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The unavoidable "snare of narrative": (1) fiction and creativity in hodoeporics.

A Genre With "A Thousand Forms and Formulas"
 Il faudrait etre bien confit en estheticisme pour rejeter hors de
 l'histoire litteraire digne de ce nom l'immense litterature des
 voyages, si indissociable soit-elle de la geographie et de
 l'ethnographie, si encombree soit-elle de ternes publicistes ou de
 globe-trotters qui s'improvisent ecrivains. (2)


When, forty years ago, Marcel Bataillon urged authors of manuals of literary history to bear in mind the large corpus of travel literature, he admitted that hodoeporics (3) often appeared too uncomfortably encroaching upon other areas to be considered a subject of literature on its own merit. It looked too entangled to be assessed independently and interfered with other literary genres that begged to be classified and appraised by their specific characteristics. All forms of narrative have been postulated as involving, to a certain extent, a spatial and chronological displacement, yet the amorphous material that constitutes travel narrative deserves a definition and classification that would improve on the present, rather blurry one. (4) As positive as it may look at first glance, Louis Marin's definition of travel narrative remains vague in his attempt to find a common denominator of the various forms of this narrative:
 un type de recit ou l'histoire bascule dans la geographie, ou la
 ligne successive qui est la trame formelle du recit ne relie point,
 les uns aux autres, des evenements, des accidents, des auteurs
 narratifs, mais des lieux dont le parcours et la traversee
 constituent la narration elle-meme; recit, plus precisement, dont
 les evenements sont des lieux qui n'apparaissent dans le discours
 du narrateur que parce qu'ils sont les etapes d'un itineraire. Sans
 doute ces etapes peuvent-elles etre marquees pas des incidents, des
 accidents et des rencontres, c'est-a-dire par l'autre espece
 d'evenements qui constituent le materiau du recit historique. (5)
 (quoted in Pasquali 94)


In his seminal work on travel literature and the novel, Percy G. Adams found the taxonomic problem of travel narrative quite hard to solve. Far from offering a clear definition of this genre, Adam's conclusions were only a series of litotes attempting to shed some light on this murky area:
 The recit de voyage is not just a first-person journal. [...] It is
 not just prose. [...] It is not necessarily a story with a simple,
 uncontrived plot. [...] It is not just a set of notes jotted down
 each day or whenever the traveler has time. [...] It is not just an
 objective report. [...] [It] is not a branch of history any more
 than it is of geography. [...] [It] is, of course, not just an
 exploration report. [...] It is not a complete record of a journey.
 [...] It is not "subliterature." (Adams 1983, 280-281)


These restrictive expressions are not mutually exclusive nor are they to be taken as absolute statements, but they can hardly be considered definitions. Yet, some of Adams's conclusions could be useful as starting points for a discussion. There is no prescribed form for hodoeporics, for the travel writer "has a thousand forms and formulas from which to choose when writing the account of a trip, whether he intends to publish his account or not" (Adams 1983, IX). In order to attempt a taxonomy of this enormous wealth of material, we must look at the contents. An analysis of some exemplary models of travel narrative should help us define what critics consider "un genere letterario instabile" (De Caprio 9), an omnivorous genre whose internal dynamics involve "interazioni e interrelazioni fra testi e modelli, fra testi e fruitori, fra testi e riscritture" (Mancini 108), a "genre mal defini" (Wolfzettel 5) with "un statut epistemologique incertain" (Bertrand 10). An ambiguous genre, constantly evolving towards absorbing the production of other literary areas, as it has been recently argued, its disparate elements do not preclude an internal cohesion, "s'apparentant tantot au collage, tantot a la liste, tantot au recueil de fragments; [...] croisant les valeurs de l'utile et de l'agreable, celles du vrai, du vraisemblable, de l'imaginaire" (Mondada 219-220). Describing the world is a complex endeavor, but common sense should at least help us make intuitive distinctions between real and fictional writing.

To paraphrase Jean-Francois Lyotard's La Condition postmoderne (1979), a text may not amount to much, but it exists in a fabric of relations gradually acquiring more complex characteristics. My aim is to observe a series of literary instances located at nodal points in literary history. As parts of an evolutionary continuum, they have offered subsequent readers/writers new sets of senders and referents, underscoring new expressive parameters. It will appear that their common denominator, a recit of real geographic displacements, has never been totally unaffected by the subtle lure of fiction.

Herodotus's opsis: Eyewitnessing the Journey
 [He] measures the inhabited portion of the earth. (Strabo,
 Geography 2.5.4)


The classical canon of travel literature may include sagas, historical reports, and works of geography proper. Before automatically accepting all this material into what we call hodoeporics today, we must establish an objective method of classification to sort out the immense variety of subgenres. We must exclude epic poems, with their spotty chronology and a low gradient of geography, unverifiable journeys woven into a substructure of myths and legends. We must let go such classics as the Odyssey, the Aeneid, and most national epics, for they do not reflect real journeys, and expunge from our canon such works as Lucian of Samosata's incongruous True Story, Astolfo's journey in Ariosto's Orlando furioso, Swift's Gulliver's Travels, or Cyrano de Bergerac's L'autre monde.

Herodotus's History of the Persian Wars (5th century B.C.) was probably conceived as a geographical work like the Periegesis of Hecataeus of Miletus. The references in his History to the numerous journeys Herodotus undertook beyond the Mediterranean area and Pontus into Mesopotamia, probably even to Scythia, make it, more than a book of history, the first text of travel narrative in the western world. Although, as an historian, Herodotus had little insight into the real causes of the momentous political changes he witnessed, he followed a clear method of inquiry, recording hearsay (akoe) as a basis of information, but definitely favoring eyewitnessing (opsis). His opsis, the observation of the world, confronting reality with the voice of his informers, became the standard for travel writing.

The value of firsthand accounting was explicitly stated seventeen centuries later in Marco Polo's and Filippo Sassetti's narratives and remains a fundamental element in our discussion.

Strabo, a 1st-century B.C. geographer who, apparently, did not travel much, defined the ideal travel writer as "he who measures" the world (Geography 2.5.4). Despising travel liars who accepted any stories uncritically ("Everyone likes to boast about his voyages," 1.2.23), his "measuring" the world meant that the writer touched the world he saw. The consensus between Greek writers and medieval Italian merchants could not be more striking, as Sassetti wrote centuries later "vedere e toccare e scrivere" (infra 13).

At the beginning of our era, geography was already a complex science involving mathematics and cartography. Aware of cartographic details unknown to Strabo and other new information, Pomponius Mela's De situ orbis (1st century A.D.) even mentioned the antichtones, inhabitants of the temperate zone south of the Equator thought to be unreachable to the people of the northern hemisphere. Eventually, with Pausanias's Description of Greece (2nd century A.D.) personal narrative evolved toward a sort of modern travel journal, with glimpses into the daily life of the Greeks, their folklore, legends, and local history. The traveler had already begun writing about his personal experience and opsis was firmly established as a sine qua non of travel writing.

Horace: Personal Hodoeporics and Poetry

Brundisium longae finis chartaeque viaeque est.

It has been stated that the Roman pragmatic spirit preferred geography to travel. (6) Nothing is farther from the truth. Even in the ancient world large assemblies of Greek pilgrims gathered at the shrines (the periegesis in Delos mentioned by Thucydides 3, 105) and people of all social strata participated in religious tours (periodoi) and Panhellenic festivals in Olympia, Delphi, Nemea, and Corinth. For the comfort of long-distance travelers, Cyrus had organized a service of relays joining Lydia and Phrygia, through Cappadocia, Cilicia and Armenia (Herodotus 5, 52), and Imperial Rome saw a great increase in the number of travelers thanks to an efficient network of roads (Andre-Baslez 23, 33, 119-246). (7) A search for a common denominator of travel narrative in Latin literature would undoubtedly have to begin with Horace's "Iter Brundisium" (Sat. 1, 5), which is one of the earliest first-person narratives (commentarium) of an actual journey recorded by a real traveler.

The journal of the journey of Maecenas, who was sent by Octavian from Rome to Brundisium in 38 BC in order to settle a political issue with Mark Antony, the "Iter Brundisium" has all the qualities of a modern travel narrative. The author mentions by name the friends with whom he is traveling, the toponyms of his itinerary (Roma, Aricia, Appii Forum, Anxur, Fundi, Sinuessa, Capua, Beneventum, Trivicum, Rubi, Gnatia, and Brundisium), (8) offers a precise chronology of daily events ("dum aes exigitur, dum mula ligatur, / tota abit hora," 13-14), a physical description of the area south of Rome ("incipit [...] montis Apulia notos / ostentare," 77-78), geographic peculiarities of villages and towns ("venit vilissima rerum / hic aqua, sed panis longe pulcherrimus" 88-89), a description of ill-equipped inns ("hospitio modico," 2; "villula tectum / praebuit," 45-46, "lachrimoso non sine fumo," 80) infested by bothersome insects and cacophonous frogs ("mali culices ranaeque palustres," 14), fights among drunk country bumpkins (11-13), and even the description of a local fatuous ("insanus") dandy whom Horace is happy to leave behind (34-36). Horace records exact distances between cities ("milia [...] tria repimus," 25; "quattuor [...] viginti ... milia," 86) and episodes of travelers' fatigue ("lassi,"37; "crudi," 49) and illness, including a case of an ante litteram "Montezuma's revenge" ("hic propter aquam, quod erat deterrima, ventri / indico bellum," 7-8). He also notes other friends encountered along the way ("Plotius et Varius [...] Vergiliusque," 40) and records local history ("locus a forti Diomede est conditus," 92). A mock-heroic invocation of the Muse (51-53) before the description of a verbal contest ("pugna") between two buffoons and the attempt to set up a one-night stand with a local girl, alas too shy ("hic ego mendacem stultissimus usque puellam / ad mediam noctem expecto," 82-83), give a facetious tone to this hodoeporicon, showing Horace's definite intention to include entertainment in his a realistic portrait of rural scenes. Finally, as a surprisingly postmodern conclusion, the very last line of this narrative identifies the written text (charta) with the journey (via): "Brundisium longae finis chartaeque viaeque est." It is a fascinating parallel with some very recent readings of the travel adventure as writing. "Voyager d'une certaine facon, c'est ecrire, [...] et ecrire c'est voyager," wrote Michel Butor, (9) linking his exploration of writing with traveling tout court. The white page offers the writer an infinite variety of paths, as the sea offers routes to sailors. The chosen path, the one recorded on paper, is what the reader will peruse; reading, traveling, and writing will begin and end at the beginning and end (finis) of the written text (charta). What more does one need to concede an unbroken literary connection between the Roman hodoeporicon and the postmodern analysis of travel narrative?

Early commentators asserted that Horace's "Iter" was inspired by a lost poem by Gaius Lucilius (ca. 180-103 B.C.) whose success had prompted Julius Caesar to write the journal of his Spanish expedition. If, as it seems, Horace cannibalized Lucilius's poetic narrative of a journey from Rome to Capua and Sicily, he may be the forerunner of another topos, the ubiquitous plagiarizing (10) that pervades most of early modern travel narrative. After the "Iter Brundisium"--and the texts we are about to analyze--one cannot claim without qualification that "travel is very much a modern concept, signifying both commercial and leisure movement in an era of expanding Western capitalism." (11) It should not be a sin of lese critique for twenty-first-century scholars to acknowledge that Horace's hodoeporic model represents a tradition that has constantly remained in the forefront of travel narrative. Classical models, albeit forgotten by some contemporary critics, still represent a valuable source to be investigated, and textual analysis could often be more useful than a theoretical inquiry based on a jargon-driven reflection brought forth by a political parti pris or the construction of artificial critical categories. Furthermore, other Latin texts (Ausonius's Mosella and Namatianus's De reditu suo are the best known examples) show a continuum between Horace and the 4th- and 5th-century travel narrative, which maintained an enormous success through Renaissance neo-Latin poetry, particularly in the German area. (12) Petrus Lotichius Secundus and Hieronymus Balbus wrote about their journeys, followed by many writers, such as the welltraveled Dutch poet Nathan Chytraeus, and Jacques Sirmond, a Jesuit scholar who penned a poetic hodoeporicum of his dramatic journey from a besieged Paris to Rome in 1590. (13) Personal accounts of true events, their travel narratives cleared the path to the modern recit de voyage.

Early Modern Merchants: "vedere e toccare e scrivere"
 Fiato [I peruse] qualche libretto delle novita d'India, del Verzino
 [Brazil] e della China, e mentre che io le leggo, fo mille
 castellucci [small projects] d'andarle la a vedere e toccare e
 scrivere" (Sassetti, 240).


If we are to sift travel narrative texts according to the description of journeys really undertaken, we must disregard the medieval romans, as their heroes' questes are geographically questionable. The texts of merchants and missionaries who address the reality of foreign lands and the alterity of the people they encounter are important for our consideration.

Marco Polo's Il Milione, a narrative that has been subject, periodically, to revisionist criticism, still remains, in part, plausible and even verifiable. If Polo's informers were not always as reliable as modern critics would like them to be, the author clearly stated his intention to be "truthful and without lies" and distinguish between personal experience and hearsay:
 Signori imperadori, re e duci, [...] vi contera il libro
 ordinatamente siccome Marco Polo [...] le conta in questo libro e
 egli medesimamente vide. Ma ancora v'ha di quelle con le quali elli
 non vide, ma udille da persone degne di fede, e pero cose vedute
 dira di veduta e l'altre per udita, accio che 'l nostro libro sia
 veritieri e sanza niuna menzogna. (103)


Aware of the impossibility to verify information about dangerous and far-away areas, Polo attempted to examine the trustworthiness of his informers ("persone degne di fede"). His uniqueness was at stake, for nobody in human history had seen so many "maravigliose cose del mondo [...] poi che Iddio fece Adam insino al di d'oggi" (104). In his text we find numerous syntagms for the "marvelous" and "incredible" realities he witnessed: "maraviglia a vedere," "cose cosi mirabili," "maraviglia a credere," "maraviglia a udire," "a pena si poterebbe credere," etc. (14)

Similar syntagms, blended with superlatives and expressions of utter surprise, appeared frequently in Columbus's Diario de a bordo, especially in the early days of his exploration of the Bahamas and Cuba (October 16-November 6): "dice el Almirante que nunca tan hermosa cosa vido," "un muy maravilloso puerto," "aquel puerto es de los mejores del mundo," "son los peces tan disformes de los nuestros que es maravilla," "no hay hombre que no se maraville," "la cosa mas hermosa de ver," "ni me se cansar los ojos de ver tan hermosas verduras," "un singularisimo puerto muy hondo y limpio de pedras, muy buena playa para poner navios a monte," "no curo asi de ver tanto por lo menudo, porque no lo podria hacer en cincuenta anos" (Diario 98-116, passim). At times, the reader could notice the influence of Mandeville's incredible stories on Columbus's maravilla, but the Admiral made clear that such reports were just hearsay that he needed to investigate further: "Entendio tambien que lejos de alli habia hombres de un ojo y otros con hocicos de perros que comian los hombres, y que en tomando uno lo degollaban y le bebian la sangre y le cortaban su natura" (116). Writing for his king and accompanied by many witnesses who could contradict his report, Columbus's distinction between seeing and hearing was unequivocal.

"Vedere," "udire," and "credere," among the most basic activities of travelers, becamefor Filippo Sassetti, a 16th-century Florentine merchant and humanist who traveled to Asia, "vedere e toccare e scrivere," emphasizing the traveler's needs to communicate his experience. As a merchant, Sassetti was tied to objective observations, for he bought and sold real merchandise to authentic customers for a concrete profit. An individual deeply anchored in an objective vision of a world, Sassetti owed his readers the truth, for they were individuals who risked serious investments.

"(De)scrivere" ("describing" and "writing") means grasping extraneous (foreign) and even strange (hard to understand) (15) realities, capturing them in words that convey their essence and shape for a readership that could visualize them only through analogies and periphrases (Gannier 69-77; see also Michel Foucault's analysis in Les Mots et les choses. Paris: Gallimard, 1966). From the sixteenth century to the age of scientific explorations, hodoeporic writings offer numerous examples of travelers struggling to describe aromas, textures, and taste of newly-discovered fruits, and trees "muy diferentes de los nuestros [...] que es la mayor maravilla del mundo cuanta es la diversidad de la una manera a la otra" (Columbus 99).

Venice was the fertile terrain where experienced individuals who had "measured" the immensity of the world shared their knowledge of lands and peoples; and a the tradition of mercantile writing blossomed. Josafa Barbaro proudly stated, as a corollary, that without the narratives of his fellow Venetian merchants a great portion of the world would have remained terra incognita ("saria incognita, se la mercanzia e marinarezza, per quanto e stato il potere de' Veneziani, non l'avesse aperta," Barbaro 485). A wealth of knowledge accumulated by sailing Venetians and distilled in portolani and notebooks was available to Barbaro. But even in these mercantile tools the value of true information (utile) imparted to the reader was not without a certain amount of amusing digressions (dulce). Ambrogio Contarini penned his Viaggio di Persia (1473) to entertain his family ("il dar notizia d'un tanto e si lungo viaggio possa esser dilettevole e utile a' nostri discendenti," Preface), and Nicolo di Conti inserted pleasant details to amuse his readers ("quivi trovo una usanza piacevole, della quale sol per far ridere non volse restar di dire quanto vidde e intese"). The merchant was gradually turning into a litterateur, seeking out the marvelous to maintain his readers' interest. Just like exempla in medieval sermons, Josafa Barbaro's hard-to-believe stories ("cose che paiono incredibili") crept into his travel narrative:
 Essendo al presente astretto da preghiere di chi mi puo comandare,
 e avendo inteso che molto piu cose di queste, che paiono
 incredibili, si truovano scritte in Plinio, in Solino, in Pomponio
 Mella, in Strabone, in Erodoto, e in altri moderni, com'e Marco
 Polo, Nicolo Conte, nostri veneziani, e in altri novissimi, com'e
 Pietro Quirini, Alvise da Mosto e Ambrosio Contarini, non ho potuto
 far di meno che ancora io non scriva quello che ho veduto. (Barbaro
 485-486)


A new generation of merchants began to be excited by pure discovery. About to embark on his return voyage from India, Sassetti acknowledged his intellectual openness to new experiences, in the spirit of Dante's Ulysses:
 nel ritorno vorrei concedere al senso la sperienza di quello che ci
 e di rimanente: pero che partirsi di qui senza vedere Malacca,
 Molucco e la Cina, mi parrebbe che fusse d'una cena molto splendida
 non gustarne se non el pane che si mangia comunemente ogni giorno.
 (Sassetti 532: letter of February 10, 1586 from Cochin, near
 Madras)


Ulysses's "orazion picciola" to his fellow seamen (Inferno 26:113-120) highlighted Sassetti's identification of his journey with the Greek hero's mythical voyage. Looking ahead to great discoveries of what was beyond ("il rimanente"), Sassetti's travel "sperienza" included the sensorial excitement ("concedere al senso") of sailing around the world to places yet to be found. His narrative gained complexity and depth beyond "vedere e toccare e scrivere," as he reaped the immense pleasure of traveling through the theater of the world ("quanto diletto mi abbia recato el vedere questa parte"), admiring "tanta diversita che io mi maraviglio della maraviglia" (387). But, just as in Pigafetta's dazzling Viaggio atorno il mondo, published in 1550 by Ramusio in his Navigazioni e viaggi, keywords like "meraviglia," "meravigliare," and "meraviglioso" underscore a narrative strategy that will inevitably lead to fictional writing. (16) The explorer's fascinating account is a foretaste of new developments.

Verifiable Displacements: Ambassadors, Cardinals, and Their Secretaries

Upon returning from a mission abroad, it was customary for Venetian ambassadors to present to the Senate an official relazione, a summary of the state of the country where they had been. It was a political analysis, impersonal and objective, only rarely offering commentary on the grueling life of ambassadors on the road. There was no idle talk in reports that were kept in the archives of the Republic as important state documents. (17) Ambassadors had to justify their expenses in detail, for Venetian accounting was precise and unforgiving.

The Venetian Republic was so interested in her ambassadors' reports that it provided them with this detailed plan to follow:
 Queste cose si ricercano per fare una relazione. Prima descrivere
 il sito della provincia nella quale sara stato, anteponendo
 principalmente il nome antico e moderno della detta provincia,
 mostrando in qual parte del mondo et in che disposizione del cielo
 si ritrovino i suoi confini dalle quattro parti, la sua larghezza e
 circuito, in quanti e quali regni o provincie minori sia divisa,
 nondimeno nominando le citta principali, le fortezze, arcivescovati
 e vescovati, gli fiumi principali e villaggi, gli monti e selve e
 gli passi circonvicini ad essa pertinenti.

 Bisogna trattare delle qualita di essa provincia, come sarebbe a
 dire della temperatura dell'aere, bonta e tristizia; delle acque e
 della bonta loro similmente e tristizia; della fertilita o
 sterilita delle biade et altre cose, se pertinenti al vivere umano;
 delle miniere, degli animali; se il paese e montuoso, piano,
 selvoso, paludoso, e dove; qual parte sia meglio abitata et in qual
 parte siano selve o paludi che impediscono l'abitarvi, e se vi e
 alcun meraviglioso effetto di natura.

 Conviene ragionare degli abitatori suoi, mostrando gli loro costumi
 et abiti, di che colore, statura o disposizione siano; se sono
 religiosi, superstiziosi e di altra particolare religione; l'ordine
 et apparato delle guerre per terra e per mare. Delle loro arti, et
 in che piu si esercitano e vagliano; quali merci mandano fuori e
 pigliano da' forestieri; del governo delli primi principi o
 padroni, di loro ricchezze, nobilta e seguito; delle nature e
 condizioni della plebe.

 Bisogna venire al particolare del principe e narrare la genealogia
 sua, descrivendo la persona, la vita che fa et i costumi suoi, come
 sia amato da' suoi sudditi, quante siano le sue entrate e quante
 spese facci; la guardia che tiene, la grandezza della sua corte e
 con qual principe abbia amicizia o inimicizia. (18)


By comparing one ambassador's relazione with those of his predecessors, the Senate could monitor the political evolution of Venice's relationship with other countries.

Contarini, a splendid example of an ambassador-on-the-road, ordered his secretaries to record in detail travels to Turin, London, Madrid, and Rome. (19) But in the course of an ambassador's journey there was also a wealth of personal note-taking.
 Ho incontrato un viaggio di otto mesi continui ripieno di dispendii
 ed incomodi indicibili, per la strettezza di tutte le cose levate
 dalla corte e dagli eserciti fra' quali conveniva camminare. Mi ho
 trovato aver la maggior parte de' miei ammalati, alcuni me ne sono
 morti; ho convenuto lasciar per il cammino diversi cavalli, e nel
 mio particolare ho sentito patimento tale che solo la bonta del
 Signore Iddio e quell'ardore che aveva nel servizio valse a
 preservarmi. Mi sono astenuto da portare alla notizia delle
 Eccellenze Vostre con mie lettere simili particolari, e di
 supplicarle di quel benigno aiuto con che cortesemente sono stati
 sovvenuti tutti gli altri loro ambasciatori, per non apportarle
 molestia e non far diminuire in alcuna parte l'intiero della mia
 obbligazione nello spendere la vita e le sostanze nel loro servizio
 (Pietro Contarini, "Relatione di Francia" in Relazioni degli
 ambasciatori veneti: VI: Francia, ed. L. Firpo, Torino, 1978, 561).


When Girolamo Lando left Venice for England on October 6, 1616, he charged his manservant, Ortensio, to pen a report of daily events, a semi-official document to be used by the ambassador to report the chronology of his journey, justify his expenses, and offer "una giusta relatione e informatione delli paesi e loro costumi." (20)

It is conceivable that the ambassador, actor and witness of the narrative, would have checked Ortensio's text, leaving the writer little leeway for embellishment. An "autobiographie deleguee," as Adrien Pasquali called this form of writing, (21) it is the true narrative of a journey taken by his master, just as Horace's "Iter Brundisium" reflected the journey of Maecenas to Brindisi. Cardinal Luigi d'Aragona, before starting a long European tour in 1517, asked a modest priest, Antonio de Beatis, to join his retinue in order to "scrivere, giornata per giornata, loco per loco, et miglia per miglia, quante citta, terre et ville continuamente se cavalcavano, con annotamento particulare de tucte le cose digne [che] li trovavamo." (22) Proud of being a part of that "solazevole itinerario," De Beatis assured his reader that he "non trovera altro che verita de le cose, over da me oculatamente viste o relate da persone di auctorita grande et degne di ogni credito e fede." As De Beatis was recording the European journeys of Cardinal Luigi d'Aragona, an anonymous Milanese merchant visiting his partners in various European countries (23) wrote a journal to guide other merchants about to undertake the same journey. He included the daily distances, the names of the inns where he stopped, the churches where he prayed, even the bordelli where he sought entertainment.

Good secretaries hid behind their masters, giving them all the credit and taking pride in serving them for, as Cesare Magalotti wrote to Cardinal Francesco Barberini, in the dedication of his "Viaggio di Francia" (1624): "le azioni sono di chi le fa e non di chi le scrive." (24) This kind of supervised narrative, double-checked by the writer's superiors, was also available to an audience that could eventually verify its accuracy. One of these narratives, Montaigne's Journal de voyage en Italie, has been scrutinized by scholars who have attempted to define Montaigne's role in shaping the text. (25)

At times the travel journal was geared to establish a protocol and to record in detail all the public ceremonies that in similar circumstances other diplomats would have to follow. Ironclad documentation was required when Flavio Cardinal Chigi, nephew to Pope Alexandre VII, went to the court of Louis XIV as legatus a latere to offer the official apologies of the pope after a diplomatic incident. The delicate situation of his mission required detailed knowledge of the fastidious ceremonies of seventeenth-century courts, where the number of steps taken by a host accompanying a high-ranking visitor needed to be remembered. Chigi left Rome with a copy of the journal written by Cesare Magalotti during a similar journey taken forty years earlier by Francesco Cardinal Barberini. (26) The objectivity of these documents and the effort to certify all details needed to be absolute. The dignity of ambassadors and the gravity of their mission excluded any fiction.

Erasmus's Travel Letters: Narrative As Entertainment
 Accipe, mi Beate, totam itineris mei tragicomoediam (Letter n. 867,
 15 October 1518)


A letter, according to Erasmus, is an exchange of personal news: "significamus amico si quid novae rei gestum sit apud nos aut quod illi voluptatem sit allaturum, sive privatum sit illud, sive publicum" (in "De extraordinariis generibus epistolarum" in De conscribendis epistolis in Opera omnia, I, 2:541). (27) It must have simplicity, clarity, brevity ("nunciatio simplex et lucida esse debet, brevis praeterea et distincta," I, 2:541), as it was established by Demetris of Phaleron, a 4th-century B.C. Greek rhetorician in his Peri Ermeneias (On Style): "A letter's aim is to express friendship briefly, and set out a simple subject in simple terms." (28) The recipient of a letter understands it as an expression of a hic et nunc experience, for the writer is supposed to be in a specific location, describing a personal experience. Ovid claimed that in his Tristia, his elegiac letters were written on the ship that brought him to exile, and readers would not quibble with the poet's solemn oath that he wrote in a December storm:
 Littera quaecumque est toto tibi lecta libello,
 est mihi sollicito tempore facta viae.
 Aut haec me, gelido tremerem cum mense Decembri,
 scribentem mediis Hadria vidit aquis. (Tristia I, 11, 1-2)


But letter writing was also a time-honored literary device, for real letters were rewritten for publication, to portray the writer in a more favorable light.

A letter Erasmus wrote to Beatus Rhenanus is one of the most engaging travel narratives of the Renaissance. Erasmus's own definition (tragicomoedia) offers his own understanding of this narrative: a hodoeporicum with a happy ending (comoedia), a personal account of difficult roads, dangerous engagements with thieves, and the fear of being struck by the plague, paying tribute to acquaintances and patrons in a conversational style reminiscent of Horace's humilis sermo to Maecenas in his "Iter Brundisium": the first-person account, the realistic details of the journey, with specific dates, distances, and toponyms, a chronology of facts, names, and dangers witnessed during the displacement. A light-hearted attitude, the use of direct speech patterns, and the numerous asides and parentheses, are typical elements of chatting with close friends. Not only Erasmus's letters, but even some of his Colloquia ("Diversoria," "Naufragium," and "Peregrinatio religionis ergo"), as realistic vignettes of real travel occurrences, show a travel narrative that transcends most generic distinctions.

Petrarch, Alberti and Coulon: Collecting Information
 Quid varietatem ac numerum historiarum, quas vel de veterum
 monumentis vel de recentium scriptorum libris collegisti memorem?
 Et omnibus in locis quae digna cognitu intercidunt pulchritudinem
 et copiam explicem? (From a letter by Giovanni Antonio Flaminio to
 Leandro Alberti [May 1, 1537] as a preface to Alberti's
 Descrittione di tutta Italia)


Among the first Italian works to attempt an objective description of a journey, Petrarch's Itinerarium breve de Ianua usque ad Ierusalem et Terram Sanctam appears to be a real itinerary, addressed to a "vir optimus" (3.1), Giovannolo Guido da Mandello who was planning a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Petrarch, afraid of seafaring ("peiorem morte [...] nauseam metuo," 5), declined to accompany him to Jerusalem, offering, instead, a short, descriptive guidebook. Admittedly, Petrarch's goal was to offer Giovannolo a spiritual guide ("primum [...] que ad salutem anime, dehinc que ad notitiam rerum et ingenii ornamentum, "1). While the journey from Genoa to Naples is an example of real travel narrative, based on Petrarch's numerous seafaring experiences, from Naples on the sources of his Itinerarium are taken from classical and Christian authors; Petrarch admitted that he had not seen the sites he described ("ea certe necdum vidi omnia, nec umquam forte visurus sum," 3.1). Finally, as a sort of postmodern conclusion that evokes Horace's link between charta and via (see supra, 12), our land-bound poet attempted to connect Giovannolo's long voyage by sea and foreign lands to his own writing: (29) Giovannolo plowing for three months the land by foot and the seas with oars ("tu remis ac pedibus maria"), Petrarch plowing the blank paper with his pen ("ego hanc papirum calamo properante sulcaverim," 18, 2). (30) The preeminence of the intellectual's speed over the man of action is clear. (31) In three days of strenuous and fast writing, Petrarch has covered the territory his friend traveled during three months ("certe ego iam scribendi fatigatus sum eoque magis quo celerius incessi; quod enim iter tu forte tribus vix mensibus, hoc ego triduo consummavi," 18, 2). And the word "Itinerarium" is both the journey and the writing of the journey, a task that is meant to include one's experience in the limited space of the written word, and to translate visual experiences and personal thoughts into a set of written codes that readers will transfer once more into a mental text. (32) The return home and the end of the text are events to celebrate: "Brundisium finis chartaeque viaeque."

As in Boccaccio's De montibus, silvis, fontibus, lacubus, fluminibus, stagnis seu paludibus, et de nominibus maris, Petrarch's narrative is based on an encyclopedic knowledge. So did Leandro Alberti, collecting an enormous amount of material from various sources (ancient as well as contemporary) before writing his Descrittione di tutta Italia, the guidebook that could be found in the luggage of most sixteenth-century travelers to Italy. Alberti's extensive information ("quae digna cognitu") in a beautiful and rich text ("pulchritudo et copia"), as Giovanni Antonio Flaminio aptly pointed out in his preface, eventually helped creating the guidebook for the discerning traveler to Italy who sought pleasure ("maiore cum voluptate") both in reading and in traveling. But Alberti only rarely offers a glimpse of personal commentary. In his description of the Grotta di Posillipo, for example, after quoting Columella and Strabo on the history of the tunnel that connects Naples with the Phlegraean Fields, Alberti appears in the flesh: "la qual [grotta] io curiosamente volendo vedere, la misurai e la ritrovai esser larga oltre di dodici piedi et altro tanto alta" (italics mine). For a brief moment the reader is brought into the realm of realistic reporting ("vedere e toccare e scrivere"), but just before entering the tunnel Alberti is overpowered by the need to show off his numerous literary sources (Seneca, Razano, fra Zenobio Acciaiuolo, Livius, Servius, Plutarch, Paolo Giovio, and Flavio Biondo). Exiting the grotta, he shares nothing of his personal experience, and he is loses himself in other details. Checking and reporting everything is indeed the extent of his curiositas.

Other sixteenth-century guidebooks, thinly disguised as personal journals, are just well-researched, objective descriptions, detailing history and archaeology, artworks and inscriptions, a mixture of field observations, practical details on economics, civil engineering, politics, and medical considerations. Their travel narrative is often reduced to a thin thread tying together long lists.

In France, Louis Coulon offers yet another kind of guidebook, L'Ulysse francois, ou Le Voyage de France, de Flandre et de Savoye (1643). (33) A pleasant mix of anecdotes, historical information, and realistic bits on what to see and do around French-speaking countries, L'Ulysse starts with the departure from England of an anonymous individual (an "Ulysse Gallo-Belgique," 2) who intends to visit "les plus belles places du monde" (2). Ulysses stops at the border to state his identity, declares the goods he is carrying, and spends the night in a real inn in Calais ("La Sirene Sauvage"). As a strategic plot to entice his audience, Ulysses is the traveling character, described with the third-person pronoun "il": "il monte dans un vaisseau, [...] il se trouve le lendemain" (2); "il prit la route, [...] il s'arresta [...], il entra dans la ville" (34). Soon, however, the author takes over, entering the picture with a more personal "je": "ie scais bien" (6); "ie finis cette description" (10); "ie ne peux obmettre" (13); "ie passe vite" (49). But a variety of other subject pronouns appears: traveler and writer become an undetermined on ("on va souper," 4; "on prend son logis," 12; "on monte a cheval ou en carosse," 15); a generous nous ("nous aurions de la peine," 27; "nous verrons," 42; "nous fusmes tres mal loges, [...] nous reprismes nos armes," 217); even a prescriptive vous ("vous avez de plus," 42) and il faut ("d'Amsterdam il faut venir a Utrecht, qui sont cinq lieues de chemin fascheux a cause des rivieres qu'il faut traverser," 163); and a combination of expressed or understood pronouns ("ayans veu la ville, voyons les faux-bourgs; vous avez le Banc sur la main gauche," 89). A mixing of past and present tenses is used, interchangeably, as if Coulon is uncertain whether to describe the trip previously undertaken by Ulysses or the journey which is being now performed, vicariously, by the reader himself. And Coulon's attempt to set a chronology of the journey fails miserably after his statement that on May 1 "Ulysses" has landed in Calais, probably from England (4). As the writer/traveler moves freely around the Continent, his only chronologic marker is the number of days he spends in each city. Like Alberti's Descrittione, Coulon's Ulysses is not a travel journal, but simply a guidebook that freely mixes objective information with barely a hint that the writer really did undertake a journey.

Travel Diary to Hodoeporic Novel: Sebastiano Locatelli's "vagabonde leggerezze"
 In tutti i resoconti di viaggio circola un'intenzione letteraria
 mai completamente rimossa (Cardona 692).


By definition, a travel diary is the journal of the daily occurrences in an individual's journey, jotted down usually at the end of each day. (34) It reflects the spontaneity of the author's impressions and can at times contain factual misconceptions that the author might wish to correct at a later date. It is extremely rare for modern scholars to find original diaries, particularly for 16thand 17th-century journeys. Written under stress, on fragile tablets and in conditions that affected their legibility, they have usually been superseded by an emended version. (35) A writer who revised a text for publication would not risk leaving to posterity written proof of discrepancies between the two versions. Thus, the original conveniently disappeared, leaving only the improved version, ready to be offered to numerous readers.

Just so, a portion of the journal of Sir Thomas Hoby's journey to Italy (1548-1550) was penned in the winter of 1554-1555 during Hoby's stay in Padua, where he had come to study. To the original notes taken during his trip, Hoby added material pillaged from a number of guidebooks.

John Evelyn's Kalendarium, another major example of personal journal and travel diary in seventeenth-century English literature consists of Evelyn's original notes, supplemented with information gathered from numerous printed sources. His account of the French portion of his journey was largely based on Claude de Varennes's Le Voyage de France (1643), which, in turn, was taken from Justus Zinzerling's Itinerarium Galliae (1617).

These and other sources were used by Sebastiano Locatelli for his Viaggio di Francia, the account of a journey that occurred in 1664-1665, but underwent at least three major rewritings between 1666 and 1693. Its third and final version of the Viaggio, (36) shares little with the first extant text. From Hoby to Locatelli, most sixteenth- and seventeenth-century travel writers visited the same sites in Europe, read the same guidebooks, and when they revised their notes for publication kept pillaging the same sources. That is why their accounts bear an uncanny resemblance to each other.

Locatelli's Viaggio di Francia, however, has a more complex genesis. Defined by its author as a congeries of light-hearted autobiographical tidbits ("vagabonde leggerezze," 43, and "spropositi della [sua] penna giovanile," 44), it displays a stylistic sprezzatura that runs the gamut from a self-deprecating jocularity to a not-so-secret desire to enhance his reputation among his readers ("la pubblica curiosita de' nostri congiunti"). Lacking international savvy, Locatelli, a small town priest with grand ambitions for a diplomatic career, embarked on his writing exercise to offer his sedentary relatives the pleasure of taking a trip without leaving their homes ("fare un si lungo viaggio sedendo," 46). (37) But Locatelli transformed a trip that many small-time peddlers undertook periodically at that time (38) into an odyssey of grand proportions. Abbe Locatelli was very good at hiding the sources he so shamelessly pillaged: Franz Schott's Itineraria Italiae rerumque romanarum allowed him to show off an antiquarian's knowledge of art and history, while Claude de Varenne's Voyage de France provided him with French customs and laws for his introduction (32-34). For thirty years Locatelli kept rewriting his anemic travelog, expanding it in three versions to create a baroque literary theatrum in which he played the role of an international traveler who moved in aristocratic circles, spoke to Louis XIV and was entertained by beautiful princesses. Forgetting that he had admitted his total ignorance of French, he portrayed himself as the confidant of the Parisian aristocracy and reported the gossip he heard in that circle. Finally, when his return was interrupted by a quarantine at the Italian border, he even used his free time, alas, to write a tragedy.

The close ties of seventeenth-century travel narrative with novels are related to the readers' need to "devour with pleasure" entertaining books, as the Francois Bertaud's publisher wrote in his introduction to the Journal de voyage d'Espagne (1669). Bertaud's book offered "des choses aussi curieuses qu'il y en ait en pas une histoire, et d'aussi agreables qu'il y en ait en aucun roman." We enter a new area of travel narrative. Writers catered to a public who demanded exciting stories, vaguely related to the exotic charm of a fictitious New World, for, as Antoine Du Perier admitted, the aim of his story was just "donner du contentement aux belles dames." (39) Bertaud's journal was based on the assumption that "il ne se passe point de jour dans tout un voyage ou il n'arrive quelque avanture et ou l'on ne voye quelque chose d'extraordinaire" (Bertaud IV). (40) The result of such a process was "un genre metoyen entre [les romans] et [les histoires], en ce qu'ils ne traitent que les avantures des particuliers, comme les romans, mais avec plus de verite et plus d'exactitude encore que les histoires" (Bertaud IV). We can deny plausibility to a narrative such as Du Perier's, in which lions, tigers, and castles appeared in the wilderness of Canada, a world where none of his readers had ever been, but less obvious, yet false details may still hinder our efforts to make absolute truth the litmus test that separates travel narrative from works of fiction.

"Letters from Italy"/"Lettres de l'Italie": 18th-Century Travel Epistolography

While eighteenth-century naturalists and astronomers came back from their explorations in the Pacific Ocean, and began writing about their exotic adventures, (41) a host of unperturbed aristocratic and bourgeois Grand Tourists kept to their journey to Europe's highlights, picking up a little culture on the way. Not all Grand Tourists were vapid individuals craving to hobnob with the local aristocracy; many of them explored cultural differences with the same curiosity naturalists studied the local flora and cartographers attempted to determine geographic coordinates, but publishers continued to produce exotic narratives, (42) editorial repechages, (43) and mendacious travel accounts (Adams 1962). Epistolography was the favorite literary medium of this period from sentimental novels (44) to political (45) and religious pamphlets, to general advice for friends and relatives. (46)

A cursory glance at the catalogs of eighteenth-century printed books reveals hundreds of titles in French, English, Italian, and German, proclaiming their choice of form: "Lettere," "Lettres," "Letters," "Briefe," (47) but the title of Maximilien Misson's Nouveau voyage d'Italie hid the fact that it was the first epistolary travel narrative published in France.

For centuries Italy had attracted so many scholarly visitors that eighteenthcentury travelers were under the impression that nothing new could be written about her, as De Brosses noted not without exasperation ("Apres tout, que pourrai-je vous dire sur [l'Italie] qui ne fut un rabachage perpetuel?" II, 2). Letter-writing provided a means to emphasize the personality of the narrator. It was the perfect solution to introducing the writer as well as the sites, as Misson acknowledged: "les lettres, comme l'a fort bien dit M. de Balzac, sont des conversations par ecrit" (Misson, fo 4v), written in a "style concis, [...] libre et familier" (fo 6v).

As an appendix to his Nouveau voyage d'Italie (four editions from 1691 to 1702) Misson added a theoretical discussion of travel narrative, which for him was essentially the story of a physical displacement. If this appears to beg the question, it was because too many travel narratives of the past were just a series of plagiarized vignettes on cities and countries, their art troves and political systems. Naturally, as all travelers did before him, Misson shamelessly pillaged his sources, expanded his original text after he returned home, and criticized the "pretendu voyageur qui ne voyage point; il saute de ville en ville, en pillant ca et la ses mechans livres [...]; tout dur, tout aride, et mille choses inutiles et fausses" ("Avis au Lecteur"). Horace's fundamental instruction, delectare and prodesse, the writers' guiding motto, mirrored the instinctive tendency of the writer to "agrementer son texte" (Ibid.), sprinkling it with a touch of intriguing fiction, a sure way to gain readers.

Having determined that the description of a real journey was a sine qua non, Misson admitted that such "a relation veritable" would be more effective as a series of letters to his friends; the literary dignity of the epistolary form allowed him to insert erudite details, anecdotes of historical background, even hints of a socio-political analysis, all desirable elements for his readers, (48) for Misson's letters were intended as intelligent conversations among friends ("J'ai commerce de lettres avec un ami [...], et ce sont mes lettres que je publie," "Avis au Lecteur"). This "agreable entretien" allowed the writer to avoid the stilted language of books, jump freely from one topic to another, go beyond the chronological order of the facts, engage in digressions, even use the colloquial formulas that added life to real conversations: "puisque vous voulez savoir," "vous me demandez," "pour repondre aux questions que vous me faites," etc. The same digressions that would be censored as incongruous in a treatise were deemed appropriate in letters. And Misson's book, the vademecum for travelers to Italy, the target of travelers who loved to catch his mistakes, incurred, as a commercial blessing, the anathema of the Inquisition for anti-Catholic spirit. (49)

But bienseance would not allow eighteenth-century authors to deal with matters of mere private concern. Even the recently discovered manuscript of Montaigne's Journal de voyage was described by an anonymous reviewer as just "un manuel des eaux minerales de l'Italie [et] un releve des pierres que leur vertu a fait rendre a l'auteur." (50) And the anonymous editor of the Letters from Italy by an English aristocrat, Anna Riggs Miller (London: E. and Ch. Dilly, 1777), admitted in his preface censoring many "private" passages that were not considered "objects of information or entertainment to the public" (1: vi).

With an automatically plausible background, the truthfulness of the letter writer seems undeniable, for "it [would be] a misuse of time to offer proofs of their authenticity, which shew so clearly and unequivocally through every page of these volumes" (1: vi). The "artless, ingenuous narration thrown on paper immediately [...] in the midst of fatigue, in moments unfavorable to precision, and unfriendly to reflection" (1: vi-vii) justifies the writer's stylistic platitudes, making allowances, as Anna Miller does on 20-21 September 1770, "for the inaccuracies of [her] letter, for the barrenness of the subject, and for want of that amusement" (1: 7). The "want of order" in her writing pleads for its "conformity to the truth, according to the best information we could procure" (1: 151). So she can interrupt her letters with tame excuses, whenever she runs out of new ideas ("Our host kindly advertises me that the post is going out. You see I do not neglect to seize every opportunity of writing. Adieu," 1: 158) and emphasize her independence, understating her constant interest in the fashionable "picturesque" of that which she calls "romantically beautiful" (2: 293). Like all intelligent travelers of her time, she discusses her sources, asserts the acuteness of her own observations, and condemns the mistakes made by others: "I have no reason to think that Lalande ever saw this church, but rather that he took his account from Cochin" (1: 122n); "Cochin says [...], but he is mistaken" (1: 109n); "Keysler makes a great mistake" (I, 126n); etc. While she uses her husband as an observer ("M--had it from good authority," 1: 139; "M--has learnt for me," 1: 140; etc.) to add political insights and classical details to her text (1: 219-234), Miller's own novelty is a thorough analysis of art masterpieces. Sensing, perhaps, the staleness of some of her observations, she lets slip, as a conclusion of "letter XXVI" this gloss: "This is the last church I shall mention, and I dare say you are not sorry for it" (1: 344).

The authors' implied claim to be eyewitnesses of a journey shows that truth in seventeenth-century travel writing was considered a sine qua non.

Chateaubriand, Stendhal, and Flaubert: "Romancing" Travel Narrative
 Tout est vrai [...], mais tout y est commun; rien, ou presque rien
 ne valait la peine d'etre dit. (Stendhal, Melanges. II.
 Journalisme. Paris: Cercle du Bibliophile, 1972, XLVI, 67)


Criticizing a fashionable Parisian novelist, Stendhal solved for us some of the problems of truthfulness we have debated. Art is not essentially tied to the truth; in fact truth can be boring and banal. In travel writing nothing is closer to the truth than a manual, yet nothing is farther removed from travel narrative than the thorough account of all a serious traveler must see. On the other hand, a good writer should give himself free rein to talk about what travel manuals do not usually mention: himself, other people, feelings, a sensuous gourmandise of sights, noises, and colors:
 Je m'ouvrais tout entier aux impressions qui survenaient, je m'y
 excitais et je les savourais avec une sensualite gloutonne; je me
 plongeais dans mon imagination de toutes mes forces, je me faisais
 des images et des illusions et je prenais tout mon plaisir a m'y
 perdre et a m'y enfoncer plus avant. (Flaubert, Voyage aux Pyrenees
 et en Corse, 297)


Flaubert dramatically identifies the subject/narrator and the object of its narrative. Typically, je et moi have become one, intimately related in a self-referential, narcissistic fashion focused on the individual's intimate experience, savoring impressions, and drawing on them sensually. Michelet recognized after a long tour of Germany in 1842: "Combien j'ai voyage en Jules Michelet, plus qu'en Allemagne," (51) and in the preface to his Itineraire de Paris a Jerusalem, Chateaubriand remarked that his ego was the center of his narrative ("je parle eternellement de moi," 2:702). Yet, to underline his travel experience as a series of direct observations, Chateaubriand introduced his Voyage en Amerique with a cumbersome history of travel throughout the ages, identifying his momentous odyssey with the journeys of discovery of Hearne, Francklin, and Mackenzie, and portraying himself as one of those "hommes isoles, abandonnes a leurs propres forces et a leur propre genie" (1:664).

The goal of the Romantic travel writer is basically the discovery of his own self as much as a quest for the outside world. In this realm of interior travel narrative, the critic should perhaps avoid looking for a strict verifiability of all the activities described and be content with the acceptance of mere plausibility. As for Chateaubriand, novelist, politician, adventurer, essayist, and the most conspicuous figure in French literature of the First Empire, his ample travel-related production only exemplifies the protean character of travel literature. (52) It shows also the difficulty in sorting and systematizing the mare magnum of human creativity in the area of hodoeporics. Chateaubriand traveled as an exile to Belgium and the Channel Islands, as a curious tourist to the wilderness of North America, as a diplomat to several posts in Europe, and finally to Italy, Greece and the Near East, looking for "local color" to add true life to his historical novels. He wrote extensively about his journeys, publishing his material first as travel notes and letters, then as "fillers" for his novels and historical writings, catching the exotic ambiance of the wilderness of America, and the dawn of Christianity. Eventually he recycled the same material in essays of political and ethnological import, (53) and did not shy away from abundantly plundering other writers, often re-editing and re-publishing his own texts whenever he needed money. As a magnificent travel liar, he successfully managed to confuse his biographers and critics who attempted to map the details of his geographical movements and their chronology. And when Chateaubriand was caught redhanded by readers who criticized his fantastic portraits of the Mohawks (they were no "noble savages," but a fearsome tribe) or his description of Florida (an area he never visited), he haughtily disdained to reply. Perhaps, as Sainte-Beuve suggested, the writer's "inadvertences" should be forgiven as aspects of the abundant flow of the "sentiment de la nature americaine." (54)

Chateaubriand's grandiosely naive desire to cross the American territory, reach the West Coast, and walk all the way to the Arctic Sea in order to find the famous Northwest Passage is another attempt to portray himself in larger-thanlife size as well as an impractical dream, expressed just as Lewis and Clark were preparing their grueling expedition. Although this is not the place to sort out the disarray of Chateaubriand's melange of genres and subgenres, (55) the mention of this problem should warn the reader of the difficulty of coming to a conclusive definition of hodoeporics as a genre in the traditional sense. That Chateaubriand's writings were memorials supporting his shifting political allegiances further adds to the generic confusion.

A few years after Chateaubriand, Henri Beyle, known in his recits de voyage as "M. de Stendhal" or "le comte de Stendhal," mirrored a similar set of narrative problems. Like Chateaubriand, he used his notes de voyage abundantly in several successive publications. As it was for Chateaubriand, the chronology of Stendhal's numerous works is a spider web of self-referential notes and copious rewritings of all sorts. (56) Victor Del Litto's analysis of Stendhal's journaux de voyage underscored the fact that the French novelist "romanced" his journeys, transforming them into novels. In an effort to enhance his credibility and assemble a great number of true facts ("faits vrais," 410) Stendhal even created his own interlocutors, for the most part aristocrats who were supposed to have traveled along with him, (57) volunteering their insights and witticism to add credibility and zest to the journal of a trip to Puglia and Calabria that Stendhal never took.

In his essay on Travelers and Travel Liars: 1660-1800, Percy G. Adams attempted to sort out the confusion created by the travel texts written explicitly to deceive their readers, "forcing enlightened readers such as Swift, Walpole, and Dr. Johnson to be skeptical about all voyage literature" (237). As Lucian wrote, Iambulus, a creator of wild travel narratives and an honest liar, "invented a falsehood that is obvious to anyone, yet wrote a story that is not without interest for all that." (Lucian, A True Story, 1, 3)

Everyman's Patagonia: "The Lucidity of Loneliness" in the Earth's Farthermost Place
 Travel is at its best a solitary enterprise: to see, to examine, to
 assess, you have to be alone and unencumbered. [...] What is
 required is the lucidity of loneliness to capture that vision
 which, however banal, seems in my private mood to be special and
 worthy of interest (Theroux 168-169).


In his Patagonian Express Paul Theroux defines travel as "a solitary mission of discovery in a remote place" (391). Patagonia, the farthermost place from the northern hemisphere, is for him a region of the spirit, the antithesis of a cozy Heimat. (58) During his career as a travel writer, Theroux embarked on numerous solitary journeys in various regions of the world, looking for a private space away from the crowd, searching for a "lucidity of loneliness" (169) that allowed him to crystallize his impressions. In this process he described the flaws of contemporary travel books as "fatal insufficiencies" of a hybrid potpourri of geography and "potted history," a "kind of lifeless boasting about how far the writer had gone and what he ate." (59) So Theroux boarded a local train at Boston's Wellington Circle Station, heading to the tip of South America via a series of odd connections through the entire length of the continent: "In this vagrant mood I boarded the first train [in Boston], the one people took to work. They got off; their train trip was already over. I stayed on; mine was just beginning." (6) He knew neither what he was looking for nor what awaited him; he craved a little risk, danger, untoward events, a vivid discomfort, in a nutshell, "the romance of solitude" (169). His loneliness gave him time to ponder and take notes; his disappearance from family and friends was "elemental, but few come back silent" (3). The returning traveler, burning with a sacred flame to tell, would finally be able to utter all the words he had kept in his soul during his long journey.

Many travel writers are happy to telescope their readers in the middle of things, beaching them in a bizarre place without having first guided them there. (60) For Theroux "the lower slope of Parnassus" (4), as he defines the act of moving through a geographic displacement, is a gradual withdrawing into an unknown environment, "the progress from the familiar to the slightly odd, to the rather strange, to the totally foreign, and finally to the outlandish. The journey, not the arrival, matters; (61) the voyage, not the landing" (5). Theroux ends his book where other travel books usually begin. As tautological as this may sound, his travel narrative is just about traveling, the displacement and the emotions it conveys, the surprise of places and people, and memories of previous readings. As soon as he reaches Patagonia, his book (and his journey) ends: "longae finis chartaeque viaeque." The reader would never know what made this region so appealing to Theroux, who was only "interested in the going and the getting there" (383), the bittersweet daily struggle, logistic failures, and nostalgia. (62)

Like Theroux, Bruce Chatwin, who had traveled to far-away places, was drawn to Patagonia for its mystery and isolation, but also under the pretense of a quest for an elusive piece of mylodon skin. Unlike Theroux, Chatwin never mentioned how he went there. With great ease, offhandedly, he walked, hitched rides, and found shelter in that immense, bleak territory,
 spending nights in the grass, in caves, in peons' huts, and
 sometimes between the linen sheets of an old-fashioned English
 estancia. On my back I carried a small leather rucksack containing
 a sleeping bag, a few clothes, [...] and half a bottle of vintage
 Krug to drink at the worst possible moment. (quoted in Shakespeare
 294)


His travelog, In Patagonia, an idiosyncratic patchwork of pilfered bits of local history and personal notes, offended some of his eyewitnesses, who complained that he had misrepresented much of what was said. That split of vintage champagne carried around in his rucksack was an improbable prop that distanced a colonialist outsider from the unpalatable presence of the locals. Unencumbered by companions, Chatwin was also free from annoying eyewitnesses, reinventing his journey to create his own myth, and transforming himself into an unquestionable deus ex machina who moved around without the usual traumas that most travelers encounter: "I quit my job in the 'art world' and went back to dry places: alone, travelling light," he wrote in The Songlines (18). Theroux was among the first critics to question the ease of Chatwin's manner of traveling ("How had he traveled from here to there? How had he met this or that person? Life was never so neat as Bruce made out," quoted by Shakespeare 310). In fact, one of his fellow travelers said that "travelling with Bruce was like travelling with your 88-year-old maiden aunt. No piece of luggage was ever good enough. The weather was never right" (Shakespeare 152). Yet, Chatwin wrote that, albeit unannounced, he felt "welcome anywhere," never lacking a room or a meal or a stimulating audience. In Shakespeare's biography, however, some of the people who met Chatwin described him as "another bum in search of a bed" who "didn't speak any Spanish and made no effort to be understood" (295-296). A charming conversationalist in English, Chatwin was a mute observer in Patagonia. We are left to wonder what really happened during his other trips and his conversations in exotic African and Asian dialects!

Like his Romantic traveling confreres, Chatwin created a series of beautifully misleading tracks. But a question still haunts us: should fiction affect our definition of travel narrative? If plausibility is its fundamental element, we may consider the fictional details of Chatwin's travelogs as poetic licences, far from Theroux's realistic journals. Chatwin's meditations on the human condition and his "jewelled prose of the upper-class English traveller" make his book on Patagonia "a more accomplished and decorative book that it is an interesting one"(Karl Miller quoted in Shakespeare 394-395). His travel narrative, lost in a farrago of genial intuitions and far-fetched ideas, particularly when he attempts to explain human restlessness in genetic terms, is highly entertaining. More dulce than utile, perhaps, to keep Horace's literary classification, but that is no reason to keep his works off the body of travel literature.

The Lure of Fiction
 La plupart des [livres de] voyages sont mal faits et pleins de
 mensonges (Richelet, Dictionnaire [1759], s.v. "Voyage")


The advancement of geographic knowledge, achieved by courageous explorers willing to risk their lives, was often dismissed by theoreticians who would not suffer mere practitioners to attack common beliefs. In the 4th century B.C. Pytheas of Massalia traveled north, reporting on Cornish tin mines and the amber trade, yet Strabo called him a liar because Pytheas's report contradicted common beliefs. Ptolemy of Alexandria rejected Eratosthenes's approximations of the Earth's circumference and Aristarchus's heliocentric theory of the solar system only because they differed with the opinion of Aristotle (Green 34), which reigned unchallenged for centuries.

Francesco Vettori considered poetic license essential to entertainment, (63) for it avoided a monotonous list of daily activities: "in questi miei scritti non sia altro che giunsi, venni, arrivai, parti', cavalcai, cenai, udi', risposi e simil cose le quali, replicate spesso, a il lettore danno fastidio" (Vettori 60). But the writer's embellishments must be limited to minor accidents, as Francesco Belli pointed out:
 Io non niego pero che non sia lecito avantaggiare ed abbellire un
 tal poco le cose con qualche aiuto di concetti e dilicatezza di
 stile: non essendo cotali fregi piu alla fine che gli ornamenti
 nelle donne, che non le rendono piu belle in sostanza, ma piu
 aggradevoli in apparenza. Per altro, sendo stato il viaggio
 continovo o pochissime volte interrotto, non sara meraviglia che io
 tocchi appena gli oggetti e accenni gli avvenimenti. [...] Tocchero
 adunque le cose vedute e udite: e se talora introdurro qualche cosa
 che paia diversa e lontana dalla materia, non sara che per fecondar
 la sterilita della stessa. (64)


Explorers have embellished their narrative even during the Enlightenment, when the general readership was willing to accept with gullible avidity lies travelers wrote about their far-away adventures. So writers kept emphasizing their honesty with preemptive strikes, as in the last chapter of Swift's Gulliver's Travels:
 I could heartedly wish a law were enacted, that every traveller,
 before he were permitted to publish his voyages, should be obliged
 to make oath before the Lord High Chancellor, that all he intended
 to print was absolutely true to the best of his knowledge; for then
 the world would no longer be deceived as it usually is. (4: 12)
 (65)


But ensuring travelers' credibility required more than just an oath in a courtroom. A century after Swift, Chateaubriand sanctimoniously defined the travel writer as an historian who related faithfully all he witnessed: "une espece d'historien [...]; son devoir est de raconter fidelement ce qu'il a vu ou ce qu'il a entendu dire; il ne doit rien inventer, mais aussi il ne doit rien omettre" (2: 702). A disingenuous statement, indeed, as previously noted, for Chateaubriand managed with great adroitness to write about sites he had never seen. Marguerite de Navarre emphasized three centuries before that most writings done by "gens de lettres" tend to favor, unfortunately, "la beaulte de la rhethorique," befuddling "la verite de l'histoire" (Heptameron, Prologue). As soon as they grab a pen, authors begin a process of selection, organization, and rewriting, deciphering the world in a personal manner, and creating, as Real Ouellet put it, their own "narration heroisante" (in Beugnot 219). Distrusting the realm of pure fiction as a despicable waste of energy, (66) Cervantes appointed a village priest to burn Don Quijote's extensive library of chivalric works while he spun the tale of the adventures of his ingenioso hidalgo.

Shades of Truth: Verifiability vs. Plausibility
 He has amused the reader with no romantic absurdity or incredible
 fictions; whatever he relates, whether true or not, is at least
 probable, and he who tells nothing exceeding the bounds of
 probability has a right to demand that they should believe him who
 cannot contradict him (Boswell, in Life of Dr. Johnson, describing
 a book of Jeronimo Lobo, S.J., a Portuguese missionary, whose
 description Africa was translated by Samuel Johnson; A Voyage to
 Abyssinia. London: Bettersworth, 1735, 1: 86-89)


That travel narrative needs to be based on a geographic travel is a tautological requirement. Voyages autour de ma chambre, sedentary journeys, utopian or metaphorical narratives pertain, by definition, to a different realm that is beyond its writer's physical motion. A journey implies getting out of one's limited homebased perspective and changing one's coelum ("coelum non animum muto dum trans mare curro," Horace, Sat. 1.1.30).

Reliability in travel narrative takes numerous forms through the ages and styles, as the main connection between acta, the activities performed in real life by the writer, and dicta (or scripta), the writer's own reflection. At the outset, we dismissed epic poems from the canon of hodoeporics for the spotty chronology of their unverifiable journeys (supra 9), but other fictional genres hold a special place in our assessment of travel narrative for under the cloak of fiction they may contain details of the landscape that hide real journeys probably taken by the novelist himself. One could make the case, among others, for the picaresque novel. And travel narrative, always an elusive goal, becomes a meta-literature that kept slipping through artificial boundaries even before postmodernism injected an agonizing sense of subjective indetermination into the critical process of genre analysis.

Despite our confidence in today's availability of knowledge, even the best tools at our disposal are insufficient to verify the truthfulness of ancient travel narratives. For example, only in the last decade archaeologists have been able to ascertain Herodotus's truthfulness when he stated that the Scythians buried their dead ones in the high mountains of the Altai region. A team of Russian scientists in the 1990s found mummified corpses wearing Scythian clothes and jewelry in burial mounds of the Pazyryk tribe, proving that Herodotus had sought reliable informers. Are we then to renounce our quest for real travel narrative, if the narrative of the geographical displacement was written so long ago that there is little chance of objective verification (Marco Polo)? or when only a partial verification can be made (as in Chateaubriand's journey through Louisiana or Florida or Stendhal's visit to Sicily)? Should we suspend our judgement and patiently wait for indisputable proof when our travel writer, like Chatwin, carefully hides his tracks?

Petrarch's identification of traveling and writing shows a deep ambivalence about two apparently disparate activities:
 Sed satis itum, satis est scriptum. Hactenus tu remis ac pedibus
 maria et terras, ego hanc papirum calamo properante sulcaverim, et
 an adhucc tu fessus sis eundo, certe ego iam scribendo fatigatus
 sum eoque magis quam celerius incessi; quod enim tu forte tribus
 mensibus, hoc ego triduo consumavi (Petrarch, Itinerarium, XVIII,
 1-2)


The blurred frontiers between traveling and writing, an interesting exercise, show that there are "fluid boundaries both within and among genres" (Ron Gottesman quoted in Blanton viii). A genre with "a thousand forms and faces" (Adams 281), hodoeporics has undergone a complex evolution, as we have shown, and taken a broad variety of generic shapes. It is a system that accepts all sorts of suggestions and appropriates styles, forms, and allusions. Readers cannot easily determine where a text is a fictional narrative or a personal account of a journey really undertaken, for texts do not always fit into tidy categories. Their vast congeries contain numerous odd mixtures of fiction and realism; and one could never exclude the interference of personal journeys into fictional narrative.

Cervantes has inserted in his fictional Don Quijote a number of details that reveal his personal background. The reader could follow the hero's peregrinations through realistic geographic allusions. Recent scholarship has even argued that the landscape of Cervantes's novel is not that of Don Quijote's La Mancha, as has been traditionally believed, but in fact it portrays the expanse of Sanabria, a primitive region in northwestern Spain where Cervantes may have lived. (67) And I have postulated that some of Cervantes's Novelas ejemplares do contain realistic details of their author's journey to Italy. (68) Indeed, boundaries between fiction and travel narrative tend to be blurry. The basic cycle of travel narrative (departure, adventure, return, reflection: Monga "Cycles" 2000) takes many shapes and develops in many directions, (69) mixing freely fiction and truth, objective facts and subjective perceptions. The success of some of Jules Verne's novels was based on his ability to write Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (1869) and

Voyage autour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (1872) a few decades before submarines and transcontinental flight were developed: "delightfully extravagant voyages, [...] to which cleverly prepared scientific and geographical details lent an air of verisimilitude." (70) And today, after the Apollo lunar expeditions, the world of science fiction has pushed the envelop, replacing technological surprise with psychological inquiry. Since lies and illusions are enmeshed with travel narrative, a definitive identification of travel narrative continues to elude us, for the closer we seem to get to a conclusion the farther the territory expands, accepting more conflicting categories.

The Challenges of a Taxonomy

Admitting a modicum of tautology, we may assume that the minimum common denominator of hodoeporics is the narrative of a plausible displacement away from the writer's own milieu, (72) referential as to its geography and history (spatial and chronological displacement, toponyms, events, and people). This definition illuminates the dichotomy of "real" versus metaphorical, utopian, science-fictional displacements. It implies a subtext related to a physical and chronological motion away from home and a reflection on the activity of traveling. It is obvious that such a text may share many characteristics with autobiographical writing, since the narrator often is the same person as the traveler whose adventure begins not with birth but with departure (Roudaut 59). The time-lapse between the journey and its account suggests a personal reflection, as Flaubert stated in the prelude to his Voyage en Orient ("Entre le moi de ce soir et le moi de ce soir-la il y a la difference du cadavre au chirurgien qui l'autopsie").

As today's mass tourism has created a global compulsion to reach far-away sites, there remain very few, if any, new places to discover. The geographical displacement we call tourism is thus performed in order to verify what other travelers have written about the world ("verifier un texte anterieur sur le monde," Pasquali 85). Witness the popularity of guidebooks. The desire to confront a personal experience with other voices and the urge to find new ways to express that experience create a medley of narrative strategies. We have seen them in our survey, shifting between telling a real story and creating a marvelous tale. So many internal ambiguities prevent critics from establishing solid parameters of hodoeporics (Le Huenen 14) and all attempts to crystallize this kind of narrative into a single genre are doomed to fail, for its forms and contents are too varied and, often, contradictory. Today's criticism, with its lack of "firm boundaries between different kinds of literature" (Hernadi 8) and tendency to be less dogmatic than in the past, leaves us with a tentative approach to describe literary phenomena. One could apply to our field what Hayden White wrote about the historiographic discourse: "Viewed simply as verbal artifacts, histories and novels are indistinguishable from each other" (21-44). The fallacy of prescriptive definitions would suggest a need to adopt several systems of coordinates (Hernadi 153). First of all there is an unavoidable relationship between the text and the journey, but deciphering the unknown is never an easy task, for analogies show inevitable approximations.

The Horatian syntagm pleasant-and-useful is fundamental to narrative. The blurred relationship between fiction and reality is at the core of the problem. Aristotle's distinction between poets and historians comes back to haunt us, caught between what happened and what could have happened (Poetics VI 51b451b7). On one hand, we witness Orazio Busino riding on a boat down the Rhine "con la penna in mano" (Contarini), noting conscientiously the toponyms of the villages he observes on the river banks. On the other, we meet Heinrich Heine, feasting in the cozy atmosphere of a table d'hote in Brescia, forsaking a guided tour to listen to a waiter's humorous description of his town. (73) Heine freely admits that his narrative of Brescia is based on hearsay, but his Reisebilde remains a travel narrative. Heine's honest casualness underscores the ambiguity and inconsistency of this genre at the very moment Chateaubriand takes pain to portray his apocryphal travel narrative as the work of an historian.

"Quid est veritas?" (John 28:18): The Unavoidable Snare of Narrative

After this journey through a selection of the world's hodoeporics, it appears that perfectly truthful travel narratives are difficult to find. Truthfulness and creativity have constantly clashed since the time when the Greeks chose Hermes, god of liars, as the patron of travelers. We have seen that frequently, as travelers began to write, the accounts of their personal experience were shaped by their literary agenda. Thus travel writing became an enterprise virtually indistinguishable from novel or poetry (M.-C. Gomez-Geraud in Antoine-Gomez-Geraud 249), a text fraught with travelers' lies.

In the postmodern discourse about genres, any attempt to make an apodictic statement in the field of literary criticism is doomed. We are left to extrapolate from examples such as Francesco Vettori's clear program for the narrative of his journey through Germany:
 Scrivero adunque, tutti e' luoghi dove sono stato, e non solo le
 citta e castelli, ma li borghi e le minime ville, e quello che mi
 sia accaduto e con chi abbi parlato e di che. (Viaggio in Alamagna
 [1507], 13)


Vettori's aim touched on the common denominator of most travel narratives. Describing the sites he saw, the people he met, and the words they exchanged is all he had to do to be a faithful reporter. Yet, after setting these realistic parameters, Vettori's travel narrative was just a "frame" for a series of fictional novelle, a blatant intrusion of fiction into his writing. Under the "piacevoli novelle" that make up the report of Vettori's journey to Germany, his hodoeporic activities ("e' luoghi dove sono stato" and "quello che mi sia accaduto") suddenly disappear.

Writing about one's experience is never as simple a process as that described, tongue-in-cheek, by Sterne's muleteer , "driving his mule all the way from Rome to Loretto, without ever once turning his head aside either to the right hand or to the left":

A man of the least spirit will have fifty deviations from a straight line to make with this or that party as he goes along, which he can no ways avoid. He will have views and prospects to himself perpetually soliciting his eye, which he can no more help standing still to look at than he can fly; he will moreover have various
 Accounts to reconcile:
 Anecdotes to pick up:
 Inscriptions to make out:
 Stories to weave in:
 Traditions to sift:
 Personages to call upon:
 Panygericks to paste up at this door:
 Pasquinades at that:


--All which both the man and his mule are quite exempt from. To sum up all; there are archives at every stage to be look'd into, and rolls, records, documents, and endless genealogies, which justice ever and anon calls him back to stay the reading of:--In short, there is no end of it. (Laurence Sterne. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Esq., I, XIV)

Sterne's muleteer is a satirical metaphor for the rare travelers totally unconcerned with their literary reputation, travelers who engage in the perfectly honest effort to abstain from reshaping a journey in order to please their public. In fact, Stern seems to imply that such travelers are semi-literate and therefore, like their mules, rather oblivious to literary temptations. As Marguerite de Navarre intimated, writers (and, naturally, travel writers), as "gens de lettres," are so eager to pursue fame that they succumb to the insidious lure of literary creativity, entangling forever narrative and fiction, reality and imagination.

A debate on the truthfulness of travel narrative (or any narrative, for that matter) probably will lead us nowhere, for the subjectivity of the poetic process is inevitable. This operation involves most human activities (not just literature and the visual arts) for the intervention of writers and artists alike involves cropping, enhancing shadows and colors, deciding on a specific angle of vision, focusing on a distinctive expression or selecting peculiar details, and makes objectivity virtually unreachable, even in most "realistic" fields. Witness Georgia O'Keeffe who, as a young painter, lucidly defined her artistic goal, stressing that "[n]othing is less real than realism. [...] Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things." (74)

The "real meaning of things," the poetry of interpreting reality, as an essentially subjective vision, accounts for "the snare of narrative" that pervades the selection of the texts we have examined in this survey.

Let us then enjoy the Horatian sweetness of literature as the implied goal of travel narrative, leaving guidebooks to be, perhaps, the most impassive form of travel information. And, since we live in an imperfect world, we must accept, with Sterne, the inevitable (but how enjoyable!) companionship of travel liars and creative travel writers like Lucian of Samosata, who acknowledged at the outset of his True Story: "not having had any adventure of significance, I took to lying" (I, 4).

Vanderbilt University

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(1) Louis Marin, Le Recit est un piege (Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1978). Portions of this essay were read in 2002 as seminars or lectures at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Ireland at Galway, Trinity College, Dublin, and the Universita di Catania.

(2) Marcel Bataillon, "Remarques sur la litterature des voyages," in Connaissance de l'etranger: Melanges Jean-Marie Carre (Paris: Didier, 1964), 51.

(3) While we are fond of the Italian formulation odeporica (Nucera 119) and hodoeporics in English (Monga, "Travel" 6) for their historical and etymological parentage, litterature de voyages and litterature viatique are common in French (although we are happy to notice hodeporique as an adjective in one of the essays in this volume), while in Spanish camineria seems to be still prevalent.

(4) Michel de Certeau stated that "Tout recit est un recit de voyage" (L'Invention du quotidien: I: Arts de faire (Paris: 10/18, 1980), 206; cf. also Monga, "Travel" 6-7. Tzvetan Todorov's assertion "tout est voyage" (Les Morales de l'histoire. Paris: Grasset, 1991, 121) is even more encompassing.

(5) Francis Affergan offers another attempt to organize the multifarious models of hodoeporics by joining linguistics and rhetoric. Postulating a complex four-model system ("recit metonymique, synecdochique, metaphorique," and, finally, a recit of real travel and discovery), he is eventually forced to acknowledge that "tout recit de voyage appartient aux quatre genres a la fois, a des degres divers, ou plutot il y participe de fait, puisque le rapport sur le voyage effectue ou non est inverifiable completement" (cf. A. Pasquali's chapter "Une typologie narrative des recits de voyage: urgence ou impossibilite?", 139-143).

(6) "Lo spirito pragmatico latino non sembra aver avuto in simpatia il viaggio; nessuna opera con questo contenuto figura nel canone tramandato alla posterita romanza" (Cardona 688).

(7) Although the literary genre of travel narrative was rare in Roman times, there were instances of such narratives in texts as different as Petronius's Satyricon, Cicero's letters, and, naturally, the writings of Pliny and Josephus.

(8) My editions of a number of 16th- and 17th-century journals of French and English travelers who went from Rome to Naples have shown that in early-modern times the route from Rome to Naples, the Via Appia, followed a good portion of Horace's journey. Some early modern detours were caused by the deterioration of the Via Appia, which occurred during the Middle Ages, and by the risk of malaria in the marshes between Sermoneta and Priverno (cf. D. Sterpos, Roma-Capua. Rome: Autostrade, 1966, 99-148).

(9) "Le Voyage et l'ecriture," in Repertoire IV (Paris: Minuit, 1974), 9-10; see also Jaime Ferran, "Viaje y literatura" (in Monga, 1996, 65-70). Horace's connection between charta and via, present also in Petrarch (see infra 24), became quite common in neo-Latin hodoeporics. It appears in the conclusion of an "Hodoeporicum ab urbe Lutetia ad Romam usque" (1590) by Jacques Sirmond: "Idem esto finis carminis atque viae" (L. Monga, "L'Hodoeporicum de Jacques Sirmond," Humanistica Lovaniensia, 42 [1993]:301-322), and in an "Iter Ferraria Coloniam" by Fabio Chigi (the future Pope Alexander VI): "... longique laboris / Atque viae tandem chartaeque imponere finem" (Philomati Musae iuveniles. Coloniae Ubiorum: I. Kalcovium, 1645, 85).

(10) Another topos of early-modern travel narrative in Lucilius's text is that it addressed a friend who could not join the travelers. Lucilius wanted to share the joy of the journey and the praise of completing it ("Tu partem laudis caperes tu gaudia mecum / partisses"). Travel narrative is a means of vicarious traveling for sedentary individuals who cannot afford the expenses of a long journey, as Jacques De Villamont's suggested to his readers: "sans changer d'air faictes ce long voyage" (Voyages. Paris: C. de Montr'oeil et J. Richer, 1600).

(11) Caren Kaplan, Questions of Travel: Postmodern Dicourses of Displacement (Durham: Duke UP, 1996), 3.

(12) See Jozef IJsewijn and Dirk Sacre, Companion to Neo-Latin Studies (Leuven: Leuven UP, 1998), 2:54-58 and Hermann Wiegand, Hodoeporica. Studien zur neulateinischen Reisedichtung des deutschen Kulturraums im 16. Jahrhundert (Baden-Baden: Koerner, 1986), 305-308.

(13) See supra, n. 9. As for the term hodoeporicon (Monga 1996: 6), it may be useful to remember that the first Anglo-Saxon travel journal is Willibald's 8th-century Hodoeporicon to Jerusalem.

(14) In his preface to Marco Polo's book Giovanni Battista Ramusio acknowledged the presence of "molte cose che pareno fabulose e incredibili," implicitly criticizing Polo's acceptance of what his informers told him ("quello che gli veniva detto," in Navigazioni e viaggi, 3: 23).

(15) For a brief lexical analysis of the terminology applied to the concept of strange/strangers (stranger/stranger/straniero/ etranger/ extranjero; strange /etrange/ starno/extrano) and its relationship with the idea of "anomaly" (strange /extraneous/ estraneo, strange/ extraneous, extravagant/stravagante), see Monga, "Travel" 34.

(16) Another travel account, Francesco Carletti's Ragionamenti del mio viaggio intorno al mondo, described his unstinting commercial journey (1591-1606) around the world ("il suo grande e maraviglioso viaggio, ch'egli fece in circondare tutto l'Universo per via dell'Indie occidentali dette Mondo Nuovo, et da quelle all'Indie orientali, et suo ritorno," 3). Carletti's mercantile maraviglia is applied to the wealth he observed, particularly in Peru, a toponym that was already acquiring an antonomastic connotation for the enormous profits that merchants were quickly making there (his ecstatic description of local merchants sleeping on stacks of silver ingots, 4748 ); and his astonishment at the exceptionally honest attitude of the merchants in Goa ("e cosa di maraviglia l'osservanza della realta et fedelta in tutte le loro attioni," 217).

(17) Orazio Busino, who in 1613 accompanied ambassador Pietro Contarini to Oxford, was surprised to see in the Bodleian Library "un tomo in folio, pieno di relazioni venete, alla barba della secretezza" (Venice, Bibl. Marciana, Ital. VII, 1122, f 81v). It was probably the volume of secret political notes (MS Bodl. 911) that Sir Richard Spenser gave to the Library in 1603.

(18) This text, found in a 16th-century manuscript in the Biblioteca Marciana (Ms. It. VI, 187) was published by Pietro Donazzolo (I viaggiatori veneti minori. Roma: Reale Societa Geografica Italiana, 1927, 6-7).

(19) My edition of Pietro Contarini's travel journals in various European cities is forthcoming.

(20) L. Monga, "Il diario del viaggio a Londra dell'ambasciatore Girolamo Lando (1619)," Miscellanea Marciana (Venezia), 15 (2000): 79-111.

(21) "Recit de voyage et autobiographie," AdI 14 (1996): 80.

(22) Antonio de Beatis, Die Reise des Kardinals Luigi d'Aragona durch Deitschland, die Nederlande, Frankreich und Oberitalien, 1517-1518, ed. Ludwig Pastor (Fribourg, Herder, 1905), 90. De Beatis's text was translated by John R. Hale (Londres, Hakluyt Society, 1979) and Andre Chastel (Paris: Fayard, 1986; Bari, Laterza, 1987); we are using here the Italian text established by Pastor.

(23) L. Monga, Un mercante di Milano in Europa: diario di viaggio del primo Cinquecento, (Milano: Edizioni Universitarie Jaca, 1985).

(24) Cesare Magalotti, "Viaggio di Francia dell'Eminent.mo.e Rev.mo Sig.r Cardinal Francesco Barberino, Vice Cancelliere di S. Chiesa, Nipote e Legato a Latere di N.ro Sig.re Urbano VIII Pontefice Massimo, Roma, Bibl. Vat., Barb. Lat. 5686, f 3r.

(25) For an analogous situation, Montaigne's Journal de voyage, written in part by his anonymous secretary, see L. Monga,"Ecriture viatique et fiction litteraire: voyageurs et 'secretaires' autour du Journal de voyage de Montaigne," Montaigne Studies, 15 (2003): 9-19.

(26) Chigi's journey was also recorded for Louis XIV by Paul Freart de Chantelou in "Memoire du traitement fait par la Maison du Roi a Monsieur le Cardinal Chigi, Legat a latere en France," Paris, Bibl. Nat. MS Cinq Cents Colbert, no 175. Chigi's texts are in "Registro della Legation di Francia dell'Eminen.mo Sig.r Cardinale Chigi," "Relatione del viaggio fatto dall'Em.mo Sig. Card. Flavio Chigi, nipote della Sant.ta di N. S. Alessandro VII spedito in Francia alla Maesta del Re Christianissimo Luigi XIV," Rome, Bibl. Vat., Chig. E II 35 and 38. I would like to thank Dr. Gregory A. Pass of the Vatican Library at Saint Louis University for his help in identifying for me these manuscripts of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana.

(27) See also Yvonne Bellenger, "Le Recit de voyage par lettres dans le Nouveau Voyage d'Italie de Misson," in B. Bray and C. Strosetski (eds.), Art de la lettre, art de la conversation a l'epoque classique en France (Paris: Klincksieck, 1995): 305-323.

(28) Demetrius "On Style," 231 in Aristotle, Longinus, Demetrius (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1999): 485. Gaius Julius Victor, a 4th-century A.D. rhetorician specified the basic principle of letter writing: brevitas, lux, iocus, gratia.

(29) Acknowledging that his fear of sea traveling and sea-sickness prevented him from embarking in such a meritorious enterprise (2.15) after speaking so eloquently about the pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Petrarch lamely concludes that his thalassophobia was a natural impulse ("frenum") to refrain from succumbing to vain distractions ("Hoc forsan animo vago et rerum novarum inexplebili oculo frenum posuit natura," 2.18). If, as recent scholars seem to believe, Giovannolo never made his pilgrimage, Petrarch's Itinerarium was a travel narrative written by a sedentary writer for a sedentary traveler.

(30) A curious intertextual connection could be drawn between this metaphor and the "Indovinello veronese," a 9th-century document in Italian in which the act of writing is described as plowing through the white field of paper with a white pen that sows the black seeds of letters: "Se pareba boves / alba pratalia araba / et albo versorio teneba / et negro semen seminaba."

(31) A few years later, with an intellectual's sprezzatura, Petrarch, who had never be to Crete, wrote a description of that island (Senilia 4.1) for Luchino dal Verme, a capitano di ventura who was preparing to go to Crete to suppress a rebellion against the Venetians.

(32) Willis Barnstone, The Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice (New Haven: Yale UP, 1993), 20. I owe this interesting bibliographical suggestion to my friend and colleague, Carmine Di Biase, of Jacksonville State University.

(33) Louis Coulon's Ulysse francois is translated from Abraham Golnitz's Ulysses belgico-gallucus (1631), but we consider it here in its own value for its great popularity in 17th-century France.

(34) Fastidious German travelers were humorously portrayed by Saint-Evremont as fussy diary writers: "Nous avons aussi un journal ou nous ecrivons nos remarques, a l'instant meme que nous les faisons; rarement nous attendons jusqu'au soir; mais jamais voyageur allemand ne s'est couche sans avoir mis sur le papier ce qu'il a vu durant la journee" (Sir Politick Would-Be [1705], ed. R. Finch et E. Jollat. Paris-Geneva: Droz, 1978, 57).

(35) One exception, perhaps, is the anonymous journal of a young Frenchman who traveled to Italy in 1588-1589. I had the good fortune of finding and publishing his daily notes--blurred, unevenly-written pages, penned at the end of each day (Discours viatiques). The traveler's experience transcended the banality of his text. Undoubtedly tired after a long day of horseback riding, surrounded by a motley crowd of fellow lodgers, the young writer was concerned only with capturing in unpolished but vivid notes the memory of what he had just experienced.

(36) See Vincenzo De Caprio's detailed analysis of the stylistic and historical problems of Giuseppe Acerbi's numerous versions and translations of his travel journal to Cape North (1798-1832).

(37) A topos often repeated by travel writers, as in Jacques de Villamont's preface to the readers of his Voyages (Paris, 1600): "Francois [...], sans changer d'air faictes ce long voyage."

(38) He mentions the useful travel advice he received from an Italian dog-breeder who periodically crossed the Mont Cenis to supply the king's Court with his miniature dogs ("cani piccoli bolognesi") that were the rage in 17th-century Paris (135-138).

(39) Antoine Du Perier, Les Amours de Pistion et de Fortunie [1606], ed. R. Arbour (Ottawa: Les Editions de l'Universite d'Ottawa, 1973): 128.

(40) "Libraire au Lecteur" in Journal du voyage d'Espagne [...]. Paris: Denis Thierry, 1669: IV, quoted by Sylvie Requemora ("Du roman au recit, du recit au roman: le voyage comme genre 'metoyen' au XVIIe siecle, de Du Perier a Regnard" in Roman et Recits de voyage , forthcoming).

(41) Joseph Banks, a young millionaire who accompanied the "Endeavour" expedition of 1768, is said to have remarked with contempt that "every blockhead" could engage in the traditional Grand Tour of Europe: "My Grand Tour," he added, "shall be one around the world."

(42) In the very beginning of the 18th century Francesco Gemelli Carreri had published two important travel narratives: Giro del mondo (1699-1708) and Viaggi in Europa (1700-1708).

(43) See Filippo Sassetti's travel letters in the Raccolta di prose fiorentine (Florence: Tartini e Franchi, 1716-1745) and Montaigne's Journal de voyageen Italie published by Meunier de Querlon in 1774.

(44) Mrs. Courtney, Isabinda of Bellefield; A Sentimental Novel in A Series of Letters (Dublin: P. Wogan et al., 1795); Mrs. Holford, Fanny: A Novel, in A Series of Letters (Dublin: Colles, Parker, et al., 1786; The Affected Indifference; A Sentimental Novel in A Series of Letters (Dublin: C. Jackson, 1781); and many, many others.

(45) William Dickinson, Letters on Slavery (London: J. Phillips, 1789); Helen Maria Williams, Letters from France, Containing Many New Anecdotes Relative to the French Revolution (London: Robinson, 1792).

(46) Sailors' Letters; Letters from a Midshipman in the Royal Navy to His Friend and Brother Officer [...] (Plymouth: Nettleton, 1800).

(47) Among the French and Italian titles, these should suffice: Lettres Peruviennes (Mme de Grafigny, 1775), Lettres sur les Anglois et les Francois et les voiages (Louis Beat de Muralt, 1726), Lettres philosophiques (Voltaire, 1734), Lettres juives (Marquis d'Argens, 1736), Lettres sur l'Italie (Anne-Marie Du Bocage, 1768), Lettres sur l'Italie en 1785 (Charles-Marguerite Jean-Baptiste Dupaty, 1788), Lettres historiques et critiques sur l'talie (Charles de Brosses, 1799), Lettres d'Italie (Jean-Jacques Barthelemy, 1802), even Montesquieu's Lettres persanes (1721). Lettere virgiliane and Dodici lettere inglesi sopra vari argomenti e sopra la letteratura italiana principalmente (Saverio Bettinelli, 1751 and 1766), Lettere familiari ai suoi tre fratelli (Giuseppe Baretti, 1762), Lettere familiari e critiche (Vincenzo Martinelli, 1776), Lettere[ ...] sopra alcune particolarita della Baviera ed altri paesi della Germania (Giovanni Lodovico Bianconi, 1763), Lettere ad un amico (Angelo Maria Bandini, 1776), Lettere odeporiche (Angelo Gualandri, 1780), Lettere odeporiche di Venezia, Trieste, ... (Francesco Griselini, 1780), Lettere scritte da piu parti d'Europa ... nel 1783 (Francesco Luini, 1785), Lettere brandeburghesi (Carlo Denina, 1786), Lettera sopra un picciol viaggio (Francesco della Torre di Rezzonico, 1792), Viaggi alle Due Sicilie e in alcune parti dell'Appennino (Lazzaro Spallanzani, 1792-1797), Lettere sopra l'Inghilterra, la Scozia e l'Olanda (Luigi Angiolini, 1790), Viaggio per l'Italia [...] esposto in un corso di lettere critiche ed erudite (Gioseffo Comoldi Caminieri, 1800).

(48) "C'est la lettre qui est le modele litteraire le mieux adapte [to Misson's goal], car elle a, en plus, l'avantage de ne pas manquer totalement de prestige historique et litteraire" (Harder 73).

(49) De Brosses's complaint that the Roman police confiscated his copy of Misson's book was, probably, a device to make readers believe that he could not have plagiarized Misson.

(50) Revue retrospective, ou Bibliotheque historique, ser. II, tome VII, 196-197. And Boucher de la Richarderie accused Montaigne's Journal of being just "un bulletin fastidieux de remarques journalieres sur sa sante et sur les effets des eaux minerales dont il faisoit usage" (Bibliotheque universaelle des voyages. Paris, 1808, 1, 293).

(51) Journal, ed. Paul Viallaneix (Paris: Gallimard, 1959), 1, 457; see, below, M. Brix's essay on this topic.

(52) A comparison between Chateaubriand's Itineraire de Paris a Jerusalem (II, 679-1214), rewritten much later with a wealth of classical quotes and poetic insights, and the terse daily notes of the journal of Julien Potelin, his manservant on the same journey ("Voyage de Julien a Jerusalem," 2, 1507-40), would show different narrative strategies and interests of two real travelers putting into writing a personal experience of the same journey.

(53) In his Voyage en Amerique, he unabashedly recycled passages he had used in some of his works. As for the Ur-text of his notes, he sheepishly admits using them with great freedom: "Je laisse maintenant parler le manuscrit: je le donne tel quel je le trouve, tantot sous la forme d'un recit, tantot sous celle d'un journal, quelquefois en lettres ou en simples annotations" (II, 685).

(54) Chateaubriand et son groupe litteraire, 4e lecon (2: 614).

(55) Maurice Regard, the editor of the Pleiade edition of Chateaubriand's OEuvres romanesques et voyages, acknowledged the difficulty in classifying the genre of some of Chateaubriand's works: "Dans quel genre placer l'Itineraire de Paris a Jerusalem, ou l'auteur se retrouve tout entier au naturel et presque intime?" (1: xiii). This problem of traditional scholarship still shows a fundamental indecision in finding a clear cut taxonomy for Chateaubriand's Voyage en Amerique that appeared in print 36 years after its author's actual journey.

(56) V. Del Litto's annotations show Stendhal's habit of recycling his journals in order to solve his financial problems by rewriting and republishing his notes. V. Del Litto adds that the notion of a traveling group in Stendhal's journals implies almost a dramatic form, with direct and indirect dialogs in which the author appears as a leader (le cicerone et le porte-parole, XXII).

(57) And Chateaubriand inserted in his Itineraire a fictitious meeting with a fictitious Arsenios, Jerusalem's "Armenian patriarch" (2: 1067-1068).

(58) "A fertile territory of fantasy" (Shakespeare 290) near the desolation of Antarctica, Patagonia represents what Naples and Vesuvius were for 16th- and 17th-century travelers, the "Ultima Meta" (John Raymond) and the "Non Ultra of my Travells" (John Evelyn). Beyond that there was only "plaine and prodigious barbarism" (John Evelyn, 163).

(59) My Secret History (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1989), 406.

(60) Theroux quotes, among travel book incipits, Moravia's Which Tribe Do You Belong To? [A quale tribu appartieni? Milano: Bompiani, 1972]: "From the balcony of my room I had a panoramic view over Accra, capital of Ghana" (3; the translation of Moravia's quote is Theroux's)

(61) This is also the title of the last volume of Leonard Woolf's autobiography, The Journey Not The Arrival Matters (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1969). Although Woolf implicitly attributes this quote to Montaigne, it is not found in the French philosopher's works, although it is typical of Montaigne's fondness of roaming the world ("J'entreprens seulement de me branler, pendant que le branle me plaist; et me proumene pour me proumener," Essais 3: 9; "il n'allait, quant a luy, en nul lieu que la ou il se trouvait," Journal de voyage en Italie 1: 4).

(62) "The bus was uncomfortable, the road was bad, the food was awful, the weather was corrosive. But I had never been here before, which was justification enough" (The Pillars of Hercules. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1995, 395).

(63) The Horatian dichotomy utile/dulce, at the foundation of all literary writing, became curieux/agreable in 17th-century French travel narrative (see, supra 25, in the introduction to Bertaud's Journal) and leads to Locatelli's Baroque narrative strategies of his Viaggio di Francia. In 18th-century Milan, Giuseppe Parini's conclusion to his ode "La salubrita dell'aria" (1759), a straight quotation from Horace suggested the modern function of literature and fiction: "Va per negletta via / ognor l'util cercando / la calda fantasia / che sol felice e quando / l'utile unir puo al vanto / di lusinghievol canto" (127-132).

(64) Francesco Belli, Osservazioni nel viaggio (Venice: Pinelli, 1632), 1-2.

(65) Claims of adhering to historical truth were commonplace in 18th-century England., as Defoe wrote in the preface to Robinson Crusoe: "the editor believes the thing to be a just history of fact; neither is there any appearance of fiction in it."

(66) "Los historiadores que de mentiras se valen"--he wrote--habian de ser quemados, como los que hacen moneda falsa"; [...] "la historia es como cosa sagrada, porque ha de ser verdadera, y donde esta la verdad esta Dios" (Don Quijote, II, XXV).

(67) Leandro Rodriguez. Cervantes en Sanabria: Ruta de Don Quijote de la Mancha. Zamora: Diputacion Provincial, 1999.

(68) See my essay "El viaje a Italia en las obras de Cervantes: ?Ficcion o autobiografia?" in Actas del IO Congreso Internacional de Hispanistas: Melilla 26-30 junio de 1995 (Malaga: Alcazara, 1996), 499-509.

(69) Vettori's Viaggio in Alamagna and Nerval's Voyage en Orient mix realistic travel narrative with fictional stories. But even guidebook, arguably the most objective travel narratives, contain subjective elements: consider the number of stars that in the Guide Michelin indicate how worthy a site is or the indication to consider whether a city is worth a trip or just a detour.

(70) Encyclopaedia Britannica (1911), 27:1030.

(71) The term illusion is etymologically connected with playing; ludere and in-ludere mix unwavering lies with a playful recollection of real events.

(72) A vague notion of distance is implied in many definitions of travel: "transport qu'on fait de sa personne en des lieux esloignez" (Furetiere, 1690); "deplacement d'une personne qui se rend en un lieu assez eloigne" (Robert, 1972); "a journey by which one goes from one place to another (especially at considerable distance)" (OED); "il recarsi da una localita all'altra, quando cio richieda diverso tempo" (Palazzi-Folena, 1992).

(73) "I cannot say much about Brescia, for I took advantage of my time to have a decent meal. [...] But, before I got back to the coach, I was conscientious enough to ask my waiter for information about the city; so I found out, among other things, that Brescia has forty thousand people, a city hall, twenty-one coffee houses, twenty Catholic churches, an insane asylum, a synagogue, a zoo, a jail, a hospital and a theater equally good, and gallows for thieves who steal less than one hundred thousand tallers" (my translation; see Monga, "Travel" 54).

(74) From an often repeated 1922-Georgia O'Keeffe's quotation exhibited at the Permanent Collection of her paintings at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico (May 2, 2003-January 25, 2004). The snare of realism, the challenge to define it, and the inherent theoretical contradiction of this terminology, are discernible in an Alfred Stieglitz's quotation in the same exhibit: "[In photography] there is reality-so subtle that it becomes more real that reality."
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