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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: English Short Name: ELI3013
Level: HE3 Module Co-ordinator: MAHN CK Dr (English)
Number of credits: 20 Number of ECTS credits: 10
Module Availability
Semester 1
Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment


Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)


Extended Essay Plan




Extended Essay (4000 words)




Module Overview
Beginning with the Virginia Woolf’s experience as a tourist in , and ending with Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, the module follows the journeys and expeditions of writers through a variety of locations, as they explore what it means to travel across landscape, genres, politics and identity.  From the ‘darkness’ of Africa, and the ‘exoticism’ of India, to the road narratives of America, the module will follow writers into a series of geographical and cultural interiors to chart some of the ways in which travel has been used to understand the challenge of representation.   
Module Aims
  • The module aims to develop knowledge in:


  • The use of travel as a literary metaphor


  • The issues involved in writing about other cultures/places


  • The treatment of travel vs tourism in a selection of fiction, and non-fiction texts



The module aims to develop skills in:


  • Communication skills(through seminar participation and essay writing)


  • Discursive skills (through essay writing)


  • Analytical skills (close analysis of a selection of texts in class and in essay)
Learning Outcomes

Module outcomes:


  • Develop a critical appreciation of the use of ‘travel’ in twentieth-century literature


  • Develop the ability to discuss a selection of texts in the context of travel writing


  • Develop a familiarity with related critical terms, such as hybridity, creolization, and ethnography


  • Apply critical knowledge when discussing texts in seminar


  • Analyse two to three texts in the context of the module themes in an essay
Module Content

Section 1: Travel and Tourism


Week 1: Virginia Woolf, A Passionate Apprentice: The Early Journals, 1897-1909


When Virginia Woolf arrived in Athens, she felt like she had already seen the sites of .  Her experience of as a tourist, but her desire to a traveller, is an introduction to some of the key themes and concerns of the module.  Her paradoxical reluctance to use a guidebook, but her entire reliance on it, offers an inroad into describing the key concern for travel writing in the 20th century: has everything already been seen and described?  Is the age of travel dead?



Section 2: Africa


Week 2: Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness (1899)


As one of the seminal texts about Africa in Anglophone literature, the journey into the heart of ‘darkness’ described a journey into the irrational and savage expanses of the European Colonial imagination, through Kurtz, as well as the landscape of Congo.  A journey into the interior of is paralleled in a psychological journey that reveals a deep-seated and controversial conflict.



Week 3: Graham Greene, Journeys Without Maps (1936)


Travelling to , which was simply marked with a white space labelled ‘Cannibals’ on his map,


Graham Greene’s non-fiction account of his travels is another exploration of Africa ’s ‘interior’.  Relying on local information and guides, Greene’s account covers a broad spectrum of descriptions of , a nation created for free slaves which had little outside contact.  Learning to travel without a map, was forced to draw a new kind of topography for his understanding of Africa .



Section 3:


Week 4: EM Forster, A Passage to (1924)


Written during the rise of the independence movement in , this novels charts the complex ways in which Indian and British culture colluded, collided, and came together.  Following a series of relationships and journeys, Forster looks at the way people fail to communicate with each other, and the landscape of , with the central dramatic incident taking place during a tourist trip to see some ancient caves.  Forster examines the fears, prejudices and types of understanding that emerge in the contact between and in the early 20th century.



Week 5: Amitav Ghosh, In An Antique Land (1992)


Written while living in , Ghosh mixes research, folk stories, and his experiences of everyday life to chart a special kind of relationship between and , looking at the kinds of stories and cultures that have been transmitted between the two nations.  By trying to rework ethnographical practices, and interrogate its work, Ghosh explores the prejudices and politics that connect the two disparate places, through space, and time. 



Section 4: The Caribbean


Week 6: Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)


A retelling/translation/transmission of Bronte’s Jayne Eyre, Rhys explores how stories travel and what happens to them in new surroundings.  Telling the story of Bertha before her arrival in , Wide Sargasso Sea explores the politics of travel through creolization.  Narratives of miscegenation, corruption and madness come together to update earlier discussions of how travel and contact between cultures can be as productive, as it is destructive. 



Section 5:


Week 7: William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (1930)


A novel centred around a family journey to bury a wife, and mother, this novel uses stream of consciousness to explore this experience of travel through the various perspectives.  Their literal journey provides the architecture for another journey, where the characters explore their relationship to the world around them, and their existence.  With the journey to bury the family matriarch as the only things holding them together, the novel introduces the way travel has been used in philosophical literature. 



Week 8: Jack Kerouac, On The Road (1957)


A seminal work of travel writing, and a seminal book about , On The Road covers the expansive geography of in an attempt to make sense of experience, and capture a series of elusive essences.  However, in the course of various journeys, an ambivalent and difficult narrative about the American experience emerges, a journey that is impossible to complete is relentless in its challenges.  On The Road does, however, capture a post-war generation’s attempt to define its own topography. 




Section 6: The Roads to Modernity


Week 9: David Mitchell, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet (2010)


This novel describes moments of contact between two distant cultures, who are brought together to trade stories and commodities.  Using a postmodern lens to discuss how travel can be used as instrument of modernity, and can also be used to critique some of the operations of modernity, this session will bring together some of the key themes discussed on the course. 



Section 7: The End of the Road


Week 10: Cormac McCarthy, The Road (2006)


A journey set in a post-apocalyptic world, The Road follows a journey where humanity and landscape are presented at their most extreme and ravished.  The questions about travel, landscape, and identity, throughout the module will be brought out in a discussion about where travel can lead us next, and how it can help us to foster new kinds of understanding with the landscapes that we live in, especially in the context of ecocriticism. 



Week 11: Essay Preparation


Seminars will be replaced with individual sessions with course tutor to discuss the essay. 



Christmas Vacation



Week 12: Assessment Period



Week 13: Assessment Period



Week 14: Assessment Period



Week 15: Preparation and Reading for Semester 2



Assessment Deadline:


Essay: 12pm Wednesday 26th January 2011
Methods of Teaching/Learning
Weekly seminar
Selected Texts/Journals

Essential Reading


Conrad, Joseph (2008), Heart of Darkness.  Oxford : OUP. 


Ghosh, Amitav (1992), In An Antique Land .  London : Granta.


Greene, Graham (2006), Journeys Without Maps.  London : Vintage.


Faulkner, William (1996), As I Lay Dying.  London : Vintage.  


Forster, E.M. (2005), A Passage to .  London : Penguin. 


Kerouac, Jack (2007), On the Road.  London : Penguin.


McCarthy, Cormac (2007), The Road.  London : Picador.


Mitchell, David (2010), The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet.  London : Sceptre. 


Rhys, Jean (2000), Wide Sargasso Sea .  London : Penguin.


Woolf, Virginia (1990), A Passionate Apprentice: The Early Journals 1897-1909. London : Hogarth.



Recommended Secondary Reading


Abram, Simon, Jacqueline D. Waldren, and Donald V.L. Macleod (1997), Tourists and Tourism:


Identifying with People and Places.  Oxford : Berg.


Asad, Talal, ed., (1973), Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter. London: Ithaca Press.


Bayley, (1996), Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in , 1780-1870.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Behdad, Ali (1994), Belated Travelers: Orientalism in the Age of Colonial Dissolution.  Durham : Duke University Press.


Bhabha, Homi K. (1994), The Location of Culture.  London : Routledge.


Brantlinger, Patrick (1988), Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830-1914.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 


Buzard, James (1993), The Beaten Track: European Tourism, Literature, and the Ways to ‘Culture,’ 1800-1918.  Oxford : Clarendon Press.


Chambers, Iain (1994), Migrancy, Culture, Identity.  London : Routledge.


Clark, Steve, ed. (1999), Travel Writing and Empire: Postcolonial Theory in Transit.  London : Zed Books. 


Clifford, James (1997) Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998.


Clifford, James and George Marcus eds. (1986), Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography.  Berkeley: University of California Press.


Curtin, Philip, D. (2000), The Image of Africa .  British Ideas and Actions, 1780-1850.  London : Macmillan.


De Certaeu, Michel (1986), Heterologies: Discourse on the Other.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.


Duncan, James, and Derek Gregory, eds. (1999), Writes of Passage: Reading Travel Writing.  London : Routledge.


Elsner, Jas, and Joan-Pau Pubies, eds., Voyages and Visions: Towards a Cultural History of Travel.  Reaktion Books, 1999.


Fabian, Johannes (2000), Out of Our minds: Reason and Madness in the Exploration of Central Africa .  Berkeley: University of California Press.  


Feifer, Maxine (1985), Tourism in History: From Imperial Rom to the Present.  New York : Stein and Day.


Glage, Liselotte, ed. (2000), Being/s in Transit: Travelling, Migration, Dislocation.  Amsterdam : Rodopi.


Kaplan, Caren (1996), Questions of Travel: Postmodern Discourses of Displacement.  Durham : Duke University Press.


Korte, Barbara (2000), English Travel Writing: From Pilgrimage to Postcolonial Exploration.  Basingstoke : Palgrave, 2000. 


Lackey, Kris (1997), Road Frames: The

American Highway
Narrative.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.


Low, Gail (1996), White Skins/Black Masks: Representation and Colonialism.  London : Routledge.


MacCannell, Dean (1976), The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class.  New York : Shockden Books. 


McLynn, Frank (1992), Hearts of Darkness: The European Exploration of Africa .  London : Hutchison. 


Ousby, Ian (1990), The Englishman’s : Taste, Travel and the Rise of Tourism.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Porter, Dennis (1991), Haunted Journeys: Desire and Transgression in European Travel Writing.  Princeton: Princeton University Press.


Pratt, Marie Louise (1992), Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation.  London : Routledge.


Rojek, Chris and John Urry, eds., Touring Cultures: Transformations of Travel and Theory.  London : Routledge.


Russell, Alison (2000), Crossing Boundaries: Postmodern Travel Literature.  London : Palgrave.
Said, Edward (1978), Orientalism.  New York : Pantheon Books.


Sharpe, Jenny (1993), Allegories of Empire: The Figure of Woman in the Colonial Text.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.


Shivelbusch, Wolfgang (1986), The Railway Journey: The Industiralization of Tome and Space in the Nineteenth Century.  Berkeley: University of California Press.


Singh, Jyotsna G. (1996), Colonial Narratives/Cultural Dialogues: ‘Discoveries’ of in the Language of Colonialism.  London : Routledge. 


Spurr, David (1993), The Rhetoric of Empire: Colonial Discourse in Journalism, Travel Writing, and Imperial Administration.  Durham : Duke University Press. 


Urry, John (1990), The Tourist Gaze: Leisure and Travel in Contemporary Societies.  London : Sage.


White, Hayden (1984), Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.


Withey, Lynn (1997), Grand Tours and Cook’s Tours : A History of Leisure Travel, 1750 to 1915.  New York : William Morrow and Company.
Last Updated
5 July 2010 JG