolf nor Dog are included parenthetically in the text after the abbreviation NWD. 9. Michael Gordon, Reconciliation: A Journey (Sydney: UNSW Press, 2001). See also Graeme Sparkes, The Red Island: A Journey Around Australia (Melbourne: The Text Publishing, 1997). 10. Philip Gourevitch, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda (New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1998). Further references to and quotations from this text are included parenthetically after the abbreviation Rwanda. On the relationship between journalism and travel writing, see Elfriede Fursich and Anandam Kavoori, “Mapping a Critical Framework for the Study of Travel Journalism”, International Journal of Cultural Studies 4, no. 2 (2001): 149–71. 11. Pico Iyer, Sun After Dark: Flights Into the Foreign (London: Bloomsbury, 2005). Further references to and quotations from Sun After Dark are included parenthetically in the text after the abbreviation SAD. 12. Lonely Planet, Aboriginal Australia & the Torres Strait Islands: Guide to Indigenous Australia (Melbourne: Lonely Planet Press, 2001). See also Alex Tickell, “Footprints on the Beach: Traces of Colonial Adventure in Narratives of Independent Tourism”, Postcolonial Studies, 4, no. 1 (2001): 39–54. 13. E.g., http://www.mortiboy.co.uk/sa/robben_island.htm; http://www.geocities. com/joopbersee/riopen.html. Date of access: 17/03/05. 14. W. G. Sebald, Austerlitz (London: Penguin, 2002); Gao Xingjian, (2003) Soul Mountain (Sydney: HarperCollins, 2003); Alexander Kanengoni, Echoing Silences (London: Heinemann, 1998); Shao-Pin Luo, “Magic Mountain and Sacred Script: A Bakhtinian Reading of the Novels of Gao Xingjian”, Critique 46, no. 3 (2005): 283–300; Gao Xingjian, “Literature as Testimony: The Search for Truth”, in Witness Literature: Proceedings of the Nobel Centennial Symposium, ed. Horace Engdahl (Singapore: World Scientific, 2002), pp. 113–29; Philip Schlesinger, “W. G. Sebald and the Condition of Exile”, Theory,

To Witness and Remember  197 Culture & Society, 21, no. 2 (2004): 43–67. Further page references will be given parenthetically in the text after the abbreviation Sebald. 15. Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines (London: Picador, 1987). Among others that could be read from a reconciliation perspective are: Rian Malan, My Traitor’s Heart (New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990); Pedro Rosa Mendes, Bay of Tigers: A Journey Through War-Torn Angola (London: Granta Books, 2003); and Dervla Murphy, Visiting Rwanda (Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 1998). 16. Horace Engdahl, “Philomela’s Tongue: Introductory Remarks on Witness Literature”, in Witness Literature: Proceedings of the Nobel Centennial Symposium, ed. Horace Engdahl (Singapore: World Scientific, 2002), pp. 1–14 (at p. 3). 17. Claudia Eppert, “Relearning Questions: Responding to the Ethical Address of Past and Present Others”, in Between Hope and Despair: Pedagogy and the Remembrance of Historical Trauma, eds. Roger Simon, Sharon Rosenberg, and Claudia Eppert (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000), pp. 213–30 (at p. 214). 18. See Engdahl, “Philomela’s Tongue”, p. 11. 19. Gordon, “Reconciliation”, p. 9. See also Li Rui, “Cloned Eyes”, in Witness Literature: Proceedings of the Nobel Centennial Symposium, ed. Horace Engdahl (Singapore: World Scientific, 2002), pp. 77–84 (at p. 79). 20. Rosanne Kennedy, “Stolen Generations Testimony: Trauma, Historiography, and the Question of ‘Truth”, Aboriginal History, 25 (2001): 116–31 (at p. 116). 21. Kennedy, “Stolen Generations”, p. 119. 22. Kennedy, “Stolen Generations”, p. 124. 23. Kennedy, “Stolen Generations”, p. 128. 24. Shane Graham, “The Truth Commission and Post-Apartheid Literature in South Africa”, Research in African Literatures 34, no. 1 (2003): 45–56 (at p. 13). 25. Peter Englund, “The Bedazzled Gaze”, in Witness Literature: Proceedings of the Nobel Centennial Symposium, ed. Horace Engdahl (Singapore: World Scientific, 2002), pp. 45–56 (at p. 52). 26. Espey, “Americans in Vietnam”, p. 155. 27. Nthabiseng Motsemme, “The Mute Always Speak: On Women’s Silences at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission”, Current Sociology, 52, no. 5 (2004): 909–32 (at p. 910). 28. Motsemme, “The Mute Always Speak”, pp. 915 and 923. 29. Marian Tankink and Annemiek Richters, “Silence as a Coping Strategy: The Case of Refugee Women in the Netherlands from South Sudan who Experienced Sexual Violence in the Context of War”, in Voices of Trauma, eds. Boris Drozdek and John Wilson (New York: Springer, 2007), pp. 191–210. 30. Motsemme, “The Mute Always Speak”, pp. 909–10. 31. Penny Rossiter, “Imagining Responsibility: Who Are ‘We’ Anyway?”, Continuum: Journal of Media & Critical Studies, 16, no. 1 (2002): 81–94. 32. Andrew Schaap, “Assuming Responsibility in the Hope of Reconciliation”, borderlands e-journal, 3, no. 1 (2004): pp. 1–9 (at p. 2). 33. Schaap, “Assuming Responsibility”, p. 2. 34. Rossiter, “Imagining Responsibility”, p. 83. 35. Rossiter, “Imagining Responsibility”, p. 86. 36. Deborah Britzman, Lost Subjects, Contested Objects (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998), p. 118. Also, Deborah Britzman, “If the Story Cannot End”, in Between Hope and Despair: Pedagogy and the Remembrance of

198  Peter Bishop Historical Trauma, eds. Roger Simon, Sharon Rosenberg, and Claudia Eppert (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000), pp. 27–58. 37. Brad Prager, “The Good German as Narrator: On W. G. Sebald and the Risks of Holocaust Writing”, New German Critique, 96 (2005): 75–102 (at p. 75). 38. Prager, “The Good German”, pp. 82–83. 39. Prager, “The Good German”, p. 101. 40. Linda Alcoff, “The Problem of Speaking for Others”, Cultural Critique (Winter 1991/2): 5–32 (at p. 23). 41. Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1990), pp. 14–15. 42. Lazarus Kgalema, “Symbols of Hope: Monuments as Symbols of Remembrance and Peace in the Process of Reconciliation”, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, (1999), http://www.csvr.org.za/papers/papkgal1. htm. Date of access: 17/03/05, p. 1. 43. John Wylie, “The Spectral Geographies of W. G. Sebald”, Cultural Geographies 14 (2007): 171–88. 44. Roger Simon, Sharon Rosenberg & Claudia Eppert, “ Introduction”, in Between Hope and Despair: Pedagogy and the Remembrance of Historical Trauma, eds. Roger Simon, Sharon Rosenberg, and Claudia Eppert (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000), pp. 1–8 (at p. 3). 45. Ian Munt, “The ‘Other’ Postmodern Tourism: Culture, Travel and the New Middle Classes”, Theory, Culture & Society 11 (1994): 101–23 (at pp. 104–5). 46. E.g., Chris Healy, “White Feet and Black Trails: Travelling Cultures at the Lurujarri Trail”, Postcolonial Studies 2, no. 1 (1999): 55–73. 47. See Michel-Rolph Trouillot, “Abortive Rituals: Historical Apologies in the Global Era”, Interventions 2, no. 2 (2000): 171–86. 48. Jody Rank, “Beyond Reconciliation: Memory and Alterity in Post-Genocide Rwanda”, in Between Hope and Despair: Pedagogy and the Remembrance of Historical Trauma, eds. Roger Simon, Sharon Rosenberg, and Claudia Eppert (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000), pp. 187–212 (at p. 209). 49. John Zilcosky, “Lost and Found: Disorientation, Nostalgia, and Holocaust Melodrama in Sebald’s Austerlitz”, MLN 121, no. 2 (2006): 679–98. See also Schlesinger, “W. G. Sebald”, p. 49. 50. Stephen Muecke, No Road (Freemantle: Freemantle Arts Centre Press, 1997). 51. Shane Graham, “The Truth Commission and Post-Apartheid Literature in South Africa”, Research in African Literatures 34, no. 1 (2003): 11–30 (at p. 12).

13 The Political Tourist’s Archive Susan Meiselas’s Images of Nicaragua Maureen Moynagh

I have for a number of years been reading the work of twentieth-century artists and intellectuals that I regard as political tourists, that is, those whose travel is motivated by a desire to participate in or manifest solidarity with a political struggle ostensibly not their own. In researching these writers, I have spent a good deal of time in archives, looking at travel diaries, at photographs, at scrapbooks—looking, in short, at the souvenirs of political tourism, mementos of a politically engaged life. I have begun to think about the archival value of this material that for me manifests the processes of identification and the political affect that characterize the work of those who travel in order to change both the world and themselves. The texts that political tourists produce, as well as the other documents they keep, are testimony to an archival practice at the heart of political tourism, and it is that archival practice that I aim to focus on here. I am, of course, aware that the documents that end up in actually existing archives are not entirely up to the political tourists in question: the documents are subject to another set of archival practices, namely those of literary executors and institutional archivists, and the documents are also subject to the untimely deaths of their owners, to the depredations of war or other destructive forces, or the decisions of loved ones to keep and even to publish what was meant to be burned, or to burn what might have been kept. According to Derrida, “the archive, if this word or this figure can be stabilized so as to take on a signification, will never be either memory or anamnesis as spontaneous, alive and internal experience”.1 I am, however, not reading the materials in a given archive as constituting an organic unity or, for that matter, as presenting incontrovertible evidence about events in the world. Instead, I am interested in discerning, from both published texts and other documents that the political tourists collected, the discursive practice that marks what the travellers elected to document. If, as Michael O’Driscoll and Edward Bishop put it, archives are “private histories entered into the public sphere”,2 political tourists’ accounts of their travels are always archival, recording as they do the affective engagement of the travellers with the place, the event, the struggle they have witnessed. Distinct from historical accounts of the events themselves—the Spanish Civil

200  Maureen Moynagh War, for instance, or the ongoing Zapatista insurrection in Mexico—the political tourists’ archive documents a dynamic set of global and local commitments, and a mobile knowledge gathered across international borders and categories of otherness. A spatio-temporal practice that supplements travel, the political tourist’s archival work endlessly (re)produces the tourist’s desire for affiliation with distant struggles. In conceiving the political tourist’s documentary practice as archival, I aim to signal the extent to which it is invested in the production of a particular kind of knowledge about the struggle the tourist seeks to observe. Analogous to Foucault’s conception of the archive as the law or system that regulates what may be said, and that confers a certain coherence on a collection of utterances,3 the political tourist’s archive is a discursive regime that shapes the way the traveller sees and documents the political actors in the scene of struggle, the scene itself, and the traveller’s relationship to them. Bearing in mind Foucault’s observation that one cannot describe one’s own archive because one inevitably must speak from within its rules,4 I must acknowledge that there are limits to the extent to which a given political tourist, or a critic invested in his or her political project such as myself, is able self-consciously to identify the contours of this discursive practice. That political tourists, by virtue of their privilege, are often implicated in discourses (of nation, gender, race, empire) that run counter to their political projects is another facet of this problem, particularly given that the travellers collect and produce knowledge about ‘others’ that is used to affirm their own sense of their project and, ultimately, themselves. In this chapter I am chiefly interested in the political affect that comes to mark the archival practices of political tourists—which means their investment in the political struggles they travel to, their relationships with those they meet, and their investment in the narratives they produce about the struggle they witness and document—and the ethico-political implications of producing an archive about a distant political struggle. The political tourist’s archive is ‘mobile’ in at least two senses: it crosses borders and extends the time of the tour; it is subject to change not only temporally, but by various actors in the struggle in which it participates as a repository of texts, signs, and images. I explore these facets of a political tourist’s archival practice by focusing on two inter-related texts that I think nicely illustrate something of what is at stake. In 1981, US photographer Susan Meiselas published Nicaragua, June 1978–July 1979, a collection of some of the photographs she took during the Sandinista insurrection. In Pictures from a Revolution, a documentary film she produced and co-directed, Meiselas narrates her return to Nicaragua ten years after she took the photographs.5 Her purpose in returning to Nicaragua in the late 1980s, precipitated in part by the Contra war and the challenges it posed to the Revolution, was to search for the people in the photographs she had taken, to find out what had happened to them since the Sandinista victory and, implicitly, to reassess the Revolution itself. The film offers an eloquent meditation on the archival impulses of a

The Political Tourist’s Archive  201 political tourist—for this is how I would characterize Meiselas’s relationship to the Sandinista Revolution—and it reveals something of the friability of the archive. Her journey is retrospective, even nostalgic, oriented toward the memories her photographs record. Yet we also learn about the tension between the photographs as records and the memories Meiselas has of the events she sought to record, and about the tension between the archive and its susceptibility to future (re)inscriptions. Meiselas’s journey in Pictures From a Revolution is arguably more courageous than her first sojourn in Nicaragua, as she opens her archive up to the subjects of her photographs, to their memories, to their often painful accounts of life in the wake of the ‘triumph’—in short, to their contestation of the meaning of her archive. In drawing our attention to the impossibility of the archive, Pictures From a Revolution works to expose the limits of the political tourist’s gaze, and it does so in a way that emphasizes the ethico-political ramifications of those limits. The documentary, moreover, while it arguably interrogates the earlier ‘archive’ of photographs is also itself archival, both in its impulse to take account of the revolution ten years later and in its collecting of the voices, the narratives of the subjects of Meiselas’s photographs. Documenting the struggle Meiselas opens her collection of photographs with a declaration of sorts: “Nicaragua. A year of news, as if nothing had happened before, as if the roots were not there, and the victory not earned. This book was made so that we remember”. While the photographs in Nicaragua, June 1978–July 1979 document the “year of news”, they are implicitly offered in testimony to the “roots” of the struggle, to all that had gone before the final year of struggle against the Somoza family dictatorship, which held power in Nicaragua from 1936–79. In fact, both the Somozas and the Sandinistas have a history that spans much of the twentieth century, and both are linked either to the promotion of, or resistance to, US imperialism in Nicaragua. Augusto César Sandino became famous as a general who fought both against the USinstalled government of Adolfo Díaz and against the continuing presence of US marines in Nicaragua.6 In 1927 Sandino led a small army of men into the mountains near San Rafael del Norte, which became a base for waging a guerrilla war against the marines. Katherine Hoyt points out that, significantly, “international solidarity with Sandino was enormous”.7 Not only did Sandino receive support from among the leading intellectual and political figures in Latin America; he also was sent messages by Nehru, Madame Sun Yat-sen, and Henri Barbusse.8 When the Marines finally withdrew in 1933, Sandino signed a peace accord with then President Juan Sacasa, but in February 1934 Anastasio Somoza Garcia, the new head of the US-trained National Guard, had him assassinated. Two years later Somoza ousted his uncle, Juan Sacasa, and made himself president of Nicaragua. He and his

202  Maureen Moynagh two sons, Luis and Anastasio Somoza Debayle, held power for the next forty-three years, enriching the family at the expense of the nation, even misappropriating international aid following the 1972 earthquake. In 1961, Carlos Fonseca, Tomás Borge, and Sylvio Mayoraga founded the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), or the Sandinista National Liberation Front, taking their inspiration as well as their name from Augusto Sandino. The connection between the FSLN and Sandino had an even more direct linkage. According to Katherine Hoyt, “[w]hen the early fighters of the FSLN went into the mountains, they found the old Sandinistas who had survived, and they learned from them how to flee from the National Guard and how to live in the jungle”.9 Over the course of the next eighteen years, the FSLN and several other resistance movements struggled in an effort to end the Somoza dictatorship. It was ultimately the FSLN, with the active support of other popular and middle-class organizations, which led the armed struggle that succeeded in toppling the dictatorship in July 1979. Like the first generation of Sandinistas, the FSLN and the revolution they led had a broad international following, attracting solidarity both during the insurrection and during the decade of Sandinista government that followed the ‘triumph’. Sometimes humorously dubbed “Sandalistas”, these political tourists included artists, intellectuals, journalists, and activists who travelled to Nicaragua to see the revolution firsthand and, in some cases, to participate in solidarity projects of various kinds.10 Nicaragua, June 1978–July 1979 is a collection of photographs that, if one follows the dates and titles provided on the first page, documents the “Somoza Regime” as Meiselas witnessed it in June of 1978, the “Insurrection” beginning in September of 1978, and the “Final Offensive” from June to July of 1979. The seventy-one colour photographs appear without commentary or title; following them, Meiselas presents thumbnail black-andwhite versions of the photographs with captions, together with a series of quotations from Nicaraguan officials and international figures, ordinary Nicaraguans, and members of the FSLN, and a historical chronology. Photographic meaning, as it has come to be constructed in western culture, would seem to be ideally suited to the creation of an archive. Allan Sekula points out that “[t]he photograph is imagined to have a primitive core of meaning, devoid of all cultural determination”; he adds that it is this mythology that “elevates the photograph to the legal status of document and testimonial”.11 Yet in a “culture that harnesses photographs to various representational tasks”, cultural determination is necessarily a facet of a photograph and of any archive to which it is consigned.12 Meiselas’s photographs arguably serve several “representational tasks” simultaneously: they are works of photojournalism, they are works of art, and they are works of solidarity with the Nicaraguan revolution. The book opens with a series of epigraphs commenting on the Nicaraguan revolution, inviting the viewer to “read” the images within an overtly political frame and as a kind of testimony on the part of the photographer. The images are beautifully composed, the human

The Political Tourist’s Archive  203 subject of these photographs is always foregrounded, and the photographs are ordered to present a clear narrative that moves from Nicaragua under the dictatorship, with the startling gap between the poverty in which most lived and the privilege of the few, through scenes of the brutality of the National Guard, worker and student resistance conducted under the banner of the FSLN, the popular insurrection, bombing by the National Guard, the Sandinista-led resistance, and finally the end of the dictatorship and the Sandinista victory. Meiselas’s photographs speak to a tradition of war photography identified most iconically with Robert Capa. Peter Monteath points out that “much of the impact of [Capa’s Spanish Civil War photograph Death of a Loyalist Soldier] lies in the realisation that the photographer was not a distanced observer, but a participant”.13 That Meiselas is very much the participant could hardly be more evident. Meiselas is close not only to the fighting—clearly putting her body at risk—but to many of the facets of the struggle. For instance, there are scenes of the National Guard and paramilitary soldiers searching civilians at gunpoint, or National Guard soldiers being taught to dismantle an M-16 rifle while blindfolded. If it is perhaps not surprising that a US photographer would be given access to a National Guard training school, her intimate access to the Sandinistas tells a different story. Meiselas documents young Sandinistas experimenting with homemade contact bombs, a young woman volunteer being taught how to fire a pistol, and volunteers taking food and munitions to guerrilla fighters in the mountains, a clandestine journey in which Meiselas participated. There is an image of an armed Sandinista soldier inside a house in Estelí and another of a neighbourhood bomb shelter dug under the street taken from inside someone’s home. It is not that Meiselas’s presence as a US citizen was never challenged by those sympathetic to the Sandinistas, but she was also evidently extended a good deal of trust. These photographs, without literally putting the body of the photographer on the scene she is documenting, nonetheless attest to her involvement and her partisanship. The documentary film Pictures From a Revolution does put Meiselas on the scene, supplying the narrative of Meiselas’s engagement with the revolution and with the earlier body of work collected in Nicaragua, June 1978–July 1979. Meiselas carries the book with her as she travels around Nicaragua, pointing to people in the photographs as she asks passers-by where she might find these individuals, and showing the subjects their images when she is successful in locating them. The photographs themselves are incorporated into the film: we move from the ten-year-old stills to the contemporary moving images in a shift from then to now and back again, and what we see are the changes, the uncertainties, the contradictions, and the disappointments. As Julie Charlip and Charly Bloomquist observe, the intertwining of past and present as image and narrative are spliced together “reveals, without adding to, the complexity of the situation”.14 For these historians, the extent to which Meiselas’s film reveals the instability of the documentary record

204  Maureen Moynagh on which they depend is a valuable, if somewhat unnerving, intervention. For my purposes, this facet of her film is important for the deconstruction it offers of the political tourist’s archive, and for what it reveals of the relationship between political commitment and an openness to (self-)critique. Photography as Technology of Memory The arbitrary relation between the reproducible, material form to which memory is consigned in the archive and the psychic value that material objects hold is illustrated early in Meiselas’s documentary. Meiselas recounts the circumstances surrounding a photograph she took of a National Guardsman in the early days of the fighting. As Meiselas hid with a family who had pulled her inside their house when the Guardia penetrated the barricades erected around the neighbourhood, a solitary guardsman approached down the sidewalk, his automatic weapon at the ready. Meiselas was unable to resist looking out of the window, unable to resist taking a photograph, although she feared that the ‘click’ of the shutter would give them away, would put the family who was protecting her in danger. The guardsman remained unaware of their presence and passed by, but in the end the photograph was not among those Meiselas chose for the book she published because she felt it “did not have the power [she] emotionally remembered in taking it”. Her fear, the fear of the people she was with, the menace the guardsman represented—none of these intangibles registered in the photograph. And so “the photograph for which [she] risked so much” failed to document the moment. What the film documents at this moment is effectively a failure to document. Meiselas’s memory, those private fears, is entered into the archive only belatedly in the documentary, and her memory is itself testimony to the instability of the archive. As a technology of memory, photography seems particularly apposite for the political tourist. It is after all, as John Urry puts it, “the activity which has . . . become emblematic of the [twentieth-century] tourist: the democratized taking of photographs—of being seen and recorded and seeing others and recording them”.15 Emblematic, in other words, of that mode of apprehension that Urry calls the tourist gaze, photography is a mechanical art form that functions at once as a metaphor and as a tool for Eurocentric epistemologies. John Berger and Allan Sekula, among others, have traced photography’s relationship with panoptic surveillance strategies; thus, if the camera is the quintessential marker of the twentieth-century tourist, it signals the tourist’s internalisation of hegemonic discourses of social control.16 The archival impulse at work in the “democratized taking of photographs” is, I think, evident. As Derrida reminds us, the word archive is derived from the Greek arkheion, the house of the superior magistrates, those “citizens” who “held and signified political power”, and in whose private home “official documents [were] filed”.17 From this etymology we can derive two key

The Political Tourist’s Archive  205 points: archives operate at the boundary between the private and the public, and archives inscribe power. Derrida neatly captures both of these facets with his pun that archives “take place” in a kind of “house arrest”.18 If this overstates the extent to which the tourist is wittingly or unwittingly conscripted into a kind of geopolitical police work, it is with a view to emphasizing the contradictory position of the political tourist, whose archival impulse registers both her positioning within privileged social structures (in and of itself anything but straightforward) and her reluctance to insert herself into established ways of seeing by virtue of her political identifications. The political tourist, in other words, desires a new way of seeing, an alternative archive, even as that very archival desire is circumscribed by the boundaries she crosses in her work. In Pictures From a Revolution, Meiselas describes the approach she took in the days leading to the insurrection: “I just photographed what I saw. History was being made in the streets and no-one knew where it would lead . . . I felt the necessity to witness and document what they did”. Meiselas represents her activity as instinctively archival: she is obeying an impulse to commemorate the scene through which she moves. The object of her archival desire is also clear: history that is “made in the streets”. As an archival practice, political tourism is bound to particular narratives about social transformation—these are its discursive regimes. The archival impulse also offers the political tourist a role to play in the struggle, that of witness, a role that Meiselas confirms confers on her a sense of participation in the struggle: “I felt in some way part of it”. The photographs that Meiselas produced, then, serve a number of purposes simultaneously. They are records of the actions taken by members of various resistance organizations, including the FSLN, and they document the impact of the struggle on the everyday lives of Nicaraguans. The photographs also (re)produce a narrative about revolution, about popular resistance, that may be incomplete without the context of Meiselas’s reminiscing, but that is nonetheless a key part of what the photographs mean to her. And finally, the photographs confer on the photographer a relationship to her subject matter, a part in the struggle that she documents. Significantly, playing a part in the struggle entails learning a new way of seeing, and thus the simplicity of her claim that she “just photographed what [she] saw” is undone as she describes her friendship with a man named Justo, who was engaged in clandestine activity in the town of Monimbó in the period leading up to the fighting. She tells us that Justo was the first member of the Frente Sandinista that she had met, and most significantly, she credits him with teaching her a different way of seeing. Meiselas attests, “It was through Justo that I understood how little I understood, that what I could see was not necessarily what was happening”. If Meiselas photographed what she could see, but what she could see was not necessarily what was happening, the archival value of her photographs would seem to be in jeopardy. This account of her relationship with Justo is simultaneously an

206  Maureen Moynagh acknowledgement of the limits of Meiselas’s ability to see and understand, and a claim to having learned to see, having acquired insider knowledge through her friendship with the man. Meiselas is careful not to claim either objectivity or transcendent knowledge; what she knows is at least partly dependent on the affective ties she develops over the course of her tour, and traces of these affiliations come to inscribe the archive. The archival impulse is also potentially contradictory insofar as the political tourist’s desire to know and to participate can put others at risk: when Justo is arrested by the National Guard, Meiselas worries that she played a role in exposing him by parking her car in front of his house so frequently. The political tourist’s affiliations thus also open her to ethical obligations. Crossing Boundaries Meiselas’s relationship to her subject matter comes in for another kind of scrutiny in the documentary. At a memorial and demonstration for student leaders who had been assassinated, Meiselas was confronted aggressively by someone who thrust out an arm and held a bullet a few inches from her face, saying “Made in the USA”. Meiselas remarks, “That was the first time I was . . . confronted with, ‘Who was I, in the midst of all this?’ and I couldn’t answer.” The political tourist’s inside-outsider status mimics, or perhaps redoubles, the liminality of the archive: Meiselas’s affective engagement with the Sandinista struggle leads to an identification across national boundaries, which conflicts with her public identity as a US citizen. The political tourist’s archive is a source for waging subjective struggles against what Allan Sekula has termed the “shadow archive”—“a generalized, inclusive archive . . . that encompasses an entire social terrain while positioning individuals within that terrain”.19 These private struggles waged in the public sphere challenge the neat slotting of individuals into national categories, even as political tourists are inevitably brought up short by those very categories in the course of their travels. In the context of a civil insurrection, national categories are already fractured, and transnational lines of affiliation mark both sides of the national divide. Meiselas is contradictorily marked by two national lines of affiliation by virtue of her pro-Sandinista sympathies: in claiming a kind of belonging to the Sandinista struggle, Meiselas engages in a transnational identification that not only crosses the boundary between the USA and Nicaragua, but also crosses the boundary of US transnational support of the Somoza regime and later of the Contras.20 Meiselas makes explicit the affective dimensions of her political tourism in attesting, “I needed to believe that it was possible to change something. That is why I was so powerfully moved in Nicaragua—because they were willing to risk their lives just believing in the possibility. I mean there was nothing assured, that they would win. There was no way they could have known. No-one believed it was possible.” This desire for social transformation, and

The Political Tourist’s Archive  207

Figure 13.1  Susan Meiselas, “Popular forces begin final offensive in Masaya, June 8, 1979”. In: Susan Meiselas, Nicaragua, June 1978–July 1979 (New York: Pantheon, 1981), p. 47. Reproduced with permission of Magnum Photos.

even more, for the conviction in its possibility, against all odds, draws Meiselas (and so many other political tourists) to the struggle, and it informs her archival work (Figure 13.1): “And so . . . seeing a man on the street with a gun, it was the most vulnerable act, and yet a tremendous affirmation. So if I made an image, I framed it and saw it as a heroic moment. And then the image took on a life of its own and became a greater symbol.” Here, Meiselas confesses her investment in this image, and by extension in the archive to which it belongs. Her representation of the struggle carries a certain power by virtue of her access to major North American publications; outside of Nicaragua, Meiselas’s images construct the Sandinista Revolution for US audiences and other English-speaking audiences, for those whose ability to read the images in context may be limited. Yet her desire to construct a heroic image, she acknowledges, is ultimately vulnerable to other readings; the image may be put to other uses, as in fact several of her photographs were. Rewriting the Archive In Masaya, in 1989, Meiselas found a mural that was based on one of her photographs (Figure 13.2). The image is of a young Sandinista throwing a Molotov cocktail at the National Guard garrison in Estelí. When Meiselas

208  Maureen Moynagh

Figure 13.2  Susan Meiselas, “Sandinistas at the walls of the Estelí National Guard headquarters”. In: Susan Meiselas, Nicaragua, June 1978–July 1979 (New York: Pantheon, 1981), p. 64. Reproduced with permission of Magnum Photos.

visited Masaya again after the 1990 elections, she found that the mural had been painted black. The war of images is a well-known facet of the struggle in Nicaragua. When Arnoldo Alemán, who later succeeded Violeta Chamorro as president of Nicaragua in 1996, became mayor of Managua in 1990 he set about painting over many of the pro-Sandinista murals throughout the city. The image of the young man with the Molotov in Meiselas’s photograph was, ironically enough, used both by the FSLN to organize against the Contras, and by the Contras to organize against the FSLN. It was stencilled on walls and reproduced in flyers, on matchbook covers and T-shirts. It was used by the Sandinistas as a commemorative image of the revolution both in 1999, for the twentieth anniversary, and in 2004, for the twenty-fifth. It was also used by the Contras to fund-raise in the United States.21 In becoming part of public culture, the materials in the political tourist’s archive enter into the struggle they strive to document in potentially contradictory ways. It is perhaps through an instance such as this one that we can understand Derrida’s grim observation that “[t]here is not one archive fever, one limit or one suffering of memory among others: enlisting the in-finite, archive fever verges on radical evil”.22 More recently, US painter Joy Garnett used Meiselas’s photograph in a project she describes as “having to do with the human figure in extremis”.23 In this instance, Meiselas objected to the decontextualized use of her image; her lawyer sent Garnett a letter asking that she credit Meiselas in any

The Political Tourist’s Archive  209 exhibition of the “Molotov” painting, and that she seek Meiselas’s permission for reproductions of the painting. When Garnett turned to a web-based discussion group, Rhizome.org, several of the artists responded with appropriations of their own. For Garnett, one of the issues the experience raised was whether “the author of a documentary photograph—a document whose mission is, in part, to provide the public with a record of events of social and historical value—[has] the right to control the content of the document for all time?” One of the bloggers who took up the debate asked, pointedly, “Who owns the rights to this man’s struggle?” In response to these particular incursions into her archive, Meiselas indicates that she has “welcomed” most of the appropriations of her photograph of Pablo Arauz, or “Bareta”, to use his code name during the war.24 Yet, she indicates that context is for her paramount, because it is a way of respecting her subjects: “It is important to me—in fact, it is central to my work—that I do what I can to respect the individuality of the people I photograph, all of whom exist in specific times and places”.25 Preserving the context in which the photograph was taken is the “debt of specificity” that Meiselas feels she owes her subjects “with whom [she has] an implicit contract”.26 Beyond these sorts of incursions into the archive, there is another order of contradiction equally troubling for the political tourist. The retrospective tenor of the film affords Meiselas an opportunity to reflect not only on the fate of her images but on the fate of her subjects (Figure 13.1). She succeeds in locating Augusto López-González, the man in the street with the gun who was the subject of her image of the heroic affirmation of the possibility of revolution, but she describes her meeting with him and his family as “very painful”. What is painful about the encounter is the state in which Augusto, once an actor in the struggle for a better life for ordinary people in Nicaragua, currently lives. His clothing is in tatters; he scarcely earns enough from the family toffee-making to feed himself, his wife, and their six children. Whereas this man’s actions in 1979 encapsulated the heroism of the struggle, in 1989 he has come to represent the daily struggle for survival of many Nicaraguans and their disappointment in the wake of the revolution that, for a number of reasons, could not fulfil its promise. As Meiselas comments later in the film, “It’s true that photographs stop time, but for people time doesn’t stop. Maybe photographs tell a kind of truth about the moments they fix, but is it enough of a truth? And for people, who must live in time, is that truth of any consequence?” Meiselas’s acknowledgement of the temporal fragility of the archive clearly has an ethical dimension; she is engaged not merely with her work, but with the people who were her subjects, and it is this latter engagement that precipitates the critical, evaluative approach to the earlier body of work. The ‘truth’ of the archive is subject to the flux of social relations and political conditions, both of which also have a bearing on the archivist and her relationship to the people she photographed. Meiselas’s willingness to question the truth of her archive, to subject it to the scrutiny of those she sought to represent, is arguably her most politically

210  Maureen Moynagh engaged gesture, the act most profoundly demonstrative of a trans-border praxis through which even her political desire is put at risk. This is mobile knowledge indeed. The ethical dimension of the political tourist’s archival practice is not only retrospective. Meiselas describes feeling, when fears of a US invasion were high during the Contra war, that the documentary work she engaged in was implicated in the possible death of her subjects, and was at the same time a struggle against death: I went into a period when I felt as if every time I was photographing something or someone, I was thinking about that moment when they would no longer be there. The present tense became impossible. I couldn’t shoot because I kept feeling as if holding out my camera became an acknowledgement of the possibility of their death. There were weeks or months when I just drove around Nicaragua wondering, what should I photograph? What will they do? What would they destroy? So what should I document to make sure there was a record. And who would they kill? . . . which of my friends, which of the people I last saw? The act of documenting, Meiselas suggests, is simultaneously an effort to preserve, to transmute from mutable life into immutable archival record, and a gesture that is implicated in the very mutability (of meaning, of value, of affect) against which the archivist struggles. The notion that the political tourist is inadvertently supplementing the deadly practices of the state in her efforts to witness the resistance struggle haunts the alternative archive she constructs. That archive centres on the struggle against the repressive forces of a corrupt state and its international allies. It is testimony to the possibility of something better, to the willing sacrifice of those engaged in the struggle to realize a utopian bid for social transformation. Inevitably, as Meiselas suggests, this archival material will be marked by the brutally repressive power of the dictatorship, but it must also, somehow, commemorate resistance. One risk of this archival practice is that it fails to speak across the spatio-temporal distance it aims to bridge. For Edmundo Desnoes, who admires Meiselas’s work, “the agony of Susan Meiselas”, as he puts it, is that her photographs are “trapped in two discourses”.27 The first is a discourse of “fragmentation and dispersion” that is characteristically North American; the second is a “centripetal” discourse that Desnoes attributes to the experience of living in a society in which “the state is an arbitrary entity . . . alien and oppressive”.28 Meiselas’s photographs of the bodies of those who wanted to change things, who struggled against the state, belong, according to Desnoes to “southern discourse”. The contradiction in Meiselas’s work is that these photographs are nonetheless “printed and distributed mostly for a northern audience with a different way of decoding

The Political Tourist’s Archive  211 messages. Her work is prey to a whole range of distortions and ideological readings”.29 Desnoes draws our attention to the challenges political tourists face in crossing borders with their work, in attempting to found an international archive. If these materials can contribute to something like a transnational literacy, can help to mobilize the tourist’s gaze in support of localized struggles against repressive global forces, it just might be worth risking the contradictions. In using Meiselas’s book of photographs and her documentary film as my “archive” in this chapter, I have clearly not been talking about archives in the conventional sense. I would argue, however, that political tourists’ texts are, broadly speaking, continuous with the collections of their papers and other materials housed in public archives to the extent that they exhibit an archival practice that strives to record not merely political events, but the tourists’ ongoing affective engagement with the struggles they have witnessed. Political tourists’ texts are archival to the extent that they extend the time and place of the tour, occupying public space in an effort to contest the dominant alliances of powerful states in the name of localized struggles for social justice. Allan Sekula observes that “[t]he photograph is imagined to have, depending on its context, a power that is primarily affective or a power that is primarily informative”.30 The photographs and, I would argue, texts of political tourists ambiguously combine the affective and the informative, striving for a power that is both, indeterminately. Ann Cvetkovitch speaks of the “profoundly affective power of a useful archive”;31 the uses of the political tourists’ archive have to do with eliciting a broader base of engagement in the political struggle the tourists have witnessed, but as Meiselas demonstrates, the most powerful archive may well be the one that keeps the borders open between the archivist and her subjects—an archival practice that deliberately puts the archive itself at risk. By extension, my desire to archive the journeys and texts of political tourists may be understood as itself an act of political solidarity, and one equally implicated in the contradictions of that archival practice.

Notes 1. Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1996), p. 11. 2. Michael O’Driscoll and Edward Bishop, “Archiving ‘Archiving’ ”, The Event of the Archive, Spec. Issue of English Studies in Canada 30, no. 1 (2004): 1–16 (at p. 2). 3. Michel Foucault, L’Archéologie du savoir (Paris: Gallimard, 1969), p. 170. 4. Foucault, L’Archéologie du savoir, p. 171. 5. Susan Meiselas, Nicaragua, June 1978–July 1979 (New York: Pantheon, 1981); Susan Meiselas, Richard P. Rogers, and Alfred Guzzeti, dirs., Pictures From a Revolution (GMR Films, 1991). Subsequent quotations to the volume of photographic plates and the film are clearly marked in the text, but unreferenced due to the lack of pagination/other means of demarcation.

212  Maureen Moynagh 6. The US first sent Marines into Nicaragua in 1912 to put down the first Liberal rebellion against the Conservative president Díaz; they remained until 1933. 7. Katherine Hoyt, The Many Faces of Sandinista Democracy (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1997), p. 8. 8. Hoyt, The Many Faces of Sandinista Democracy, p. 8. 9. Hoyt, The Many Faces of Sandinista Democracy, p. 10. 10. See Florence Babb, “Recycled Sandalistas: From Revolution to Resorts in the New Nicaragua”. American Anthropologist 106, no. 3 (2004): 541–55. Among well-known writers who visited Nicaragua in the 1980s and who wrote about their experiences are Salman Rushdie, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Adrienne Rich. Julio Cortázar had an ongoing relationship with the Sandinistas that began in the 1970s and continued to his death in 1984. Margaret Randall lived in Nicaragua from 1979–1984, published testimonios, interviews, poems, and worked on numerous projects, including oral history projects; she also worked as a publicist with the Ministry of Culture from 1981–1982. 11. Allan Sekula, Photography Against the Grain: Essays and Photo Works 1973–1983 (Halifax: Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1984), p. 5. 12. Sekula, Photography Against the Grain, p. 5. 13. Peter Monteath, Writing the Good Fight: Political Commitment in the International Literature of the Spanish Civil War (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1994), p. 132. 14. Julie A. Charlip and Charly Bloomquist, Review, Pictures From a Revolution, American Historical Review 97, no. 4 (October 1992): 1166–68 (at p. 1166). 15. John Urry, The Tourist Gaze: Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies (London: Sage, 1990), p. 138. 16. See John Berger, About Looking (New York: Pantheon, 1980), and Allan Sekula, “The Body and the Archive”, October 39 (Winter 1986): 3–64. 17. Derrida, Archive Fever, p. 2. 18. Derrida, Archive Fever, p. 2. 19. Sekula, “The Body and the Archive”, p. 10. 20. The Contras (contra-revolucionarios) were comprised of former National Guardsmen and other Nicaraguans opposed to the Sandinista government who were trained and financed by the US in its long history of efforts to remove governments in Nicaragua that were not deemed amenable to its economic and political interests. 21. Joy Garnett and Susan Meiselas, “On the Rights of Molotov Man: Appropriation and the Art of Context”, Harper’s Magazine (February 2007): 53–58 (at pp. 57–58). 22. Derrida, Archive Fever, p. 20. 23. Garnett, “On the Rights of Molotov Man”, p. 53. 24. Meiselas, “On the Rights of Molotov Man”, p. 57. 25. Meiselas, “On the Rights of Molotov Man”, p. 56. 26. Meiselas, “On the Rights of Molotov Man”, p. 58. 27. Edmundo Desnoes, “The Death System”, in Marshall Blonsky, ed., On Signs (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985), pp. 39–42 (at p. 41). 28. Desnoes, “The Death System”, p. 40. 29. Desnoes, “The Death System”, p. 40. 30. Sekula, “The Body and the Archive”, p. 10. 31. Ann Cvetkovitch, An Archive of Feelings (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003), p. 241.

14 Road to Nowhere? Los autonautas de la cosmopista by Julio Cortázar and Carol Dunlop Claire Lindsay

War and travel have opposite agendas.1 In May 1982, Julio Cortázar and Carol Dunlop embarked on an expedition down the autoroute between Paris and Marseille in a Volkswagen camper van, a trip which might ordinarily take some ten hours by car. The two self-styled adventurers set strict parameters for their journey, however: they were to stop at every designated parking area en route, at the rate of two per day, lunching at the first, and spending the night in the second. Since there were some sixty-five stopping places on that southbound road, their planned itinerary would take them just over one month. The journey was then set down in a travel book that was published simultaneously in Spanish and French editions as Los autonautas de la cosmopista/ Les autonautes de la cosmopiste, a title which translates into English as The Autonauts of the Cosmoroute.2 In their rigidly-controlled road trip, the couple traverse the uncharted interstices of the highway and landscape, a space which has also been conceptualised by anthropologist Marc Augé as a “non-place”.3 In doing so, the Argentine-Canadian pair might well be seen as waggish expedition leaders or, as Jaime Alazraki puts it, as “cosmonauts, only on a motorway and in a car”.4 The composition of the travelogue supports this reading of their endeavour: the book mimics the style of ‘early’ explorers’ chronicles (among others, those of Marco Polo and Jean Charcot), and is a mélange of travel narrative and daily journal entries, recording local ambient temperatures, geographical directions, and even menus du jour. Furthermore, the book is illustrated by photographs and maps drawn by Dunlop’s son, Stéphane Hebert, and is interpolated at intervals with pieces of short fiction. These include a one-way epistolary interlude called “Mother’s Letters”, from a mother travelling with her husband in France to her son on military service in Canada, and a short story about an impromptu motel stop by a pair of travellers who bear some resemblance to the couple on the road trip on which the rest of the book is predicated. It is the travellers’ apparently pioneering if somewhat peculiar spirit, on an enterprise in which accepted conventions of modern travel including speed, distance, and difference are tightly compressed, which has attracted

214  Claire Lindsay the attention of a number of critics. Focusing particularly on the travelogue’s generic properties and its perceived oppositional ideology, scholars in the area of Anglophone and Francophone postcolonial studies have embraced Cortázar and Dunlop’s book as evidence of a subversive tradition of travel writing, an anti-genre even, given the ludic character of the project. For example, Charles Forsdick argues that The Autonauts is one in a series of postcolonial journeys that “widen the field of travel and open it to radically different experiences and understandings of space”.5 Meanwhile, Latin Americanists have largely dismissed the text as being of only ephemeral interest, one of a range of Cortázar’s miscellaneous works, peripheral to his magnum opus, Rayuela (Hopscotch, 1964), or his collected short fiction.6 Peter Standish’s assessment of The Autonauts, while perhaps more flippant in tone than most, is emblematic of much of this kind of criticism. Standish claims that while “[it] has some nostalgic value for former owners of Volkswagen campers . . . it is most significant as testimony to the continuing eccentric playfulness of Cortázar and his new wife, to whom he is so devoted”.7 In this chapter, I want to steer a middle ground between these two critical positions on The Autonauts, neither of which I can fully endorse. Bringing to bear both Cortázar’s previous fictional and contemporary travel output (in which light The Autonauts proves not only to be as well-crafted but also to share similar thematic and ideological concerns), I shall explore what is at stake in the much-celebrated ludic politics of the motorway journey and its subsequent account. Furthermore, I want to contextualise this travel book in its proper material setting. As I shall illustrate in the course of this chapter, the authors’ ‘anti-journey’ through the so-called non-place in fact throws into relief other kinds of excursion into a very specific place—that is, Anglo-Argentine military deployments in the Malvinas/ Falklands. As such, The Autonauts (not unproblematically) raises enduring questions of imperialism and political engagement at a critical juncture in Latin American and European history. Like many other contemporary travel books, therefore, this narrative of the French motorway potentially reveals as much about the traveller’s ‘home’ territory—in this case, for Cortázar, Argentina—as it does about the road being traversed. In the first part of this chapter, however, I want to locate The Autonauts within the wider context of Cortázar’s previous literary output and his travel production of the same year, a context which provides a useful framework for reflection on the ‘French’ text’s central ambiguities, among them that fundamental incompatibility between travel and war itself. Cortázar’s Political Tourism The Paris–Marseille motorway was not an entirely arbitrary choice of route for Cortázar and Dunlop, as they acknowledge in the opening sections of The Autonauts, having featured as a location for one of Cortázar’s most

Road to Nowhere?  215 famous pieces of short fiction. Written almost two decades before and published in his 1966 short story collection, Todos los fuegos el fuego/All the Fires the Fire, “Southbound Motorway” is about a traffic jam on the Parisbound section of that same stretch of road one hot August Sunday.8 The traffic is so congested that gridlock literally becomes a whole new way of life for the stationary vehicle owners. We learn that one of them “had been in line with her car for such a long time that she would no longer bother looking at her watch since all calculations were useless”.9 While the drivers wait for the bottleneck to ease, they lose all sense of time as the queue begins to take on a rhythm, and life, all of its own: seasons pass, a routine is established, and members of their number mate, form friendships and enemies, and die. The logjam eventually comes unstuck at the very end of the story, however, and, as the cars pick up speed on entry into Paris, we are told that “there was nothing to do but give into the pace, adapt mechanically to the speed of the cars around and not think”.10 From the point of view of one of the story’s main characters, an engineer, this denouement implies a sense of loss or, at least, a profound ambivalence at the prospect of an accelerated return to the metropolis. After all, the hold-up had engendered an alternative form of existence for, and sense of solidarity among, the car owners which, while not without its disadvantages (food and water shortages, conflicts with hostile locals dwelling at the side of the motorway), had also led to the creation of seemingly promising human relationships (in the engineer’s case, a love affair with the woman driver of the Dauphine). Such ties are irrevocably severed, however, once the cars speed up on their approach to the capital: All that couldn’t have ended forever . . . on the car’s antenna the redcross waved madly, and you moved at fifty-five miles an hour toward the lights that kept growing, not knowing why all this hurry, why this mad race in the night among unknown cars, where no one knew anything about the others, where everyone looked straight ahead, only ahead.11 The implicit desire to decelerate in this story goes on to underpin Cortázar and Dunlop’s later motorway adventure and is a concept to which I return later in this chapter. That the same intercity road should feature as a location in Cortázar’s fictional and non-fictional output is also unsurprising on a biographical level, given the author’s own long residence in France. The Argentine writer spent over half his life in Europe, first as the child of diplomatic parents, and later in exile, as a result of his disillusionment with Peronism. Indeed, Cortázar’s relocation to Paris in the mid-1950s would generate continued questions about his political engagement in respect of Latin America throughout the rest of his career. Nevertheless, during the 1970s, the author’s exile ceased to be entirely ‘voluntary’, when he publicly denounced Argentina’s military dictatorship. It is widely agreed that it was during that same decade that Cortázar became more obviously politicised: he spoke out further on other

216  Claire Lindsay issues pertaining to Latin America and undertook frequent visits to Cuba and to Nicaragua in the early 1980s, before his death in 1984. As Román de la Campa observes, the Nicaraguan revolution in particular became “a genuine passion” for the writer: “Neither surrealism, which significantly influenced his earlier work, nor the Cuban revolution, to which he felt some attraction at first, intrigued him the way Nicaragua would do in his later years”.12 Indeed, The Autonauts was published in the same year (1983) as another volume compiled from those visits to Central America in which the author indulges that very passion, a collection of writing entitled Nicaragua, tan violentamente dulce (Nicaraguan Sketches). Moreover, of the writer’s two travel books of the 1980s, it is the Nicaraguan work that has attracted more serious critical attention to date, despite the fact that both texts invite similar questions regarding the encounter of the literary and the political. Although quite a different travel book to The Autonauts in terms of the context of its production as well as in its basic construction and character, Nicaraguan Sketches similarly fuses the fictional and non-fictional in a selfconscious invocation of travel discourse at a time of conflict. Comprising a diverse collection of texts written over several trips to the country between 1976 and 1983, the volume includes a piece of short fiction, several brief journalistic pieces, and an acceptance speech for the Ruben Darío prize. De la Campa’s assessment of the opening text of the Nicaraguan travel book, “Apocalypse in Solentiname”, illuminates a number of issues that are equally pertinent, but have been little-studied, in respect of Cortázar’s coauthored motorway travel narrative. “Apocalypse in Solentiname” concerns the author’s 1976 journey to the artistic commune established by Ernesto Cardenal, and pivots on the development and interpretation of photographs taken during the visit once the traveller-protagonist is back home. In Nicaragua, “Cortázar” captures what he believes to be images of indigenous folk art, but which on return to his Paris abode transpire to be images of violence and torture in that community, as well as in other locations in Latin America, including his native Argentina.13 These terrifying images are not recognised by his French girlfriend, Claudine, however, who sees nothing but the “original” indigenous paintings, commenting on “ ‘How nicely they came out’ ”.14 De la Campa acknowledges the brilliance with which Cortázar’s narrative engages the complex relationships between politics, literature, and the representation of otherness in art. Nevertheless, reading against the grain of critical appraisals of the story’s “prophetic” qualities, this critic also illustrates how, fundamentally, Cortázar’s “sense of politics is only defined by his zeal to bring his artistic means to the revolution”.15 As such, de la Campa concludes: Cortázar’s artistic design overwhelms any attempt to throw himself into the story with some degree of spontaneity, as one might otherwise expect of a travel narrative. [Its] impact thus depends radically upon its literary form, in its immanent approach to the notion of revolution as

Road to Nowhere?  217 a text that can beget other texts, criss-crossing from the literary to the non-literary and back.16 In effect, de la Campa not only problematises Cortázar’s opening narrative strategy in Nicaraguan Sketches, but he also pursues its implications in respect of the writer’s broader ideological endeavour. In essence, the inference of his critique is that the Argentine writer is little more than a literarypolitical tourist in that conflict zone. A similar level of textual control and organization, as identified by de la Campa in “Apocalypse”, is evident in Cortázar and Dunlop’s motorway travel narrative, which is not only predicated on a deliberately measured experiment of sorts—in which respect it radically departs from the Nicaraguan travel book—but is also written according to a strict generic design. Throughout The Autonauts, Cortázar and Dunlop repeatedly invoke a number of discursive conventions associated with the tradition of travel literature. For example, each new stage of the travellers’ motorway journey is measured in a narrative which, among other things, is regularly concerned with the properties and associated rituals of the particular parking area at which they stop. In terms of content as well as tone, these passages clearly allude to the discourse of ethnography, as in the following quotation: “Tourists who travel to escape their urban hell, pollution, and the din of the streets, tend in their shocking majority to park their vehicles as close as they can to the motorway, practically at the entrance or exit of the parking area”.17 Such narratives are prefaced with often hyperbolic chapter headings which summarize each stopover and parody that same literary device found, for example, in Don Quijote, a novel (and parody) about a travelling knight-at-arms, as well as in the eighteenth-century novel: “about the titanic struggle which the explorers fight against an enemy whose arms are silence and pincers”.18 These passages are then followed by regular diary entries (presented in a font reminiscent of a manual typewriter) which record the banal details of travellers’ daily displacements, times of departure and arrival, the substance of their meals, as well as local meteorological conditions. Moreover, as mentioned previously, photographs and sketches are used in abundance throughout the travelogue, providing visual evidence of the journey (although, in their inherent similarity and featurelessness, both forms of visual representation, in fact, do little to relay any sense of progress or to distinguish different locations). On one level, this proliferation of intertexts is clearly marshalled as part of the authors’ parodic armoury, to draw attention to the lack of spontaneity of Cortázar and Dunlop’s entire enterprise.19 On another level, however, the effect of this insistence on textuality is excessive, overdetermined. As such, there is an implicit exhaustion and insubstantiality to the discursive profusion of The Autonauts, features which are symptomatic of both the experience and the aesthetics of postmodernity. The book’s exhaustion is initially evinced, of course, in terms of the travellers’ planned route: in a

218  Claire Lindsay post-touristic world where there are no exotic destinations left, Cortázar and Dunlop have recourse only to the mundane location of the motorway, or the non-place which, in Augé’s configuration, is in any case largely defined by words and texts.20 Yet there is a further vacuity to The Autonauts, whereby, to take my cue from de la Campa’s notion of “criss-crossing”, the authors offer us little more than a proliferation of borrowed words and texts, with one text literally begetting another. The postmodernist construction of Cortázar and Dunlop’s book, in which they embark on a kind of travel literature tourism, is thoroughly equivocal. In one sense it establishes the text as a metanarrative, encouraging reflection on the book’s own status as a travel text as well as on the route travelled, yet in another sense it detracts from the travelogue’s self-declared empiricism. As Patrick Holland and Graham Huggan point out, this is precisely one of the contradictions of postmodernist travelogues: “In insisting on the fake and the primacy of the perfect surface, they also subvert the travel book’s project to provide a sense of experiential depth”.21 Just as the textual artistry of “Apocalypse at Solentiname” might be seen to eclipse and effectively undermine Cortázar’s Nicaraguan project, so the sustained textual (inter)play in The Autonauts also abrogates what Jan Borm calls the distinctive “non-fiction dominant” of travel literature.22 Furthermore, such a strategy potentially problematises the much-celebrated, counter-discursive ideology of Cortázar and Dunlop’s travel book, to which I now turn. Travel Parody (and Its Pitfalls) In his book At Home in the World, Timothy Brennan categorizes both of Cortázar’s 1983 travel narratives as examples of a genre of anti-travel writing. Taking to task what he calls the “new cosmopolitanism”, Brennan is especially exercised by a recent trend in travel writing and fiction in the “politico-erotic” mode. Using Pico Iyer’s Falling off the Map: Some Lonely Places in the World as an example, he undertakes a comparison between contemporary journalistic and late nineteenth-century travel narratives. Whereas in the latter, “the sublimation of poverty took the form of a colonial erotics”, Brennan claims, in more recent work of Iyer’s ilk, “politics . . . assumes the role of erotics in the aestheticization of underdevelopment”.23 Efforts to dismantle this trend in literary globality, however, have led to the emergence of what he sees as a “genre designed to cancel its meanings: the travel parody”.24 Significantly, the examples of travel parody provided by Brennan in his book are by Latin American authors (in addition to Cortázar, he examines the communications of the rebel Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos).25 Particularly worthy of this critic’s praise is the ludic character of Cortázar and Dunlop’s motorway travel book. Written in what he calls the “toadying, florid manner” of the narrator of an eighteenth-century novel, the humour, Brennan asserts, depends partly on the persistence and

Road to Nowhere?  219 elaboration of a central joke—that Cortázar and Dunlop put themselves through the rather tedious journey described at the beginning of this article, rather than merely invent it. The recorded details of the journey’s monotony are, he claims, “everywhere enlivened by voguing on the explorer’s gaze”.26 Brennan’s evaluation of The Autonauts as a kind of anti-travel parody is suggestive, if effectively somewhat specious. Indeed, it is one shared by Forsdick in his article on the same book in which he reads its decompression of time and space as a kind of “peripatetic mode” of travel with “critically constructive potential”.27 On one level, as I have mentioned, Cortázar and Dunlop do indeed challenge dominant constructions of space and travel in their endeavour. Rather than speed down the motorway in a Renault or Peugeot, their chosen mode of transport is after all the camper van, a signifier of autonomy, oppositionality, and, to follow Forsdick’s argument, deceleration.28 The couple dawdle at length, and indeed take up temporary residence in the autoroute’s parking areas, for, as they tell us: “the stopping places are becoming infinitely more important than the white strip laid over a space which devours the motorist as in turn s/he devours it”.29 Moreover, the daily trajectories between the spaces of Parkinglandia (the name the travellers bestow on the territories they visit) might amount to as little as five or ten minutes in length. On such a road trip, which appears to involve more stasis than movement, we might well see the pair as a couple of motorway flâneurs, if such a category were to exist, “able to travel [at a strolling pace], gaze and move on, be anonymous in a kind of liminal zone”.30 For in addition to the chosen transportation and location for their journey, the couple strive to keep their distance from other parked vehicles and even adopt pseudonyms (the Wolf and the Little Bear—the van, in turn, is known as Fafner) which provide them with some element of anonymity or disguise on their expedition. The irony and part of the joke is, of course, that with such a pedestrian pace and lack of conventional progress the travellers draw considerable attention to themselves. This paradox is underlined in the fictional section entitled “Mother’s Letters”, in which the writer of that correspondence observes the bizarre coincidence of repeatedly seeing the same couple in different parking areas on her own road trip, a couple who are in appearance much like the ‘real’ Cortázar and Dunlop. She tells her son, “I had to pinch myself, because that same pair that I had seen twice before were installed at the back of the parking lot”.31 Nevertheless, it is precisely the travellers’ conception of time and the associated notion of deceleration as a counter-strategy that is potentially problematic here. The book’s subtitle, for example, declares that the journey is “atemporal”, an adjective interpreted by Brennan to refer to the anachronistic style in which the book is written. Nevertheless, that denomination of the trip may also allude to the travellers’ attempts to “decelerate” throughout their journey and more generally to mitigate against a modern obsession with motion. At one point, for example, Cortázar and Dunlop represent the motorway as a “necessary evil from which we, like others, cannot escape

220  Claire Lindsay in this century of compulsory speed”.32 Further time references throughout the travelogue suggest something more at stake than this, however. Despite their repeated disavowal of escapism, for example, a declaration at the journey’s outset reveals some clue to this: “we could live each day in a parking area, away from the world, you know”.33 Later, they write that “the stages [of the journey] and not clocks make time . . . because ultimately we are beyond time in the same way that we are outside the motorway”.34 And at the anticlimactic end of the trip, “nothing could beat that month outside of time, that month when for the first and last time we found out what absolute happiness was”.35 The pleasure of this “timeless” journey leads to a conception of their selfhood as “interplanetary travellers who observe from afar the rapid aging of those who remain subjected to the laws of earthly time”.36 For all its potentially autobiographical significance, that reiterated desire to travel beyond time is comparable to that of the protagonist of the story, “Southbound Motorway”, mentioned earlier.37 The engineer’s disappointment at the breakup of the traffic jam, and the return to the velocity of modernity are palpable (“there was nothing to do but give into the pace, adapt mechanically to the speed of the cars around and not think”), as poignant as the ambivalent arrival of Cortázar and Dunlop in Marseille. Both of the motorway texts therefore infer a purposeful anachronism; in effect, a rather dubious ahistorical gesture, which echoes—albeit in reverse—those Orientalist impulses famously identified by Edward Said. While it sets out to parody many of the discursive conventions of travel, therefore, The Autonauts simultaneously depends on and sustains some of its rather questionable structures and premises. That is, while attempting to provide an apparent subversion or renewal of the tradition of travel, as Forsdick suggests, in their endeavour to decelerate, Cortázar and Dunlop are effectively implicated in one of its most fundamentally problematic ideologies. As such, in respect of both its conception of temporality and in terms of its discursive “dependency” explored in the previous section, The Autonauts illustrates an in-built contradiction of its chief underlying strategy, that is, that “[parody] has the paradoxical effect of preserving that very text it seeks to destroy, even if the hypotext is under erasure”. As Simon Dentith points out, this may have some peculiar effects “even running counter to the apparent intentions of the parodist”.38 Final Destination In addition to the essentially ambiguous cultural politics of the book’s main strategy, what has been further overlooked in connection with The Autonauts is precisely the full direction (or ‘destination’) of its critique as a parody. As such, in his attempt to undermine the so-called new cosmopolitanism, Brennan might well be accused, in turn, of exoticizing those “Latin American” works he pits against it. Indeed, especially in respect of what he

Road to Nowhere?  221 calls Cortázar and Dunlop’s “politics of prank”, there is a troubling appropriative manoeuvre to his argument, which means that he effectively disregards the materiality in their case of which he seems so fond elsewhere in his book. For example, in taking Iyer to task, Brennan is critical of that author’s gloss on “the lonely places in the world”, which, as he points out, are not merely random places but countries which, by dint of their geographical extremity or refusenik posture in the capitalist economy, are “East of everything”. Brennan writes: “[F]ar from taking ethnic conflicts as a sign of resistance to the very enforced globalism he is busy constructing, Iyer sees them rather as a symptom of the fact that there are no decisive differences”.39 It is the question of difference and material context, however, which is absent from Brennan’s own engagement with The Autonauts. For both him and Forsdick, the target of Cortázar and Dunlop’s parody is either the travel narrative as a genre, or orthodox notions of travel itself, although Forsdick does acknowledge that “travel parody . . . must also be seen as . . . one of a series of strategies for exposing devices used to dominate or erase space”.40 In this respect, there is a crucial historical context which bears upon the production of Cortázar and Dunlop’s travel book and thus also on their parodic strategy. It is precisely that context that allows for, if not a radical, at least an important political reading of The Autonauts. For as Dentith reminds us, “parody’s direction of attack cannot be decided upon in abstraction from the particular social and historical circumstances in which the parodic act is performed”. Thus, while a parody—travel or otherwise—may draw on the authority of a precursor or set of conventions, it may do so in order to attack or satirize elements of the contemporary world, or, as Dentith puts it, “some new situation to which it can be made to allude”.41 As mentioned earlier, Cortázar and Dunlop embark on their journey in May 1982, four years after they had originally conceived of the idea. The couple’s final departure date is especially significant in terms of events back ‘home’ for Cortázar, for little over a month before their embarkation on the autoroute journey Argentine forces had invaded the Malvinas or Falkland Islands. This military incursion constituted not only an endeavour by reigning president General Leopoldo Galtieri to stake Argentina’s claim to those islands, whose sovereignty had been the subject of a protracted dispute with Britain, but also a last-ditch attempt to shore up national support for the crumbling and increasingly unpopular military government.42 The shadow of that Anglo–Argentine conflict haunts Cortázar and Dunlop’s road trip from start to finish, a period of time running concurrently with that war, which came to an end in mid-June 1982. There are continued references throughout the travelogue to those contemporary events and, I would suggest, also to Argentina’s internecine conflict of recent years, the so-called ‘dirty war’, which had been declared and sustained by the military government on its “subversive” opposition following the 1976 coup. As the couple first embark on their road trip, they pointedly note the quantity of British tourists on the motorway, surmising that seventy percent

222  Claire Lindsay of the cars on the autoroute are British. “It’s becoming almost boring looking at the number plates”, they write, “GB dominates from afar”, and a page later they interpret the volume of vehicles in terms of “a British invasion”.43 Unsurprisingly, however, Cortázar expresses no support for his native Argentina in the dispute as he goes on to suggest mischievously that the influx of British cars on the road might constitute “a perfectly British way of sticking two fingers up to Maggie Thatcher and exchanging the penguins in Port Stanley for roulette in Monte Carlo”.44 Frequent radio and television broadcasts en route keep the travellers up to date with developments in the conflict, the first of which comes in an early entry: “In the Malvinas, the English and Argentines are killing each other more savagely, according to the radio”.45 A little later, on one unusual motel stop, the television “brings us scenes of the Malvinas war”, of which, later still, Cortázar claims, “we don’t want nor are [we] able to avoid”.46 In the course of providing an essential mechanism for Cortázar and Dunlop to keep in touch with developments at ‘home’, the media here enables a different kind of journey, in which, as David Morley describes it, “the far away is irredeemably mixed in with the space of the near as the processes of media representation . . . bring actual and virtual forms of ‘foreignness’ to . . . home territories of various sorts”.47 Indeed, it is at this point (a third of a way through the book), in an anomalous outburst, that Cortázar unleashes his full contempt for the Argentine government: “that sinister pantomime of a military junta”. The only effect of their incursions into the Malvinas, he claims, will be to send badly-trained and poorly-equipped conscripts to their death. The author is equally critical of the large percentage of Argentines who are supportive of the regime’s last-ditch attempt to rouse national unity, those “who have in recent years lived day in day out the oppression, assassinations, torture and disappearances of thousands of compatriots”.48 And a final reminder of the conflict comes towards the end of their road trip and the end of hostilities, when Cortázar recounts listening to tangos by Eladia Blázquez, which, he says, “at the end of this stupid and sinister war of the Malvinas, seem truer than ever”.49 In this way, that conflict becomes a ‘text’ to be read by the travellers through its emergence in radio broadcasts, television transmissions and tango lyrics and, in consequence, one more of the profusion of texts that make up The Autonauts, referred to earlier. Furthermore, in addition to those more explicit references to the Anglo–Argentine war, there are various lugubrious images that appear in the latter part of the travelogue which might also be read as allusions to events back home. (It is worth pointing out here that Muchnik published simultaneous Spanish editions in Barcelona and Buenos Aires.) For example, after the first radio broadcast about the war cited earlier, Cortázar notes ominously that his siesta was “disturbed by monsters brushing past us and roaring”.50 And as the motorway journey progresses, the travellers record a growing sense of paranoia as they continue, symptoms of which are present in their suspicion that fellow “parkinglandeses” (inhabitants of the parking places) are spies: “When two

Road to Nowhere?  223 Argentines arrive and sit down by us to drink their coffee, it’s clear that the enemy has decided to adopt more audacious disguises”.51 Furthermore, familiar objects, many of them recorded in the accompanying photographs, begin to transmogrify so that litter bins take on the appearances of guards and climbing frames become objects of torture. For an Argentine readership emerging from a decade in which its military government, in an “all-out war against the opposition”,52 spied on, tortured, and “disappeared” thousands of its citizens, those metaphors might have a particular, rather insidious resonance. In tone and content, these egressions seem particularly incongruous—but clearly insuperable—in the context of the authors’ protracted “prank” of a journey. Nevertheless, given the urgency of developments in that (by contrast) contracted conflict, such intermittent references and, later still, more elaborate allusions to that home context might be seen as kinds of parapraxis, by which the traveller’s unconscious interrupts the journey down the motorway. The Freudian analogy, however, functions inversely in this case. Conventionally, jokes have a licence to violate logic, as indeed Cortázar and Dunlop’s ludic journey has been perceived to disrupt the time-honoured logic of travel. Nevertheless, if in turn this drawn-out joke becomes the travellers’ logic, their conscious world, as it does in The Autonauts, what then? How does the traveller’s unconscious make itself heard in this kind of journey? For, as Josh Cohen reminds us, “like an excitable child (or a lowgrade celebrity), the unconscious will do anything to get our attention”.53 It is precisely through the punctuation of the prosaic into the extended joke here, through those repeated incursions of the “reality principle”, as it were, that this happens in The Autonauts. And, as such, those interruptions, mediated images, and sounds of that war generate a sharp reminder in this extended joke journey of the “inhibiting seriousness of the external world’s demands”.54 Cortázar and Dunlop’s motorway travelogue, the royalties of which they donated to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, can thus be seen to have a specific contemporary target for its parodic attack. Less than offering the possibility of a renewal of travel, then, as Forsdick suggests, this book effectively pulls into focus those configurations of transit already at play. Its ultimate send-up is, arguably, the persistence of those journeys of military might in the South Atlantic, which The Autonauts not only self-consciously invokes but within which it is thoroughly imbricated. In an historical context in which military journeys of re-conquest and recovery—endeavours launched both from the centre and from within the periphery—are once again brought to the fore, Cortázar and Dunlop adopt an admittedly risky strategy in order to point up their absurdity. The apparent political engagement with that Latin American context, therefore, while not as sustained as in Nicaraguan Sketches, is nonetheless as severely problematised and compromised, in this case by the slipperiness of the authors’ parody. Their professed political commitment (not least through the dedication of the book’s royalties) is held in tension

224  Claire Lindsay not only by the narrative’s playful ideology but also by their own journey’s materiality—that indulgence of taking a month to travel the southbound route from Paris to Marseille in a camper van, while a war rages in a remote corner of the Atlantic. In this case, David Espey’s claim that “travel writing is problematic in a climate of war” is trenchant: while his focus is on travellers “embedded” in the war zone, the work of “long-distance” travel writers, such as Cortázar and Dunlop here, is no less irksome in the kind of tourism it proposes and on which it is predicated.55 The multiple paradoxes posed by The Autonauts are effectively irreconcilable, therefore, as incompatible perhaps as actually travelling to a zone of conflict to write about it, as Cortázar effectively did with Nicaraguan Sketches. Indeed, the ultimate paradox posed by the account of Cortázar and Dunlop’s French road trip is emblematised in the nonsensical portmanteau words of its title (autonauts and cosmoroute): it is that fundamental impossibility of travelling both beyond and in history. Notes 1. David Espey, “Americans in Vietnam: Travel Writing and the War”, Studies in Travel Writing 8 (2004): 149–78 (at p. 153). For a slightly different approach to the question of political tourism, see also Maureen Moynagh’s article in the same issue, “Revolutionary Drag in Auden and Isherwood’s Journey to a War”, 125–48. 2. Julio Cortázar and Carol Dunlop, Los autonautas de la cosmopista: un viaje atemporal Paris-Marsella/Les autonautes de la cosmopiste ou un voyage intemporel Paris-Marseille (Barcelona, Buenos Aires, and Paris: Muchnik/Galliard, 1983). The co-authorship arrangement allowed Cortázar to write the Spanish version and Dunlop the French. All translations of quotations from this text in this chapter are my own. Autonauts of the Cosmoroute: A Timeless Journey from Paris to Marseille, translated by Anne McLean (Brooklyn: Archipelago Press) was published in December 2007. 3. Marc Augé, Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, trans. John Howe (London: Verso, 1995). 4. “El viaje es exploratorio y expedicionario, como el de los cosmonautas, pero sobre una autopista y en un vehículo automovilístico”, Jaime Alazraki, Hacia Cortázar: Aproximaciones a su obra (Barcelona: Anthropos, 1994), p. 285. 5. Charles Forsdick, “Projected Journeys: Exploring the Limits of Travel”, in The Art of the Project: Projects and Experiments in Modern French Culture, eds. Johnnie Gratton and Michael Sheringham (Oxford: Berghahn, 2005), pp. 51–65 (at p. 53). I am grateful to Charles Forsdick for discussions with him about this travelogue. 6. For the most part, Dunlop’s participation and involvement in the travelogue is entirely ignored by most critics. To some extent, I am guilty of a similar omission, as I shall not be concerned here with the details or implications of her co-authorship. 7. Peter Standish, Understanding Julio Cortázar (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2001), p. 169. For a more sustained engagement with this travel text, see Jaime Alazraki, Hacia Cortázar: Aproximaciones a su obra and Maria D. Blanco Arnejo, La novela lúdica experimental de Julio Cortázar (Madrid: Pliegos, 1996).

Road to Nowhere?  225 8. The story has been translated as “Southern Thruway” in Julio Cortázar, All the Fires the Fire, trans. Suzanne Jill Levine (London: Marion Boyars, 1979). As we learn in the opening section of The Autonauts, the short story was apparently re-published in the trade magazine of the French equivalent of the Highways Agency, to whom Cortázar writes for “permission” for their protracted expedition on that road. 9. Julio Cortázar, All the Fires the Fire, p. 5. See Julio Cortázar, Todos los fuegos el fuego (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1966). 10. Cortázar, All the Fires the Fire, p. 28. 11. Cortázar, All the Fires the Fire, pp. 28–29. 12. Román de la Campa, “Postmodernism and Revolution: A Central American Case Study”, in Late Imperial Culture, eds. Román de la Campa, Ann Kaplan, and Michael Sprinkler (London: Verso, 1995), pp. 122–48 (at p. 135). 13. The story is thus said to foreshadow the apocalyptic end of the commune at the hands of the Somoza National Guard, a year after the story’s first publication in 1976. 14. Julio Cortázar, Nicaraguan Sketches, trans. Kathleen Weaver (New York: W.W. Norton, 1989), p. 33. See also Julio Cortázar, Nicaragua, tan violentamente dulce (Managua: Editorial Nueva Nicaragua, 1983). 15. De la Campa, “Postmodernism and Revolution”, p. 138. 16. De la Campa, “Postmodernism and Revolution”, p. 139. 17. “los turistas que viajan para escapar del infierno urbano, de la contaminación atmosférica y del estrépito de las calles, tienden en abrumadora mayoría a detener sus vehículos lo más cerca posible de la autopista, prácticamente a la entrada o a la salida del parking”, Cortázar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, p. 113. 18. “De la lucha titánica que libraron los exploradores contra un enemigo cuyas armas son el silencio y las tenazas”, Cortazar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, p. 135. 19. Of course, it is in this respect that the travelogue requires the participation of what Cortázar famously called the “lector cómplice”, or “active” reader. 20. As Augé observes, the traffic conditions of the non-place are such that “individuals are supposed to interact only with texts”, Non-Places, p. 96. 21. Patrick Holland and Graham Huggan, Tourists With Typewriters: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Travel Writing (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000), pp. 177–78. 22. Jan Borm, “Defining Travel: On the Travel Book, Travel Writing and Terminology”, in Perspectives on Travel Writing, eds. Glenn Hooper and Tim Youngs (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), pp. 13–26 (at p. 17). The authors of The Autonauts, however, seem prepared for this, in playfully addressing or alluding to this very pitfall in a reference two thirds of the way through their book: “Leyendo estas páginas ¿no te ha ocurrido por lo menos una vez, oh pálido lector cómplice y paciente, preguntarte si no estamos escondidos en una habitación de algún hotel de la Villette desde el 23 de mayo?” (p. 216). 23. Timothy Brennan, At Home in the World: Cosmopolitanism Now (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997), p. 185. Brennan also writes, “Literary cosmopolitanism . . . [is] very much about not partaking in the clichés of exoticism; rather, above all, it portrays itself as standing for a literature of the public sphere in which politics, with a large, thematic ‘P’ forms the core of its creative play” (pp. 183–84). 24. Brennan, At Home in the World, p. 183. 25. According to Brennan, both Cortázar and Marcos are part of a wider “antigenre” in which the “travel narrative is seen . . . as the dominant mode of

226  Claire Lindsay address in a setting of suspicious globalisation”, At Home in the World, p. 193. 26. Brennan, At Home in the World, p. 193. 27. Forsdick, “Projected Journeys”. He locates The Autonauts within a wider contemporary concern with the renewal of travel. For more on this, see his book Travel in Twentieth Century French and Francophone Cultures: The Persistence of Diversity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). 28. For more on the playfulness of this parody, see also Olivier Hambursin’s article “Quand le détour mène au centre: littérature de voyage et excentricité. Le cas de Autonautes de la cosmoroute de Julio Cortázar et Carol Dunlop”, Nottingham French Studies 43, no. 2 (2004): 68–82. My thanks to Jean-Xavier Ridon for bringing this article to my attention and for generously sending me a copy. 29. “Las zonas de reposo se vuelven infinitamente más importantes que la cinta blanca tendida en un espacio que devora el automovilista que lo está devorando”, Cortázar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, p. 76. 30. Carol Crawshaw and John Urry, “Tourism and the Photographic Eye”, in Touring Cultures: Transformations of Travel and Theory, eds. Chris Rojek and John Urry (London: Routledge, 1997), pp. 176–95 (at p. 178). In the Anglophone tradition, Iain Sinclair takes up precisely this position in his psychogeography of the M25 in London Orbital (London: Penguin, 2003). 31. “Y allí tuve que frotarme los ojos, porque esa misma pareja que ya había visto dos veces estaba instalada en el fondo del paradero”, Cortázar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, p. 84. 32. “Ese mal necesario del que tanto nosotros como los demás no podemos escapar en este siglo de velocidad obligatoria”, Cortázar and Dunlop, Los auto­nau­tas, p. 22. 33. “podríamos vivir cada día en un parking, fuera del mundo, te das cuenta”, Cortázar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, p. 28. 34. “las etapas y no los relojes [fabrican] el tiempo . . . porque en el fondo estamos fuera del tiempo de la misma manera que estamos fuera de la autopista”, Cortázar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, p. 115. 35. “[nada] pudo superar ese mes fuera del tiempo, ese mes interior donde supimos por primera y última vez lo que era la felicidad absoluta”, Cortázar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, p. 305. 36. “a la manera de los viajeros interplanetarios que observan desde lejos el rápido envejecimiento de aquellos que siguen sometidos a las leyes del tiempo terrestre”, Cortázar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, p. 43. 37. Both Cortázar and Dunlop suffered from serious illnesses which delayed their embarkation on this journey, as they describe as the beginning of their travelogue. Indeed, Dunlop would eventually die from leukaemia before the completion of the book. 38. Simon Dentith, Parody (London: Routledge, 2000), p. 36. For a comprehensive discussion of often conflicting approaches to postmodernism and parody, see Margaret A. Rose, Parody: Ancient, Modern, and Post-modern (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993). 39. Brennan, At Home in the World, p. 187. 40. Forsdick, “Projected Journeys”, p. 10. 41. Dentith, Parody, p. 28. 42. Galtieri ordered the invasion on 2 April 1982, although Argentine soldiers had hoisted the flag there on 19 March. The war was declared over on 14 June 1982.

Road to Nowhere?  227 43. “se vuelve casi aburrido mirar las chapas, GB domina de lejos” . . . “invasión británica, por lo demás simultánea a la de las islas Malvinas”, Cortázar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, pp. 72 and 73. 44. “una manera perfectamente británica de que muchos de ellos le están haciendo un corte de mangas a Maggie Thatcher y cambiando los pingüinos de Port Stanley por la ruleta de Monte Carlo”, Cortázar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, p. 73. In this instance, Cortázar and Dunlop’s playful conception of the possibilities offered by leisure travel as a kind of oppositional activity to those military incursions is one further inversion in the litany of generic “subversions” mentioned earlier. 45. “En las Malvinas, los ingleses y los argentinos se matan cada vez mas salvajemente, según la radio”, Cortázar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, p. 45. 46. “nos puso ante los ojos escenas de la guerra de las Malvinas” (p. 56) “. . . no queremos ni podemos escaparnos” (p. 94). The TV is credited precisely with its power to “[abolir] la distancia con la naturalidad displicente de las máquinas electrónicas”. Cortázar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, p. 56. 47. David Morley, Home Territories: Media, Mobility and Identity (London: Rout­ledge, 2000), p. 213. 48. “¿Cómo no sentir náuseas frente a la estúpida adhesión de una mayoría de argentinos que en estos últimos anos han vivido día tras día la opresión, los asesinatos, la tortura y la desaparición de millares de compatriotas?”, Cortázar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, p. 94. 49. “al final de esta imbécil y siniestra Guerra de las Malvinas, parecen todavía más verdaderas”, Cortázar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, p. 269. 50. “más o menos perturbada por monstruos que pasan rozándonos y rugiendo”, Cortázar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, p. 45. 51. “Cuando dos argentinos llegan y se instalan para tomar mate muy cerca de nosotros, resulta evidente que el enemigo ha decidido adoptar métodos más audaces”, Cortázar and Dunlop, Los autonautas, p. 167. 52. Thomas E. Skidmore and Peter H. Smith, Modern Latin America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 105. 53. Josh Cohen, How to Read Freud (London: Granta, 2005), p. 47. 54. Cohen, How to Read Freud, p. 48. 55. Espey, “Americans in Vietnam”, p. 151.



Afterword Travel and Power Bill Ashcroft

In his essay, “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”, Oscar Wilde writes: A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and seeing a better country, sets sail.1 Utopia is pre-eminently a place, a place to which Europeans in particular have sailed to set up perfected versions of their societies. Although utopias have, since Thomas More’s Utopia, been located principally in future time rather than distant space, the idea of utopia as a discoverable or transformable place was central to the evocation of pre-modern utopias and has, consequently, been critical for the European imagination, and occupation, of the world. In many ways, travel writing has always been about this utopia: a world beyond the horizon brought into the familiarity of language. Travel has not been universal throughout history. Various impediments— geographic, economic, and linguistic—have proven insurmountable to many who might otherwise have ventured beyond their borders. But the urge to see beyond the horizon, to discover that utopia of the not-yet-seen, the urge simply to realize that which can only be imagined, has featured in all human experience. Yet it is equally true that European societies, at least, have combined the urge to travel with the urge to possess. This has not always meant physical possession. Long before the rush to build empires, a strange link between discovery and knowing characterized the urge for possession. This urge has, in turn, been actualized in acts of description—in writing—, the material record of which gives both permanence and availability to the object described. Travel writing is seldom about travel itself; it is about place. Movement is constantly in tension with place, as Peter Hulme points out in his chapter, “Deep Maps: Travelling on the Spot” (p. 132, this volume). The place may be, and usually is, another geographical location, but travel writing is always about another place in the mind, a space of the imagination. This space is of a particular kind of utopia, the utopia of the distant world brought

230  Bill Ashcroft near, a strange world owned and domesticated. No matter how personal or eccentric the travel writing, travel began to be increasingly involved, from the rise of modernity itself, in an implicit debate about possession, a debate about who owns the world. This ownership is manifestly a written, or more exactly, a textual discourse, and as the writing creates the travel, so writing creates the utopia of a strange world made familiar. Even when this world occupies some symbolically fantastic space of otherness, such as the “Aethiopia” described by Mary Baine Campbell, or indeed Africa itself in medieval and pre-modern times (pp. 21–37, this volume), the very operation of representation serves to bring it within the European universe. Writing has, of course, been augmented radically by the visual image in photographic and cinematic form in recent times. But the ‘truthful’ images of visual description have only made more obvious the corrigibility and ideological nature of representation. The question that now dominates the discourse of travel is: how can any writer escape the imputation of knowing that so powerfully impresses itself on the text? How can a writer escape the urge to possess that knowing entails? In travel writing, as in cartography, and the inscription of European names on the map, the principal issue is one that Edward Said has made a staple of our understanding of the relationship between Europe and its others—the link between knowledge and power. As Balfour could say to Parliament in 1910 in justification of Britain’s continued colonization of Egypt: We know the civilization of Egypt better than we know the civilization of any other country. We know it further back; we know it more intimately; we know more about it. It goes far beyond the petty span of the history of our race, which is lost in the prehistoric period at a time when the Egyptian civilization had already passed its prime . . . do not talk about superiority or inferiority.2 British civilization might be paltry compared to the ancient civilization of Egypt, but knowing it justified power over it, and it justified this power through the agency of a particular form of intimacy—the intimacy of observation, familiarity, knowledge: the particular intimacy of travel. As Ali Behdad points out, the traveller invests himself with the power of knowledge that comes with familiarity, “the traveller is the savant who knows and has enough credentials to judge and make authoritative remarks about other people and cultures” (p. 86, this volume). This intimacy of familiarity has been the central feature of tourism, and is the affect that links the benign voyeurism of touring to the history of imperialism: the journey to a “strange” place already understood and known, a place in which the pleasure of discovery has been tamed by the pleasure of prediction. This pleasure has been historically invested in the experience of writing and reading, but is more broadly invested in the density of representation itself. The pleasure of prediction comes, then, from the prior discourse of travel writing. It comes not

Afterword  231 from discovering but from remembering. Behdad, citing Thévenot, explains the thirst for travel as a curiosity stimulated from the writings of previous travellers, “there is always already an inter-text (that is, another travel narrative) that informs every traveller’s desire” (p. 83, this volume). The form of this desire varies from century to century, but the desire is itself textual, an elaboration of a pre-text. The panoramic perspective of travel writing is a technique for aestheticising landscape that becomes reproduced in the social descriptions of the traveller. The traveller develops techniques that may be found also in the description of interiors or in accounts of the surveillance of the body itself. David Spurr gives this account of a passage from the explorer Stanley’s journal: She is of light brown complexion, with broad round face, large eyes and small but full lips. She had a quiet modest demeanour, though her dress was but a narrow fork clout of bark cloth . . . I notice when her arms are held against the light, a whitey-brown fell on them. Her skin has not the silky smoothness of touch common to the Zanzibaris, but altogether she is a very pleasing little creature.3 “The eye treats the body as a landscape,” says Spurr; “it proceeds systematically from part to part, quantifying and spatializing, noting color and texture, and finally passing an aesthetic judgment which stressed the body’s role as object to be viewed”.4 The woman has been captured during a skirmish, a reminder that the freedom of the gaze depends on the security of the position from which it is being directed. We might also say, in response, that the travelling eye treats the landscape as a body, an object to be possessed by the gaze, an object of desire. Such surveillance, which corresponds to and confirms the gaze of colonial authority, may be reversed as the colonized subject “looks” (and writes) back. But inevitably power peruses, power possesses. From the beginning of travel writing, this relentless trajectory, this relentless attraction of the gaze, to draw the strange into the intimacy of the familiar, has been grounded in a discourse of ownership. As Mary Fuller demonstrates, Richard Hakluyt understood that writing travel was the beginning of national expansion; he was not merely translating the travel writings of foreigners for delight and edification, but “wanted to spur on his countrymen to plant the northern parts of mainland America before the French, Normans, Bretons, Dutch, or someone else took advantage of their inactivity to get there first” (p. 44, this volume). For Hakluyt, translation of other travel accounts was a form of politics—it was putting in the public mind a possibility of a distant place as the concomitant of a different future, a future of national dominance. This is interesting in the light of Lesa Scholl’s definition of Harriet Martineau’s travel writing as “translation” (p. 108–19, this volume). The travel writer “translates” culture for the reader but in so doing invents the culture

232  Bill Ashcroft as a familiar object no matter how well-meaning, no matter how great the desire to portray the “truth”. Hakluyt’s translation of French travel narratives was a more obvious form of political aggression, specifically designed to attract an English audience to possible sites of conquest. But translation in both cases approximates to the power of knowing, and it is this power that resonates most in the writing of travel. “Travel”, which here also refers to travel writing, was essential to the imaginative conception that preceded imperialism—the idea that distant places described in travel, should be ours! This was, ironically, an ideology that continued into early documentary film production. Gauthier suggests the insidious drift of documentary to propaganda: “People have to love this colonial empire, to give rise to vocations, to keep alive French patriotism with exotic pictures.”5 Hakluyt’s account of the necessity for English expansion demonstrates the connection between the writing of travel—bringing the distant close— and domesticating the other. But the curious connection between identity and otherness is nowhere more telling than in travel writing about Britain itself. It is commonplace today to see the dynamic of Britain’s world empire as necessarily bred in the imperial control of the British Isles themselves. In this respect, descriptions and comparisons of the Welsh and Irish demonstrate the operation of power in travel writing quite succinctly. Ian Baucom confirms that the triumphant racial nationalism of English imperialism, the “species of racial nationalism long present in the discourse of Englishness and Empire”, “could only survive intact by identifying local, imperial subjects as subordinate but quite different from England’s subjects”.6 One of the most bizarre examples of this was the “index of nigrescence” developed in 1885 by John Beddoe, the president of the (British) Anthropological Institute, which showed the people of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales not only to be racially distinct from the English, but in many cases to be “Africanoid”.7 This sense of otherness works to enhance the power of the one who can identify it and make the description. George Gissing remarks to a German friend that “it is a strange thing to hear this (to me) unintelligible tongue in my native island . . . strange to think that these people have a better right in England than I have, and that my language is a modern, new-fangled thing, compared with theirs”.8 This is uncannily reminiscent of descriptions of indigenous cultures and languages in settler colonies, where it is also assumed that the imperial interlocutor is given the power to speak for rather than be spoken to. The power to speak supervenes all comment on alienation and indeed reinforces the ownership established by the travel writing. What of women travellers? If they have been marginalized in history, surely their record of the places they have visited will not be invested with the cultural power that has marginalized them? On the contrary, the power to speak is accorded by the discourse itself, a situation that is acutely demonstrated by travel writing. The writing subject may resist the discourse (this, in fact, is the premise of much contemporary travel writing), but it will not occur as a simple function of the writer’s marginality. The Welsh

Afterword  233 and Irish, so manifestly othered by a process of descriptive knowing, might also participate in the power accorded the subject by the discourse of travel writing. Foucault has famously demonstrated that power is not simply hierarchical and structural, operating upon individuals solely by repression, but rather we are caught in its web-like processes, an inseparable part of its constitution: And not only do individuals circulate between its threads; they are always in the position of simultaneously undergoing and exercising power. They are not only its inert or consenting target; they are also always the elements of its articulation. In other words, individuals are the vehicles of power, not its points of application.9 Language therefore becomes the arena of a dynamic power engagement. The transcultural space of language enables both ‘powerful’ and ‘powerless’ participants to act, to either perpetuate power or disrupt it, to entrench it or transform it. This issue has been the site of an interesting debate about women travellers, who, however disempowered they might be within the social structures of imperial society, are decidedly empowered by their class and, more subtly, as travellers by the discourse of travel writing. It is an ensnaring power, perhaps because participation in the discourse, however innocent, involved the writing subject in the power of the discourse. This may occur, as Susan Pickford demonstrates in her chapter on Mariana Starke’s travel writings, by small typographical changes, which transform women’s travel writing from personal domestic observations to public discourse. But more telling, perhaps, is the way in which women as ‘dominated’ subjects may, by participation in the discourse, become participants in the imperial domination of which the travel writing is an integral part. In this way, power works through subjects as well as upon them, through the discourse of travel writing by which the strange, being made familiar, is domesticated and owned. In Éadaoin Agnew’s discussion of Lady Dufferin, who accompanied Lord Dufferin as Viceroy of India from 1884–88, it becomes clear how strongly the apparently private and domestic discourse supports and advances the imperial discourse in which it is situated. A very apposite quote from Bhabha in discussing feminine writing suggests that domestic spaces become “sites for history’s most intricate invasions. In that displacement, the borders between home and world become confused; and, uncannily, the private and the public become part of each other”.10 The power the feminine correspondent inhabits is imperial power in the broadest sense, but more specifically the power of imperial surveillance. “The European is a watcher, never involved, always detached”, says Said. And Behdad expands, “the European traveller surveys his object as a powerful observing subject, producing a similar Foucauldian effect to that of the doctor’s gaze or the surveillance of the panoptic warder” (Behdad, p. 88,

234  Bill Ashcroft this volume). The observation of the domestic observer, apparently confined to the domestic space, is no less a purveyor of that power for all its greater subtlety. The discourse may construct the travelling subject in insidious but comprehensive ways. When travel writing operates as the contact zone, the site for a transcultural contact, the potential for a truly hybrid engagement is present. Yet the discourse of travel writing, with its rules of inclusion and exclusion, works to construct and reconstruct the transcultural text. The question remains one of representation. Representation can never escape the ideology of which it is a concrete form; it may not escape the situation of the discourse in which it is situated—unless it shifts, crosses over so to speak, to the discourse of the literary in which the possibilities of the transcultural engagement may be realized in language. The notion that such translation can never take place because of the commonly held belief that “no culture can understand another” hinges on a definition of understanding that is closer to “experiencing”. But this is unduly restrictive. I can never be a member of another culture, but I can never see the world exactly as another member of my culture sees it. The link we have in the world is language. When that language is translated the distance is of course increased, but this does not mean that understanding is impossible. Nevertheless, it is not translation itself, it is not the impossibility of understanding, that is the problem: understanding must be seen to be controlled, to some extent, by the boundaries of discourse, and as with all translation, a totally new reality is created. This reality may vary not only between the observed and observing cultures, but in time and history within the observing culture, as Behdad points out with respect to the very different modes and imaginative purposes of travel that characterised the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in France. How may we describe the phenomenological experience bracketing the cultural and discursive horizon? In David Scott’s essay on Michaux’s Ecuador, we find that names interfere with experience—they embody the arbitrariness of signs: “Only painters can really deal with the first encounter with the foreign; how quickly and completely painting and drawing capture it!”11 Sadly, this has proven to be manifestly untrue. Colonial painters in Australia, faced with the strangeness of a world upside down, could paint nothing but versions of what they knew. They produced versions in the style of painting they were familiar with, but faced with strangeness, it was strangeness they represented rather than an objective world. This, however, may give us insight into the operations of the travel writer. Faced with strangeness, the tools of representation fail. Early explorers trekking across Australia infuriated their imperial sponsors with woefully inadequate descriptions such as “words cannot describe the scene before me” or “I am at a loss to describe the barrenness we have encountered”. Clearly, representation may only use the tools its ideology allows. This is true for travel writing. To avoid the doleful situation of explorers virtually struck dumb, the travel writer must

Afterword  235 write the known rather than the unknown, must domesticate the alien in the very process of representing it. This function is captured at the very point of representation, and it is the embodiment of the travel writing process. Michaux, as Scott astutely points out, encounters in the jungle an impenetrable system of signs because the assumption is that this is land and that terrestrial description will adequately provide the signs. But in equatorial America, “water is the dynamic object that both underlies and obliterates it in an unstoppable cycle of convection and precipitation” (Scott, p. 129, this volume). Here topography, the material character of place, resists the very frame by which the discourse of travel seeks to know the difference of the exotic. Yet it is only by adjusting the techniques of representation to accommodate this disruptive resistance that the writer can break out of, and in turn disrupt, the discourse of travel writing. The resistance of representation itself—the impenetrability of a system of signs—may, paradoxically, offer a key to the transformation of travel writing, and this semiotic disruption has occurred most noticeably in film. The role of the contemporary producer of travel texts may be to engage the very rules of the discourse that remain invisible beneath the ostensible but unrealisable goals of discovery and truth-telling. The engagement with the other who remains the subject of the travel record may be matched by an equal or greater engagement with the discourse itself. In a sense, this is a conscious deployment of the power of the traveller over images: in this case they are presented as images of reality rather than reality itself. Future Directions So deeply has travel writing been implicated in the power/knowledge equation throughout history that the most pressing questions presented to it are: how can this peculiar form of intimacy avoid the domination of knowing? How can travel writing avoid colonizing the space of its journey? How can it avoid the invidious power relationship existing in the binary of surveyor/surveyed, recorder/recorded, representer/represented? This is the utopia sought by much contemporary travel writing: a familiar world made strange. Travel writers, increasingly dissatisfied with the genre, are increasingly fracturing the equation of knowledge and power, as the conditions of globalisation accelerate the interpenetration of the familiar and strange in ways that were impossible in a former, and in many ways simpler, imperial world. Certainly, travel writing as a form of voyeuristic touring continues, but there are few other fields of writing in which the theory has impacted so manifestly on the practice. Perhaps most aware of this are ethnographers who now have a voluminous critique of anthropological and ethnographic practice to encourage the transformation of this form of writing. For at heart ethnography is writing, and the future of ethnography cannot avoid taking this into account.

236  Bill Ashcroft Whenever we think of travel we immediately imply a binary relation with ‘place’ which appears static and ‘located’, the space over which we move. But to what extent is the concept of place itself a function of movement, of migration and travel? The usual perception of Indian identity, for instance, is one totally fixated on place. Kapil Kapoor contends that “[t]he Indian identity begins and ends in geography . . .”: It begins with the village and geographic belt, moves to the family, community (biradri) caste, nationality, then belongingness to a desha, country, in this case India which has traditionally been defined as jambudvipe bharatakhande, “the land called Bharat in the land mass known as jambudvipe”. The land is sanctified and transformed into a ‘mother’ by a reverence for its nurturing role and civilizational memory, unifying consciousness of a long-lived historical experience . . . Great sanctity is attached to this and all the diversity of its inhabitants is transcended by the fact that all are children of this great mother and have an emotional bonding with her.12 This is a pronounced restatement of what we might call the centripetal view of national identity, one firmly grounded in the belief of the simultaneity of Hindu religious practice and Indian identity and in this respect one pole of a continuing argument about the nature of cultural identity itself. According to this, the Indian diaspora is detached from the great mother and therefore from home, a people in a state of perpetual not-at-homeness. But even in Kapoor’s own terms we can see that this centredeness, this spirituallybonded relationship between child-subject and mother-nation, is already quite fluid. For instance, he claims that the centrality of the Bharatkhanda is evident in the elaborate structuring of the landmass in Hindu texts, which leads to 1821 places of pilgrimage.13 So it is by pilgrimage, by movement, that the centrality of place is established in the Indian psyche. The great centrality of the Hindu self is already a travelling self. This is true also, in a very different way, in Australia. Youngs refers to Robyn Davidson’s observation that the Aboriginal extension of the metaphorical possibilities of the journey to include the earth, makes Australia itself a travel narrative. He suggests that “given the role of ‘discovery’, migration, and tourism in the modern history of the continent, it is difficult not to think of Australia as a travel narrative in a broader sense also” (Youngs, p. 148, this volume). The two conceptions of Australian place operate as extensions of travel in distinct and oppositional ways. The narrative of those journeys in which early explorers tried to appropriate the land into the cartographic narratives of imperial modernity engages in a power struggle that is focused on a conception of place itself. The phenomenon of Australia ‘on the map’ is a function of those journeys taken to name it, and this extends today into the narrative of tourism. Such journeys effectively occluded an Aboriginal place that was embedded deeply in a sacred history centred on

Afterword  237 movement, on relationality, on the ‘Dreaming’. The dialogue, or contest, of these two conceptions of place is one that has had continual repercussions in Australian politics and is one apprehended constantly in Australian literature, both white and black. But the concept of place as a function of travel opens up the possibility of a different way of perceiving place, and with it, a different way of perceiving cultural identity.

Slow Travel If tourism is the fast food of travel discourse, then a form of intense, slowly accumulated, and thick description has revealed a way of transforming travel writing away from an aggressive form of knowledge-making to a mode of reflection. Peter Hulme records William Least Heat-Moon’s observation of a small mid-west town where nothing happens, and where “he’s come to watch ‘nothing’ happen, invoking in the process Ruth Orkin’s photographs of the intersection below her New York apartment.” In Heat-Moon’s own words, “My assignment here is to compress watching and time by observing intensely for twelve hours—arbitrarily no more or fewer—and enter village life only as an unseen observer . . .”.14 The comparison with Orkin is a useful one because the record of such an observation becomes, if not exactly an art work, a piece of writing with its own discrete being, liberated from the gaze of the observer, liberated from an Author. Travel writing that reflects upon place so intensely, that stretches out time so thinly that closure becomes impossible, opens up a form of travel that constructs place as constantly new, unknowable, and dynamic. This is a new kind of intimacy: an intimacy that defamiliarises, that sees every observable object as a gateway to further possibilities. This is the opposite of the exotic. And yet the defamiliarisation of a place so utterly ordinary reproduces place as the location of an intense strangeness—a representation that contests representation itself. In the face of the intensely ordinary, the observer bears witness to place in a way that allows it continually to escape definition and, in doing so, bears witness to an epistemological powerlessness that radicalizes the position of the travel writer.

Bearing Witness At a certain level all travel writing bears witness to the events and places it records. But witness cannot, no more than the subject position of the writer, automatically avoid the rules of the discourse. “Bearing witness” offers the possibility of a different kind of intimacy yet again—the intimacy of identification. This is a risky proposition because identification can romanticise and patronise. But bearing witness to events—of a political nature especially— can avoid the pressure of knowing. It might indulge in rage and resentment, but the affect of such identification disempowers the witness, in effect, and

238  Bill Ashcroft liberates the observed place, or occasion, or memory, or history from the political framework of knowledge. The most powerful form of witness writing has come in the form of personal memory in Latin American testimonio, in which the blurring of the genres of history and literature leads to an allegorical presentation that produces what Edouard Glissant calls a “prophetic vision of the past”.15 Such a prophetic vision is not unlike the vision of myth, which ‘enfolds’ the present rather than outlines the past. Travel writing that “bears witness” offers a particularly ambivalent example of the hybridity of all travel writing, one that leans toward this prophetic vision of the past. As testimonio suggests, the occasion for bearing witness is most often the experience of trauma. In some cases, as with I Rigoberta Menchu, the testimonio speaks for a collective subject, but collective subjectivity is something to which the travel writing can never bear witness. Excluded from the experience of trauma, such writing is also excluded from knowledge (although the two are not synonymous). In this way the witness may, by identifying with the witnessed subject and witnessed trauma, reconcile a history of unequal power relationships.

Reconciliation Travel Given the relationship between travel and power that is inscribed in its textuality, the potential for travel that attempts to reverse that power relationship in performances of reconciliation becomes particularly pertinent. Here is a journey towards a different kind of truth in the process of seeking healing. ‘Reconciliation travel’ embarks on a different kind of epistemological journey, one in which the function of knowing is disempowered by a conscious act of deferral. Travel might always be fundamentally about the discovery of self in the apprehension of the other, but in reconciliation travel the function of discovery—the dialectic of intersubjective discovery—is the discovery that requires self-revelation in the attempt to gain healing. Travel, by which we mean travel writing, implicates readers in the symbolic process being enacted. In reconciliation travel, the writing implicates the reader in a potentially very different power relationship. Peter Bishop describes what happens when a young Rhodesian girl accompanies a white ex-soldier farmer on a journey of reconciliation: the soldier finally breaks down and confesses to having tortured a young black woman to death (p. 187, this volume). The girl then realizes, “I own this now. This was my war too.”16 Can the ethical potential of knowing be harnessed in reconciliation travel? Can the journey towards an intersubjective truth become a vicarious healing in the same way as travel is a vicarious discovery? Does this vicarious journey lessen the impact of the recognition and the healing? Whatever the answers to this such travel reveals to us, in retrospect perhaps, that travel is a performance, a performance that through writing becomes a social performance, a meeting of worlds.

Afterword  239

Political Travel, Memory, and the Archive Photographs have become the archetypal symbols of travelling memory, the very embodiment of the tourist gaze, so the pictorial memories of political resistance that Susan Meiselas observes and recalls in Nicaragua are a perfect demonstration of the friability of memory itself. As Maureen Moynagh points out, the photographs in Meiselas’s Nicaragua, June 1978–July 1979, are accorded meaning and operate as particular kinds of memories depending on the archive in which they are situated, the semi-nostalgic memories of political resistance.17 They are a form of bearing witness that strives to maintain the memory of struggle and, within that memory, the possibility that struggle may prevail. Yet photos embody the fragility and malleability of memory itself. Meiselas’s book would seem to announce quite clearly the archive in which they are situated and from which their meaning accrues. But for Edmundo Desnoes, “the agony of Susan Meiselas is that her photographs are trapped in two discourses”.18 The photographs of those who wanted to change things belong to a “southern discourse”, but they are printed and distributed mostly for a northern audience with a different way of decoding messages. The entrapment in two discourses is the re-emergence of power; for the discourse in which they are distributed is that discourse that has the power to distribute its images. The meaning of the memories is determined by the power of the discourse in which they are viewed. Yet, far from being disabling, this ambivalence may be a form of release from the power/knowledge equation. Certainly the desire to produce images that bear witness in an incontrovertible way to political struggle is strongly maintained by the polemic purpose of such memory production. Yet the indeterminacy of the images themselves, their operation within different contexts, produces a text that harnesses imagination rather than knowledge, and this combination may be even more politically powerful. The optimism of the images seems compromised when Meiselas candidly, and bravely, describes finding one of the heroic subjects living in a shabby and abject state. Resistance seems, if not to have failed, to have been derailed. Yet the utopianism of the images exceeds the historical events themselves, exceeds even the political outcome. The most active utopianism is the constant belief in the possibility of change, and these images record that belief by recording moments of resistance.

Genre Parody The unwitting versatility of Meiselas’s images points to the pervasiveness as much as the ambivalence of the political. But the political may also be addressed through a form that disrupts the discourse of travel writing in a different way. As Claire Lindsay demonstrates, Cortázar and Dunlop’s Los autonautas de la cosmopista describes travel in a contemporary “nonplace”—a utopia—“the uncharted interstices of the highway and landscape”

240  Bill Ashcroft (p. 213, this volume). This can be read as a literary parody which, by employing the techniques of travel writing, locating the travel at the site of a previous Cortázar novel, and almost manically hybridising the form of the genre, produces “a mélange of travel narrative and daily journal entries, recording local ambient temperatures, geographical directions . . . illustrated by photographs and maps . . . interpolated at intervals with pieces of short fiction” (Lindsay, p. 213, this volume). Rather than disrupting the reliability of representation, as Michaux does in his visual record, Cortázar and Dunlop offer a disruption of the genre. Focusing on the tediously familiar—a highway—Cortázar and Dunlop approach the contemporary travel utopia in a different way, making the familiar strange with pastiche and mélange. Appropriately, the literary parody draws attention to the generic rules of the discourse of travel writing. The parodic employment of the apparatus of knowing reveals the reliance of the genre on structures that produce the appearance of knowing, a simulacrum that has nevertheless accorded itself enormous power within travel writing. Whatever the success of the political purposes of the text, it exposes the architecture of the genre of travel writing by playing so fast and loose with it. In its place it engages, with whatever success, in a form of political resistance that is no less powerful for being parodic. What then of ethnography? What of a form of travel writing that aims honestly, or naively, or reflectively, or cunningly to know the other? Few fields have received the battering that this discipline has received—by now for decades. Where is the place of the social scientist, the scientific, knowing subject? Ethnography, like travel writing, may be in the process of being released from the power relationship of observer and informant, not just by theoretical sophistication, but by globalization itself. For in a globalised, diasporic world, travel may not be a movement between subjectivities, but the very means by which subjectivity is established. In a shrinking globe, everyone with a computer is a traveller. That is still a minority of the world’s population, as is the number of people who have actually experienced modernity. But what Appadurai calls the “technoscapes” of contemporary globalisation have already, and will continue radically to transform the technology, the trajectory, and the discourse of travel. 19 Notes 1. Oscar Wilde, in Selected Essays and Poems [1891] (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1954), p. 34. 2. Edward Said, Orientalism [1978] (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1991), p. 32. 3. David Spurr, The Rhetoric of Empire: Colonial Discourse in Journalism, Travel Writing and Imperial Administration (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1993), p. 23. 4. Spurr, The Rhetoric of Empire, p. 23. 5. Guy Gauthier, Le documentaire un autre cinema (Paris: Nathan, 1995), p. 40.

Afterword  241 6. Ian Baucom, Englishness, Empire, and the Location of Identity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999), p. 5. 7. J. F. Szwed, “Race and the Embodiment of Culture,” Ethnicity 2 (1975): 19–33 (at pp. 20–21) 8. George Gissing, The Letters of George Gissing to Edvard Bertz, 1887–1903, ed. A. C. Young (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1980), p. 217. 9. Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972–1977 (New York: Pantheon, 1980), p. 98. 10. Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge, 1994), p. 9, cited in Eadaoin Agnew (p. 97, this volume). 11. Henri Michaux, Ecuador [1929] (Paris: Gallimard, 1968), pp. 28–29, cited and translated by David Scott (p. 124, this volume). 12. Kapil Kapoor, “Keynote Address”, in Adesh Pal and Tapas Chakrabarty, eds., Critiquing Nationalism, Transnationalism and Indian Diaspora (New Delhi: Creative Books, 2004), pp. 29–43 (at pp. 30–31). 13. Kapoor, “Keynote Address”, p. 37. 14. William Least Heat-Moon, PrairyErth (A Deep Map) [1991] (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999), p. 486–87, cited in Peter Hulme (p. 137–38, this volume). 15. Edouard Glissant, Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays, trans. with introd. by J. Michael Dash (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1989), p. 64. 16. Alexandra Fuller, Scribbling the Cat (London: Picador, 2004), p. 152, cited in Peter Bishop (p. 183, this volume). 17. Moynagh’s chapter refers to a book of photographs, Susan Meiselas, Nicaragua, June 1978–July 1979 (New York: Pantheon, 1981) and a documentary film, Susan Meiselas, Richard P. Rogers, Alfred Guzzeti, dirs., Pictures From a Revolution (GMR Films, 1991). See Maureen Moynagh (pp. 199–212, this volume). 18. Edmundo Desnoes, “The Death System”, in Marshall Blonsky, ed., On Signs (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985), pp. 39–42 (at p. 41), cited in Moynagh, (p. 210, this volume). 19. Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), p. 33.

Contributors

Éadaoin Agnew is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and Queen’s University, Belfast where she is currently completing her PhD entitled, “From Memsahibs to Missionaries: Subjectivity in British and Irish Women’s Travel Writing in Nineteenth-Century India”. She has previously published an article, co-written with Leon Litvack, “The Subcontinent as Spectator Sport: The Photographs of Hariot Lady Dufferin, Vicereine of India” in History of Photography, and co-edited a volume of essays, A Further Shore: Essays in Irish and Scottish Studies. Her current research interests are generally grounded in the nineteenth-century but encompass children’s literature, travel writing, women’s writing and connections between Ireland and India. Bill Ashcroft is a founding exponent of post-colonial theory, co-author of The Empire Writes Back, the first text to examine systematically the field of ‘post-colonial studies’. Other publications include The Post-colonial Studies Reader; The Gimbals of Unease: the Poetry of Francis Webb; Key Concepts in Post-colonial Studies; Edward Said: the Paradox of Identity; Edward Said; Post-colonial Transformation; On Post-­colonial Futures; Caliban’s Voice: the Transformation of English in Post-Colonial Literatures. Ali Behdad is Professor of English and Comparative Literature and the Chair of Comparative Literature Department at UCLA. He is the author of Belated Travelers: Orientalism in the Age of Colonial Dissolution and A Forgetful Nation: On Immigration and Cultural Identity in the United States. He is currently completing a book tentatively titled Contact Visions: On Photography and Modernity in the Middle East. Peter Bishop is Associate Professor in the School of Communication at the University of South Australia. His books include: The Myth of Shangri-la: Tibet, Travel Writing and the Western Creation of Sacred Landscape; An Archetypal Constable: National Identity and the Geography of Nostalgia; and most recently Bridge. He has researched, published and taught extensively around topics such as imagination, memory, hope, utopia,

244  Contributors mobility, place and reconciliation, in particular focusing on the Western engagement with non-western cultures and religions such as Buddhism. He is currently researching travel writing and reconciliation in several countries. Mary Baine Campbell is Professor of English and American Literature at Brandeis University, where she teaches medieval and early modern literature, poetry, and utopia. She is the author of The Witness and the Other World: European Travel Writing, 400–1600 and Wonder and Science: Imagining Worlds in Early Modern Europe, as well as two books of poetry. Her current projects include a book on dreams and dream theory, roughly 1400–1700: Dreaming, Motion, Meaning. Robert Clarke teaches literature at the University of Tasmania, Australia. In 2006 he completed a doctoral thesis, The Utopia of the Senses: White Travellers in Black Australia, 1980–2002. He is presently researching the histories and influences of celebrities within colonial and postcolonial cultures. Mary Fuller teaches literature at MIT, with interests in travel writing, cultural encounters, historical memory, and the history of the book. Her publications include Voyages in Print: English Travel to America 1576– 1624, Remembering the Early Modern Voyage, and numerous articles on accounts of early English contact with Guiana, Virginia, Newfoundland, West Africa, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire. She is currently working on a book about Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations (1598–1600), and recently finished editing a biography of Morihei Ueshiba, founder of the Japanese martial art of Aikido. Peter Hulme is Professor of Literature at the University of Essex and author of Colonial Encounters: Europe and the Native Caribbean, 1492–1797 and Remnants of Conquest: The Caribs and Their Visitors, 1877–1998. Recent publications include (ed. with Tim Youngs) The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing and (ed. with William H. Sherman) William Shakespeare: The Tempest. He is currently working on the literary geography of the Caribbean. Julia Kuehn is Assistant Professor in English at the University of Hong Kong, with research and teaching interests in nineteenth-century literature and culture. Her publications include Glorious Vulgarity: Marie Corelli’s Feminine Sublime in a Popular Context, and the co-edited essay collections A Century of Travels in China, and China Abroad: Travels, Subjects, Spaces. Julia is currently working on a monograph on exoticism in canonical and popular women’s writing published between 1880 and 1920. Claire Lindsay is Senior Lecturer in Latin American literature and culture at University College London. She is author of Locating Latin American Women Writers and co-editor of special issues on travel writing in

Contributors  245 Spain and Latin America of Studies in Travel Writing and Tesserae: Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies. She has also published on the travel writing of Frances Calderón de la Barca, Luis Sepúlveda and Bruce Chatwin and is currently completing a book entitled Contemporary Travel Writing of Latin America. Maureen Moynagh teaches postcolonial literature and contemporary theory at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Her book Political Tourism and its Texts is forthcoming. Susan Pickford is a lecturer in the English department at the Université Paris 13, specializing in translation studies. Her research interests include travel writing, the professional status of literary translators past and present, the cultural effects of the rationalization of the publishing industry in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and issues of literary eccentricity, particularly in terms of paratext. She also works regularly as a literary translator. Lesa Scholl is a final-year PhD candidate at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her research looks at the role of translation in the literary careers of Harriet Martineau, George Eliot and Charlotte Brontë. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Queensland in nineteenthcentury women’s religious discourse. Her publications include “Fallen or Forbidden? Rossetti’s Goblin Market” on the Victorian Web (www. victorian​web​.org) and “Translating Authority: Romola’s Disruption of the Gendered Narrative” in the Victorian Newsletter. David Scott holds a personal chair in French (Textual and Visual Studies) at Trinity College Dublin. He has written widely on literature, painting and semiotics, and organised international exhibitions on art and design. His books include Pictorialist Poetics, Paul Delvaux, European Stamp Design: a semiotic approach, Semiologies of Travel and The Art and Aesthetics of Boxing. He is currently writing a book on the poetics of the poster. An editor of Word & Image and l’image, he was president of IAWIS/AIERTI in 1999–2002. His interests include gardens, travel and sport, especially boxing. Paul Smethurst is Associate Professor at the University of Hong Kong, where he teaches travel writing. His publications include The Postmodern Chronotope and The Reinvention of Nature: Scientific, Picturesque and Romantic Travel Writing (forthcoming). He is co-editor with Steve Clark of Asian Crossings: Travel Writing on China, Japan and South East Asia. His latest project is a cultural history of the bicycle. Jack Warwick is Emeritus Professor at York University in Toronto and Chercheur Associé à l’Institut Pluridisciplinaire d’Etudes Canadiennes at Rouen University. He studies imaginary and historical journeys relating to Canada and the myth of the North. His principal publications on these

246  Contributors topics are: The Long Journey, translated into French by Jean Simard as L’Appel du Nord; “Maria Chapdelaine as literary myth/ Maria Chapdelaine, mythe littéraire”, essay in Maria Chapdelaine illustrations; and a critical edition of Le Grand Voyage du pays des Hurons suivi du Dictionaire [sic] de la langue huronne par Gabriel Sagard [1632], Prix Samuel de Champlain. Tim Youngs is Professor of English and Travel Studies at Nottingham Trent University. His publications include Travellers in Africa: British Travelogues 1850–1900, The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing (ed. with Peter Hulme), Perspectives on Travel Writing (ed. with Glenn Hooper), and Travel Writing in the Nineteenth Century (ed.). He is founding editor of the journal Studies in Travel Writing, and is currently working on The Cambridge Introduction to Travel Writing and on a four-volume anthology of travel writing criticism for Routledge.

Index

A Aborigines. See Australia, Aborigines Abyssinia, 21–25; 30–33; located in Africa, 25; located in India, 23, 30; as Italian colony, 25; as Polo’s Abascia, 25, 29, 36n23; home of Prester John, 31 Acre, 27 Aethiopia. See Ethiopia Africa, 28–29, 34, 84, 187, 192, 230; East, 22–23, 25; South, 185, 192. See also Abyssinia; apartheid; Eritrea; Mozambique; Rwanda; Somalia; Sudan; Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) Aithon, 26. See also Homer: The Odyssey Alazraki, Jaime, 213, 224n7 Alcoff, Linda, 190 Alemán, Arnoldo, 208 Alençon, Duke of, 46 Alexander III, Pope, 27, 29, 33 Alexander Romance, 27, 30 “Alexander’s Letter to Aristotle”, 27–30 Alps, 67, 70 Alvarez, Francisco, 32, 36n22 Amazon (river and region of Amazonia), 14–15, 123, 127–129; Amazons (women), 125 America, 41, 47, 56; Americas, the (early travel to), 38, 42, 48, 53; Central, 17, 216; equatorial, 235; Latin, 125, 201, 215–216, 218, 223, 238; North, 42, 44, 133, 136, 231; South, 124. See also United States of America

American Indians, 57–59, 127, 140– 142, 181, 186, 188–192; Huron, 55, 58, 60; Souriquois, 56 anthropology, 59, 61, 87, 161 Anghiera, Peter Martyr of, 44, 59 apartheid: Apartheid Museum (Johannesburg), 182, 193; in Australia, 177; in South Africa, 193 Appadurai, Arjun: Modernity at Large, 240 Arauz, Pablo, 209 Argentina, 221–223. See also Malvinas (Falkland) Islands Armitage, David: The Ideological Origins of the British Empire, 38 Asia, 23–24, 31–32, 83–84; Asia Minor, 76; Central, 23, 34n3; otherness of, 28; South East, 191 Augé, Marc: Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, 213, 218 Australia, 234, 236; Aboriginal communities, 181, 184, 190, 236; Aborigines, 148–151, 155–157, 160–162, 165n25, 173–174; Borroloola, 175– 176; New South Wales, 150; North-West, 149; South, 172; Sydney, 157–158; Tasmania; 154 authorship, 39, 66, 71, 76, 150, 188, 224n2 autobiography, 4, 16, 57, 68–69, 86, 88–89, 182, 195, 220; biography, 42; ficto-autobiography, 189, 194–195 automobiles, 83, 132, 136, 206, 215, 220, 222

248  Index autoroutes 17, 213, 219, 221–222. See also highways; roads B Baedeker, Karl, 74; “Baedeker” (travel guide), 64. See also travel guides Balfour, Lord Arthur James, 230 Barcelona. See Hughes, Robert: Barcelona Barthes, Roland, 159: The Empire of Signs, 11; Mythologies, 154 Basanier, Martin, 48–49 Bassnett, Susan: Constructing Cultures (with André Lefevere), 108; Translation Studies, 108 Baucom, Ian: Englishness, Empire, and the Location of Identity, 232 Baudelaire, Charles, 135 Beddoe, John: “index of nigrescence”, 232 Beeton, Isabella: Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, 98 Benjamin, Walter: “The Task of the Translator”, 110 Benterrak, Krim, Stephen Muecke and Paddy Roe: Reading the Country, 15–16, 167, 170– 171, 173–175 Berchtold, Count Leopold: Essay to Direct and Extend the Inquiries of Patriotic Travellers, 68 Berger, John: About Looking, 204 Bernal, Martin: Black Athena, 29, 35n17 Berry, Wendall: The Long-Legged House, 142–143 Bhabha, Homi: The Location of Culture, 18, 97, 233 Bible, 34, 39, 40, 50 biography. See autobiography bio-regionalism (US), 139, 142–144 Bishop, Edward. See O’Driscoll, Michael boats, 123, 127–128, 132. See also ships Boler, Megan: “The Risk of Empathy”, 170 Borges, Jorge Luis: “The Analytical Language of John Wilkins”, 5, 18n9 Bradshaw, George, 74. See also Murray III, John; railways, railway guides

Brantlinger, Patrick: Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830–1914, 100 Brennan, Timothy: At Home in the World, 218–221, 225n23 bricolage, 156–157, 159 Britain, 29, 33, 108, 189, 221 British Empire, 13, 38, 90, 95–96, 116 British (English) imperialism, 101–102, 105, 117, 232 British tourists, 221–222 Burma, British annexation of, 102–103 Burton, Antoinette: “The White Woman’s Burden”, 104, 107n36 Burton, Sir Richard, 92 Buzard, James: The Beaten Track, 112 C Cadiz, sack of, 50 Calixtus, Pope, 23, 26 Cambodia, 180, 182, 191–193 Campa, Román de la, “Postmodernism and Revolution”, 216–218 Canada, 13, 42, 44, 47–49, 53–55, 57. See also France, New (La Nouvelle France); Nova Scotia; Quebec Capa, Robert: Death of a Loyalist Soldier (photograph), 203 Cape Town: District Six Museum, 192–193, 195. See also Robben Island capitalism, 18, 84, 163n4, 221. See also mercantilism Carne, John: Recollections of Travel in the East, 116 Cartier, Jacques, 42–49, 56. See also Florio, John cars. See automobiles Casey, Edward S.: on “deplacialization”, 140–141 Cathay, 23–24, 28. See also China Cather, Willa: My Ántonia, 136 Catholicism, 40, 46, 48, 51, 53, 56 Chamorro, Violeta, 208 Champlain, Samuel de, 53–63 Charcot, Jean, 213 Chase County (Kansas), 132–133, 136, 140–144, 146. See also HeatMoon, William Least Chatwin, Bruce: The Songlines, 182 China, 6, 43–44, 138, 145, 195. See also Cathay Christendom, 12, 26–28, 30–31

Index  249 Christian empire, 12, 33 Christianity, 22, 23, 29, 41 Christian king, 23–24, 29 (see also Prester John, legend of) Christian settlers, 22, 24–25, 32, 54–56, 58, 61 Church, William, 74 cinema, 4. See also form: cinematic Clark, Steve: Travel Writing and Empire, 2 Cohen, Josh: How to Read Freud, 223 Colbert, Jean-Baptiste, 81–82 Cook, Captain James, 150–151 colonialism, 11–12, 173, 177–178, 183; British, 96–97, 100; European, 81; French, 84, 91, 92–93n3. See also postcolonialism Columbum (Quilon), 24, 27 Columbus, Christopher, 8, 30 Constantinople, 27 Cortázar, Julio: Nicaraguan Sketches, 216–217, 223–224 Cortázar, Julio and Carol Dunlop: Los autonautas de la cosmopista (Les autonautes de la cosmopiste), 17, 213–214, 216–223, 239–240 cosmopolitanism, 10–11, 218, 220, 225n23 Counter-Reformation, 59 Crusades: First, 194; Second, 23, 27 D Dachau, 182 Dalai Lama, 182 Damar, Dawson: Diary of a tour in Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and the Holy Land, 114 Dampier, William, 152 Dan, 186, 188, 190. See also Nerburn, Kent: Neither Wolf nor Dog Davidson, Robyn, 148, 163, 236 Dawson, Paul: “A Place for the Space Between”, 154, 156–157 decolonization (in Australia), 157, 175, 178 Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari, 3, 160, 166n46 Dentith, Simon: Parody, 220–221 Derrida, Jacques, 126; Archive Fever, 199, 204–205, 208 Desnoes, Edmundo: “The Death System”, 210–211, 239 diaspora, 236, 240

Dieppe (France), 55, 58 Diprose, Rosalyn: Corporeal Responsibility, 178 domesticity, 8–9, 13–14, 65–67, 95–104; domestication, 109– 111, 116,118, 230, 232–235 Doughty, Edward, 50 Dufferin, Lady Hariot: 13, 14, 233; Our Viceregal Life in India, 95, 97, 102 Dunlop, Carol. See Cortázar, Julio and Carol Dunlop E East, the, 6, 29–30, 104, 109, 114–116, 118, 221; Middle East, 80–86, 90. See also Orient Eastlake, Lady, 65–66 Ecuador, 15, 124–126, 128–129. See also Michaux, Henri: Ecuador Edessa (Turkey), 22–23, 25–27 editors, 38–39, 41, 44–45, 50–51, 148, 150; editorial process, 42, 54, 70–71 Egypt, 29, 86, 91, 108–110, 114–115; Egyptian culture, 109, 112, 114, 116–118, 230 Elizabeth I, 8, 38; Elizabethans, 39, 50 empire. See British Empire; Ottoman Empire; Roman Empire empiricism and travel writing, 7, 13, 17n3, 85, 88, 91, 218 encyclopedia, 5–6, 18n9, 74 England, 42–43, 45–47, 101, 116, 159, 232 Englishness, 13, 40, 232 Eritrea, 22, 25, 33 eroticism, 80, 84, 86, 218 Eschenbach. See Wolfram von Eschenbach Espey, David: “Americans in Vietnam”, 185, 224 Ethiopia (Aethiopia), 12, 21–36, 230 ethnography, 4, 54, 56, 60, 126, 160, 217, 235, 240 exile (and exiles), 11, 112, 142, 145, 182, 189, 215 exoticism, 10–11, 80, 83, 85, 91–92, 124–125, 129 expedition, 90, 213, 219, 225n8 exploration, 1, 38, 53–54, 80–81, 85, 103, 182; individual explorers, 151, 154, 213, 217, 234, 236.

250  Index exploration (continued) See also voyages and voyage literature F Falkland Islands. See Malvinas (Falkland) Islands feminism, 77n4, 96, 103–104 Ferney (home of Voltaire), 72–73 fetishism, 29–30 fiction: and genre, 4, 77n4, 157; popular, 96; and travel writing, 65, 213–216, 218, 240; and truth, 5 ficto-criticism, 157, 165n30, 165n34, 165n36 Flaubert, Gustave: Notes de Voyage, 80, 91 Florida: early settlements, 42, 47–49 Florio, John: “Florio Cartier”, 42–45, 51n18. See also Cartier, Jacques form: cinematic, 14, 230; epistolary, 65, 67; literary, 185, 216; photographic, 204; of travel writing, 53, 140, 154, 157, 185, 237–240. See also genre formalism (formal analysis), 2–4, 6, 11, 132, 135, 148 Forsdick, Charles: “Projected Journeys”, 214, 219–221, 223 Foucault, Michel, 2, 4–5, 7, 89, 123, 200, 233 Foxe, John: Acts and Monuments, 41 France, 42, 46, 48, 213, 215, 234; Orientalism in, 81–85, 88, 90; Spinster’s Tour in France, 65; Starke, Mariana, travels in, 68. See also Cortázar, Julio and Carol Dunlop: Los autonautas de la cosmopista; Paris; New France (La Nouvelle France) friars, 22, 24, 27, 53, 55, 57–58. See also missionaries Fuller, Alexandra: Scribbling the Cat, 181, 183, 187, 195 G Galtieri, General Leopoldo, 221, 226n42 Ganges, 28, 30 Gao Xingjiang: Soul Mountain, 182, 194–195 garden, 57; the Garden of Eden, 125

Gardiner, Grace. See Steel, Flora Annie Garnett, Joy: “On the Rights of Molotov Man” 208–209. See also Meiselas, Susan Gauthier, Guy, 232 Geertz, Clifford: “thick description”, 133. See also Lopez, Barry gender. See feminism; masculinity genocide, 168, 182, 184, 191–192 genre, 39, 77, 139, 195, 238; anti-genre, 4, 17, 214, 218, 225n25; and form, 4, 14; literary, 57, 61, 82, 157; genres of travel writing, 53–56, 64, 86, 91–92, 221, 239–240. See also form Gentzler, Edwin: Contemporary Translation Theories, 109 Ghose, Indira: Women Travellers in Colonial India, 96–97 Gisborne, Thomas: Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex, 65 Gissing, George, 241 Glissant, Edouard, 238 globalisation, 3–4, 31, 172, 221, 235, 240 gold, 21, 24–26, 30–33 Goodall, Heather, 151 Gordon, Michael: Reconciliation: A Journey, 182, 184, 190 Gourevitch, Philip: We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, 182, 184–185, 191–192 Graham, Shane, 185, 195 Greenblatt, Stephen, 39 Guattari, Felix. See Deleuze, Gilles guides and guidebooks. See travel guides Gulaga, Mt. Dromedary (New South Wales), 150. See also Muecke, Stephen: “Gulaga Story” Gymnosophists, 28, 30 H Hakluyt, Richard: Principal Navigations, 12–13, 231–232 Hakluyt Society, 29, 38 Hanway, Mary Ann: Journey to the Highlands of Scotland, 65 Hariot, Thomas, 38–39, 49 Healy, Chris, 172, 174–175 Heat-Moon, William Least: Blue Highways, 137; PrairyErth, 15, 237 Henry the Navigator, 29

Index  251 hermeneutics, 123–124 heterotopia, 7, 10, 14, 191. See also utopia highways, 136–137, 239–240. See also autoroutes; roads Hill, Barry: The Rock, 167, 171–172, 174 Holland, Patrick and Graham Huggan: Tourists with Typewriters, 9–11, 172, 218 Holy Land, the, 25, 30, 80, 137 Homer: The Odyssey, 21, 25, 29, 34 Hoyt, Katherine, 201–202 Huggan, Graham: The Post-Colonial Exotic, 155. See also Holland, Patrick Hugh, Bishop (of Jabala), 23 Hughes, Robert: Barcelona, 135 I Iceland, 40 India, 22–31, 34, 112, 233, 236; British rule of, 13, 90, 95–101, 103–104 Iran, 85 Ireland, 106n21, 232; Northern, 105n2, 180 Isabella, Queen, 8, 30 Islam, 27 Italy, 25, 33, 37n26, 90. See also Rome; Turin Ivir, Vladmir: “Procedures and Strategies for the Translation of Culture”, 111–112 Iyer, Pico: Falling off the Map, 218, 221; The Global Soul, 10; Sun after Dark, 182, 191–195 J Japan, 11, 128, 180, 183 Jesuits, 33 Johannesburg, 182, 192–193 Jordan, 109 Jordanus, Friar, 22, 24 Jose, Nicholas: Black Sheep, 167, 170–171, 175–178 journalism, 181–182, 196n10, 218; photojournalism, 183 Justo, 205–206. See also Sandinista Revolution K Kansas, 133, 136, 138, 141–143. See also Chase County

Kapoor, Kapil, 236 Kennedy, Rosanne: “Stolen Generations”, 184–185 Kgalema, Lazarus: “Symbols of Hope”, 192 Kipling, Rudyard: Plain Tales from the Hills, 96, 106n8, 106n; “Song of Women”, 107n35 Korea. See South Korea Kublai Khan, 7, 18n10 Kurtzer, Sonia, 155, 162, 166n50 L Langland, Elizabeth: Nobody’s Angels, 97, 99 language, 87–88, 126, 156, 186, 229, 232–234; indigenous, 56, 60, 142, 156; literary, 4; oriental, 87; sign, 60; spatial, 134; and translation, 110–113, 234 landscape, 16, 83, 136–137, 231, 239; jungle, 124–125, 128; of reconciliation, 190–191 Laudonnière, René de, 47–49, 50n4 law, 28, 47, 57, 59; and lawyers, 53, 55–56, 60, 209 Lefevere, André. See Bassnett, Susan: Constructing Cultures legend, 23–24, 34, 42 Lescarbot, Marc, 13; Histoire de la Nouvelle France, 53–60 Lestringant, Frank: Le Huguenot et le sauvage, 48–49, 50n4 Levant, 27–29; Voyage du Levant (see Thévenot, Jean) Levi, Primo, 184 liberalism, 95, 167, 175, 194 Lincoln, Abraham, 133, 139 Logan, Deborah: “Harem Life, West and East”, 116 London, 48, 135 London Review, The, 68 Lopez, Barry: Arctic Dreams, 132–133 love, 28, 55, 215 Louis XIV, 84 M MacMillan, Margaret: Women of the Raj, 100 madness, 177, 187 Madre de Deus, capture of, 43–45 Mahmoudieh Canal, 114–115 Mahood, Kim: Craft for a Dry Lake, 167–168, 170–171, 175–179

252  Index Malabar Coast, India, 22 Malvinas (Falkland) Islands, 221–222 Malyapur (Mylapor), 22 Mandela, Nelson, 193. Mandeville, John: Mandeville’s Travels, 6, 12, 21, 24–26, 28–31 maps, 132–133, 136–137, 139–140, 154, 193, 213; in guidebooks, 70–71; mapping, 14–15; premodern, 21–22, 26 Marcos, Subcomandante, 218, 225n25. See also Zapatista insurrection Marseille, 27, 213, 220, 224 Martineau, Harriet, 14; Eastern Life, Present and Past, 108–109, 114–115, 119 Martino, Pierre, 81 Martyr, Peter. See Anghiera, Peter Martyr of Marx, Karl, 2, 9 Mary Queen of Scots, 46 Masaya (Nicaragua), 207–208 masculinity, 13–14, 71, 74–76,102, 177 Mayoraga, Sylvio, 202. See also Sandinista Revolution McEwan, Cheryl, 96 Mediterranean, the, 22, 26–27, 90 Meiselas, Susan: Nicaragua, June 1978–July 1979, 200–203, 207–208, 239; Pictures from a Revolution, 200–205, 239 Mendoza, 46; Codex Mendoza, 47, 50 mercantilism, 30, 81–82, 84. See also capitalism Meteren, Emanuel van, 45, 52n20 Michaux, Henri: Ecuador, 14–15, 123–129 Michelangelo: David, 74 Middle East. See East, Middle Mills, Sara, 18; Discourses of Difference, 96–97, 102 Minh Luong Prison (Cambodia), 191 missionaries, 22, 25, 33, 39, 55. See also friars mobility: and place, 21, 126, 128, 132–133, 148–149, 163n4; of travellers, 162; and travel writing, 1–3, 6–10, 14–17. See also motion (and travel) modernity, 6, 151, 220, 230, 236, 240. See also postmodernity Modjeska, Drusilla, 168–169 Mohanty, Chandra, 105 Mongol expansion, 23, 27–28, 30

Montreal, 55 More, Thomas: Utopia, 229 Morley, David: Home Territories: Media, Mobility and Identity, 222 Moskal, Jeanne, 76 motion (and travel), 2, 9, 14–16, 162, 219. See also mobility Motsemme, Nthabiseng: “The Mute Always Speak”, 185–186 Mozambique, 181 Muecke, Stephen: No Road, 157–159, 162, 195; “Gulaga Story”, 151, 157, 161. See also Benterrak, Krim, Stephen Muecke and Paddy Roe: Reading the Country Mulvey, Christopher: Anglo-American Landscapes, 112 Munich, 182 Munt, Ian, 193 Murray III, John, 13, 35, 64, 70, 74–79. See also travel guides Muslim: invasions, 25; Orient, 81; power, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33 museums, 182; and reconciliation, 191–194 mythology, 1, 5, 22, 29, 60, 177, 202 myths, 1, 49, 238; modern, 61, 175, 177; native, 59–60; of “noble savage”, 54–55, 60 N Napoleon, 89 Native Americans. See American Indians Nerburn, Kent: Neither Wolf nor Dog, 181, 186, 188, 190 Nerval, Gerard de: Voyage en Orient, 90–92 New France (La Nouvelle France), 53–63 Nicaragua, 17, 199–212, 216–218, 223–224. See also Meiselas, Susan: Nicaragua, June 1978–July 1979; Cortázar, Julio: Nicaraguan Sketches Nice, 67 Nile, 30, 91 noble savage. See myths, of “noble savage” nomadism, 3, 11, 160–161 North, Marianne, 95 Nova Scotia, 55

Index  253 Nubia, 25, 36n23, 117 Nyarubuye (Rwanda), 191 Nyigina (native Australians), 149, 152. See also Australia (Aboriginal) O Occident, 84, 88 Oderic of Pordenone, 6, 12, 24 O’Driscoll, Michael and Bishop, Edward: “Archiving ‘Archiving’ ”, 199 Oklahoma, 141 Orientalism, 2, 11, 80–81, 84–85, 87–89, 220. See also Said, Edward: Orientalism Orkin, Ruth, 137, 237 otherness, 28, 60–61, 86, 118, 230, 232 Otto of Friesing, 23 Ottoman Empire, 80, 85 Oxford University, 40, 42 P Paris, 45–50, 215–216 Parks, Fanny, 95, 102 Perec, Georges, 135, 146 Persia, 80 Pham, Andrew: Catfish and Mandala, 181, 185–191, 195 Phillips, Caryl: The European Tribe, 11–12, 18 philosophy, 85, 148, 154; philosophers, 85, 110, 140, 154 Phnom Penh, 191 photography, 203–206 pilgrims, 24; pilgrimage, 132, 182, 188, 193–194, 236; pilgrim-tourist, 30 Polo, Marco, 6, 7, 12, 18n10, 22–25, 28, 30–31, 35–36, 53, 213 Pompeii, 70 Portugal, 42, 70 postcolonialism, 4, 10, 162; postcolonial travel writing, 2–4, 9–12, 16–18, 162, 172, 194 postmodernity, 4, 217 postmodernism, 10, 165n36, 226n38; postmodern ethnography, 160; postmodern geography, 3; postmodern tourism, 193; postmodern travel writing, 155, 217–218 poststructuralism, 3–4, 11, 160 Prager, Brad, 189

Pratt, Mary Louise, 108, 11; Imperial Eyes, 2, 85 Prester John (legend of), 12, 21–23, 25–29, 31–34 primitivism, 60 Prutky, Remedius: Prutky’s Travels in Ethiopia and Other Countries, 31, 33 Purchas, Samuel, 40, 45, 50, 54 Q Quebec, 55–56 Quinn, David, 38 Quito, 124–125 R Raban, Jonathan: Passage to Juneau, 132, 145 railways: railway guides, 74–75 (see also travel guides); railway stations, 190; railway workers, 137; railway yards, 158 Ralegh (Raleigh), Sir Walter, 8, 38, 44, 48–50 Ramusio, Giambattista, 43–44, 54 Rank, Jody: “Beyond Reconciliation”, 194 Red Sea, 25 refugees, 181, 186, 189 religion, 7, 8, 40, 86; and colonialist expansion, 39, 57; Eastern, 109; Egyptian, 109, native (Huron), 59–61; natural, 59; Wars of Religion, 53 Rhodesia. See Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) roads, 70, 136–137, 143, 164, 191. See also autoroutes (highways) Robb, Peter: Midnight in Sicily, 132, 145 Robben Island (off Capetown), 182, 193–194 Rodriges of Lima, Dom, 32 Roe, Paddy. See Benterrak, Krim, Stephen Muecke and Paddy Roe: Reading the Country Roman Empire, 28 romantic travel, 90–91 romanticisation, 160, 237 Rome, 23, 26, 64, 67, 78 Roseman, Barry, 74–75 Rossiter, Penny, 186–187 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 60 Rwanda, 182–185, 191–194

254  Index Ryan, Lyndall: “Reading Aboriginal Histories”, 152, 154 S Sacasa, President Juan (of Nicaragua), 201–202 Sagard, Gabriel, 13, 53–55; Le Grand Voyage du pays des Hurons, 53–60 Said, Edward: Orientalism, 2, 88–89, 95. See also Orientalism Sanders, Valerie: Harriet Martineau, Selected Letters, 113 Sandino, Augusto César, 201–202; Sandinista Revolution, 200–203, 205–208 satellite culture, 9 savage, the, 12–13, 53–54, 59–60. See also myths, of “noble savage” Savary, Claude Etienne: Les lettres sur l’Egypte, 80, 85–91 Schaap, Andrew: “Assuming Responsibility in the Hope of Reconciliation”, 187 Schlesinger, Philip: “W. G. Sebald and the Condition of Exile”, 196 Scotland, 232; Journey to the Highlands of Scotland, 65 Sebald, W. G.: Austerlitz, 16,185, 189–190, 192, 195 Segalen, Victor, 125–126 Sekula, Allan: Photography Against the Grain, 202, 204, 211 semiotics, 11, 123; of empathy, 167, 170–171, 175 Shaw, Bernard: Pygmalion, 101 ships, 39, 43, 47, 50, 55, 58. See also boats Sinclair, Iain: Lights Out for the Territory, 135, 226n30 slavery, 114; and women, 109, 115; sexual, 116–117 Somalia, 22 Somoza García, Anastasio, 201–202; Somoza family, 210; Somoza regime, 201–202, 206, 225n13 South Korea, 144 Spurr, David: The Rhetoric of Empire, 240 Stafford, Sir Edward, 45–47, 52n23 Standish, Peter, 214 Starke, Mariana, 13; 64–79, 233; Letters from Italy, 66–79;

Steel, Flora Annie and Grace Gardiner: The Complete Indian Housekeeper and Cook, 98 Sterne, Laurence, 67, 145 Strutt, Elizabeth: Spinster’s Tour in France, 65 subjectivity: and colonialism, 96; in travel writing, 65, 184, 238, 240 Sudan, 22; Southern, 186 Sugnet, Charles: Vile Bodies, Vile Places, 10 superiority, 112; and colonialism, 97, 99, 101, 112; moral, 160, 177 Suriano, Francisco: Iter, 21, 31, 33, 36n23 Syria, 32, 80, 86, 109 T Tacitus, 54 Tadoussac (Canada), 55, 57 Tanami Desert (Australia), 168, 175– 177. See also Mahood, Kim Tavernier, Jean-Baptiste: Les six Voyages en Turquie et en Perse, 80, 83; La Nouvelle Relation du Serrail, 84 Thatcher, Margaret, 222 Theroux, Paul: The Old Patagonian Express, 132, 145 Thévenot, Jean: Voyage du Levant, 80, 82–83, 231 Thevet, André, 47–52 Thomas, Saint, 32; Acts of Saint Thomas, 22, 27, 30, “Doubting Thomas”, 22–23, 26; shrine of, 23, 30 Thoreau, Henry David: Walden, Or Life in the Woods, 15, 134– 135; “Walking”, 135–137 Tjamiwa, Tony, 171–172 Torres Strait Islands, 164n14, 167, 182 tourism: in Australia, 148, 158, 172; tourism industry, 75, 79n28, 172; in the Middle East, 90–91; modern, 81; opposed to slow travel, 137; political, 199, 205–206, 214, 218; and reconciliation travel, 182, 193 trains, 74, 129, 132. See also railways transcendence, 15 travel guides, 13, 70, 98, 134, 182; and typography, 67–68, 71, 74, 78; Lonely Planet Guides, 182,

Index  255 191. See also railways, railway guides Tuol Sleng: “Museum of Genocidal Crime” (Cambodia), 191–192 Turin, 67 Turkey, 22, 24, 28, 80, 144 U Uebel, Michael: “Imperial Fetishism”, 29–30 United States of America, 115, 141; US “guilt”, 189; US involvement in Central America, 201, 206–208, 212n6, 212n20; US painters, 208; US photographers, 200, 203; US soldiers and veterans, 185, 188, 192, 201. See also America, North; Chase County; Florida; Kansas Urry, John: The Tourist Gaze, 204 utopia, 7, 14, 29, 229–230, 239–240. See also, heterotopia V Venice, 11, 66, 135, 145 Venuti, Lawrence: The Translator’s Invisibility, 113 Victoria, Queen, 98, 104, 106n15; Victorian women and domesticity, 14, 95–100, 116

Voltaire, See Ferney Volney, Constantin-François de: Voyage en Syrie et en Egypte, 80, 85–91 voyages and voyage literature, 40–45, 47–50, 56–57, 80, 82–86, 90–91 W Walden. See Thoreau, Henry David Walsingham, Sir Francis, 45, 47 White, Gilbert, 133, 135 White, Richard: “Travel Writing and Australia”, 153, 163n4; Inventing Australia, 159, 161–162 Whitlock, Gillian, 167–170 Wilde, Oscar: “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”, 34 William II, King, 152 Wolfram von Eschenbach: Parzival, 25, 29, 31 Wounded Knee, Massacre of, 192 Wright, Louis, B: Religion and Empire, 39, 50n4 Z Zapatista insurrection, 200, 218. See also Marcos, Subcomandante Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), 181, 183, 187, 238