Travel Literature Through the Ages

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What is travel literature?

Who was an early travel memoirist in Western literature?

Which century saw the emergence of the travel genre in medieval Arabic literature?

What is a guide book or travel guide?

What is a travel journal?

Which century was described as a heyday of travel literature?

What is adventure literature?

Who is a notable travel blogger?

What is the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards?


Literary Genre Summary

  • Travel literature includes outdoor literature, guide books, nature writing, and travel memoirs.

  • Pausanias was an early travel memoirist in Western literature.

  • Lucian of Samosata discussed history and travel writers who added embellished, fantastic stories to their works as early as the 2nd century CE.

  • In medieval Arabic literature, the travel genre was a fairly common genre.

  • In China, 'travel record literature' became popular during the Song dynasty.

  • Petrarch's ascent of Mont Ventoux in 1336 is one of the earliest known records of taking pleasure in travel, of travelling for the sake of travel and writing about it.

  • In the 18th century, travel literature was commonly known as "books of travels," which mainly consisted of maritime diaries.

  • The 20th century's interwar period was described as a heyday of travel literature.

  • Travel books come in styles ranging from the documentary to the literary.

  • Adventure literature includes outdoor adventure literature.

  • A guide book or travel guide is "a book of information about a place, designed for the use of visitors or tourists".

  • A travel journal is a record made by a traveller, sometimes in diary form, of the traveler's experiences, written during the course of the journey and later edited for publication.Travel Literature: A Genre of Social Media

  • Travel literature details how slaves escaped restrictive laws of southern US and the Caribbean to find freedom

  • Frederick Douglass' autobiographical Narrative is a famous slave travel narrative

  • Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave is another travel narrative where he overcomes the restrictions of law and tradition in the south to escape after he is kidnapped and enslaved.

  • Harriet Ann Jacobs' Incidents is a travel narrative that covers a small distance as she escapes one living situation for a slightly better one and later from slavery to freedom in the north

  • Travel blogs are a type of travel literature that emerged in the 21st century, which provides information about adventures and advice for navigating countries or traveling generally

  • Notable travel bloggers include Matthew Kepnes, Johnny Ward, and Drew Binsky

  • The systematic study of travel literature emerged as a field of scholarly inquiry in the mid-1990s with conferences, organizations, journals, monographs, anthologies, and encyclopedias.

  • Prizes awarded annually for travel books include the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature, and the Dolman Best Travel Book Award.

  • The Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards began in 1985 and are given by the SATW Foundation, which includes awards for travel books, travel guidebooks, and travel coverage in various formats.

  • The National Outdoor Book Awards and Banff Mountain Book Awards also recognize travel literature in the outdoor and adventure areas.

  • The North American Travel Journalists Association holds an annual awards competition honoring travel journalism in various categories ranging across print and online media.


Test your knowledge of travel literature with our Literary Genre Summary quiz! From the early travel memoirs of Pausanias and Lucian of Samosata to the rise of travel blogs in the 21st century, this quiz covers the history and evolution of the travel genre. Learn about different styles of travel literature, including adventure literature, guide books, and travel journals. And discover the various awards and prizes given annually to recognize outstanding travel books and journalism. Challenge yourself and see how much you know

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