Chapter 4 Imagology and the Analysis of Identity Discourses in Late Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century European Travel Writing by Charles Dickens and Karl Philipp Moritz

In: New Perspectives on Imagology
Sandra Vlasta
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This article analyses processes of collective and individual identity formation in European travel writing from the late eighteenth and the middle of the nineteenth century and argues that these processes are based not least on the national stereotypes described and performed in the texts. I explore how the genre-specific stylistic elements of multilingualism and intertextuality inform the performance of auto- and hetero-images and in doing so suggest converging travel writing studies and imagological studies. To illustrate my thesis, I analyse travelogues by Charles Dickens and Karl Philipp Moritz.

From the late eighteenth and well into the nineteenth century, travel writing was an extremely popular genre in Europe, not least because it accompanied and shaped the far-reaching political and social transformations that took place at the time; that is, the formation of European national states and identities on the one hand, and the formation of a middle class on the other. Although travelogues have been referred to as major sources of literary auto- and hetero-images, especially in earlier imagological studies, the subsequently emerging field of travel writing studies, particularly in the Anglophone countries, hardly considered imagological theory and methodology. In this article I propose to examine collective and individual identity discourses in travel writing by European authors of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by approximating travel writing studies and imagological approaches. More precisely, I suggest to analyse the “grammar,” as Leerssen has called it (2000, 271), of auto- and hetero-images in European travel writing with reference to structural features that, although typical for the genre, hitherto have not been studied in detail—that is, its multilingualism and intertextuality.1 To illustrate my argument, I present analyses of two travelogues: Charles Dickens’s Pictures from Italy (1846) is a typical travelogue of its time in the sense that it talks about a popular and well-known destination—Italy. What is more, it was written in the middle of the nineteenth century, when already a plethora of travel writing about Italy had been published. Dickens thus had to find an individual approach to the subject. Multilingualism, though an element that can often be found in travel writing, is used by Dickens for this purpose and it strengthens the auto-image the traveller/narrator gives of himself, as I will show in my analysis. As a second text, I chose Karl Phillip Moritz’s Reisen eines Deutschen in England im Jahre 1782 (Travels in England in 1782)2 as an example from the late eighteenth century, in which the transformation of the genre to a more subjective account of the journey is clearly visible. In my analysis I will concentrate on the intertextual references applied by Moritz. Again, this is a common feature in travel writing that, however, is rarely looked at in detail. I argue that the intertextual references play a decisive role in the negotiation of identity, be it that of others or that of oneself. As Moritz was a passionate reader not least of English literature, his text is a very suitable example for such an analysis.

1 Travel Writing (Studies) and Imagology

Travelogues have been called one of the key genres of imagology and, in fact, many ethnotypes—I use Leerssen’s term to refer to “representations of national character” (2016, 16)—first emerged and were later adapted and perpetuated on the basis of the information conveyed in supposedly factual reports about foreign people and places, be it other nations or distinct regions of the same nation (cf. Meier 2007). Moreover, (re)presentations created in travel writing, both of the other and of the self, have been a major focus of travel writing studies, a field of literary studies that has emerged mainly in the Anglophone countries since the 1990s.3 Contemporary scholars of travel writing have emphasized that these depictions are not to be read as mimetic representations of empirical reality, but that they are constructs which depend on the discourse surrounding them, on the authors’ intentions, and on the targeted readership. Nonetheless, contemporary travel writing studies have not engaged with imagology (or image studies) on a broader scale. That is to say that (imagological) key terms such as auto- and hetero-images have not found their way into travel writing studies, nor the development of imagology and its turn toward an analysis of structural features (the “grammar”) of national stereotypes.4 Rather, stereotypes and the stereotyping performed in travel writing and/or the readers’ perception have been studied by applying a postcolonial approach.5 This obviously works well in (post)colonial circumstances; still, the transfer of postcolonial theory to other historical situations is debated and brings with it a number of problems, especially if the conditions of power distribution, dependencies, historical development, and so forth are very different. It may lead to a certain blindness with regard to a number of features, be it on the level of content or on a structural (or formal) level. Although the postcolonial focus increases the critical awareness of notions such as the stereotyping of colonized subjects, processes of othering, symbolic appropriation of the colonized space,6 and strategies of (postcolonial) writing back, other dynamics in travel writing, especially if it deals with travels in a European context, may be overlooked. I propose an alternative analysis that is situated at the intersection of travel writing studies and imagology: the application of a cutting edge, twenty-first-century imagology and its methodology to the analysis of travel writing can help to identify further aspects, forms, and functions of cultural stereotyping, of representations of self and other. It can help, moreover, to identify the forms and functions of the “grammar” of national prejudice and thus enable us to recognize the different levels of identity discourses that are at play in travel writing, a genre that spans a great variety of texts and in so doing aims at and attracts a wide readership with different hermeneutic interests.

From the end of the eighteenth century, numerous travel accounts were published by professional writers, but also by diplomats, officials, explorers, and so on, and it was one of the most translated genres at the time.7 What is more, even clearly fictitious travel accounts (such as travels to the moon or under the sea; just think of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson) were much sought after. A number of reasons for this popularity have already been identified: in addition to the interest in other places, regions, and countries, as well as in the activity of travel, the genre satisfied the general appetite for knowledge at the time, sparked by the Enlightenment. Furthermore, travel writing was an important medium that helped to establish and consolidate colonial power. However, I believe that there is more to it: in that particular period, travel writing was a fundamental medium in Europe, in both the process of nation building and in the process of the development of the middle class and, with it, the formation of a more defined idea of the individual, the bourgeois; that is, in two different processes of identity formation, namely that of collective and that of individual identity. During this period, which Reinhart Koselleck (1972) called the Sattelzeit, discussions about a united German nation (both in a political and in a cultural sense, cf. the term of the Kulturnation) were a major topic among German-speaking intellectuals.8 In Italy, too, first efforts toward a united state governed by the Italians were under way. At the same time, the formation of the middle class, the development of new media (in particular journals and newspapers), and the creation of new forms of consumption and cultural activities meant that individuals became increasingly aware of their possibilities and their identity as members of a growing social class. These sociopolitical processes—at their height during the period in question—are depicted, described, and performed in travel writing, and not least based on the auto- and hetero-images the texts convey. Consequently, the different images that we find in the texts cannot be separated from identity discourses. Or, rather: to identify identity discourses we need to identify auto- and hetero-images of the self and the other(s). Image and identity are therefore not the same thing but are closely linked—a fact we should be aware of in our analyses.

With the notion of the grammar of national prejudice, Leerssen refers to invariant structural factors of stereotyping, such as the opposition between North and South, weak versus strong, and central versus peripheral. In his examples, Leerssen (2000, 275–278) suggests elements mainly found on the level of plot (or, per Genette (1994), on the level of histoire). Yet I would like to take this one step further and look not only at the deep structures of national stereotyping but, in particular, at the deep structures of stereotyping and identity building—two notions that I would like to converge in what follows—in travel writing. I suggest that in travel writing (as in other texts), an analysis of this particular grammar (in Leerssen’s sense) needs to take into account formal characteristics of the text, that is, the question of how these elements are narrated. In fact, there are a number of generic elements that serve, not least, to further the discourses on identity and the auto- and hetero-images in the texts in question. These features, such as multilingualism, meta- and intertextuality, and the oscillation between fact and fiction, although typical for the genre, have previously not been studied in detail, especially not with reference to their role in the performance of identity.9 For identity is performed rather than static; as Manfred Pfister reminds us: “it emerges from, takes shape in, and is constantly defined and redefined in individual and collective performances” (2008, 9). Travel writing is one of the cultural performances where—individual and collective—cultural identity is shaped (and continuously reshaped, as this is an ongoing process). These performances of identity feed into and form the images of the travellers and all the other people the travellers meet on their recounted journeys. Hence, auto- and hetero-images, too, are not static but dynamic; they change according to their function in distinct historic and political contexts.10 There is a further dynamic aspect to the performance of identity and thus to the creation of auto- and hetero-images in travel writing: as travellers often move between cultures, travel writing is mostly of an intercultural character. Such intercultural performances and transactions, however, provoke a more intense negotiation of cultural identity and of difference; it seems that there is a greater need to draw a line between oneself and the other—no matter how these two poles may be defined. In fact, the definitions of self and other may vary significantly in different travel accounts. If for the moment we concentrate on the figure of the traveller/narrator, their definitions of self and other depend on various social categories and identity-forming aspects, such as gender, age, ethnicity, nation, religion, or social class. Notions such as these inform the travellers’ identity and their view of the world, they intersect; therefore, rather than analysing them individually, one should focus on their interdependence, as the concept of intersectionality reminds us.11 What is more, a close look at travelogues shows us that the self and the other may not be in such a binary position as it may seem at first.12 Rather, besides the natives of a place, there might be a number of protagonists that are perceived as the other, for instance, other travellers. Manfred Pfister mentions the “triangulation of gazes” (2008, 14) that can be observed in travelogues on Italy: “travel writers do not only look at Italy but also look at the English or respectively German travellers looking at Italy” (ibid.). Consequently, identity and difference are constructed not only with regard to the destination but likewise in response to other travellers one meets. Furthermore, the travellers/narrators and their readers might be sketched as different groups. Or, rather, the travellers/narrators might be outlined as so individual that their auto-image is not necessarily to be confounded with that of their readers.

Two generic elements whose analysis can help us to better understand these complex entanglements are multilingualism and intertextuality. In what follows, I will analyse their role in the description, negotiation, and performance of collective and individual identity. Both aspects share a multidirectional quality, pointing toward the self (the traveller/narrator, as well as the readers who identify with them) as well as the others (the ones observed, other travellers, other texts, other writers, etc.), and they invite us to read the accounts within a wider (cultural, linguistic, literary, etc.) context. This renders these aspects particularly interesting for the present case study.

2 Multilingualism to Stage the Self

Although translation has been a topic in travel writing studies (cf. Bassnett (2019); Cronin (2000); Martin and Pickford (2012)), the multilingualism of these texts has hardly been studied to date. Still, I suggest that an analysis of literary multilingualism in travel writing can give us new insights into the former’s function in the depiction, performance, and negotiation of identities. The use of multilingualism, that is, of different languages (code-switching and other forms), in travel writing can either defy nationalist developments or, rather, enforce the idea of cultural identity and/or difference. In what follows, I analyse this aspect with regard to the traveller/narrator figure in Charles Dickens’s Pictures from Italy (1846). Dickens travelled to Italy and stayed there for a year from 1844 to 1845. He voyaged with his family from Great Britain through France, where he visited cities such as Paris, Lyons, and Avignon, and then proceeded to Italy. There the family rented a place in Genoa, from where Dickens, either on his own or with his wife, travelled to various places: he visited a number of northern Italian cities, such as Verona, Mantua, Milan, and Venice, and eventually journeyed to Rome and Naples. He recorded his impressions and experiences during these travels in the travelogue Pictures from Italy.

The entire text is highly multilingual and is interspersed with insertions in Italian and French, mainly forms of code-switching on an intrasentential level. That is to say that Dickens uses one (or more) word-interferences, single words, or a small number of words in Italian and French in his otherwise English text, and he does so mainly to refer to realities and facts: for place names, buildings, objects, or local customs, he uses the original names. Here are some examples: Genoa’s famous “Strada Nuova,” now Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, and “Strada Balbi,” now Via Balbi (both Dickens [1846] 1998, 39), “the church of the Annunciata” (ibid., 48), and the “Monte Faccio” (ibid., 55) in Genova are mentioned with their Italian names. Also the French original for the dungeon in the Palace of the Popes in Avignon, where about sixty people were killed during the French Revolution in 1791, is given: The people were buried beneath a load of quicklime “in the dismal tower des oubliettes” (ibid., 21, Dickens’s emphasis). The woman who guides the Dickens family through the former rooms of the Inquisition in the Palace of the Popes tells them about her profession as a “Government Officer,” and her original job title in French is given in parentheses: “[S]he told us, on the way, that she was a Government Officer (concierge du palais apostolique), and had been, for I don’t know how many years” (ibid., Dickens’s emphasis). These one-word-interferences render the text more authentic—the place names as well as the job title are verifiable and underline the validity of Dickens’s report and of his own authority. Minor errors, such as the fact that the correct name of the Monte Faccio most likely is Monte Fasce, would probably not be detected by his readers. Furthermore, Dickens uses such one-word-interferences to create atmosphere; he can be quite sure that his Italian travelogue is not the first read by his audience—in fact, he himself in his introduction to the travel book, entitled “The Reader’s Passport,” refers to the “many books [that] have been written upon Italy” (ibid., 5)— and hence can count on his readers’ familiarity with certain terms, such as “vetturíno” (ibid., 60, a cabman or coachman)—a word most readers of travel writing would have already known from other texts. In a similar vein, references to food are given in the original: for instance, Dickens mentions the “real Genoese dishes, such as Tagliarini” and “Ravioli” (ibid., 38) and he watches “sellers of maccaroni and polenta” (ibid., 42–43). Unlike some of the French expressions mentioned above, these Italian words are not translated, and they are not even italicized, thus suggesting the level of familiarity the author expects from his readers. This kind of multilingualism serves to inscribe Dickens and his travelogue into the genre of travel writing. Not only does he recognize and refer to the bulk of travelogues and therefore acknowledge his familiarity with the genre’s history, its topics, and its style; by issuing a passport to the reader, Dickens in addition installs himself as a major authority in the field. What is more, his multilingual insertions present him as an educated, sophisticated traveller who acts as a cultural mediator for his readers; in this manner, the multilingual elements inform the traveller’s/narrator’s auto-image. Later in the text, Dickens even advises his readers on pronunciation: to a number of Italian words, he adds accents that serve to indicate stresses: “Vetturíno” (ibid., 60), “Avvocáto” (ibid., 62), “bambíno” (ibid., 132). On one occasion, in a similar vein, he even imitates the local pronunciation: “Ecco Fióri! Ecco Fior-r-r!” (ibid., 127). This didactic attitude is visible in other instances, too; for example when Dickens guides his readers to supposedly new concepts in Italian or when he briefly describes the long white veil worn by women in the region around Genoa and then calls it by its original name, “the ‘mezzero’” (ibid., 35). Even stronger than before, in these instances, Dickens becomes a guide, perhaps even a teacher to his readers. He does so tongue-in-cheek, yet he never lets go of his superior position upon which, however, he does not reflect. The English white male traveller’s auto-image is that of a distant observer who never loses control or is swept away by what he sees. The fact that he himself is never depicted as using either Italian or French underlines this aspect; the use of multilingualism on the level of the narrative implies that he knows both languages well enough.

At times, Dickens leaves the level of one-word-interferences and switches languages between sentences or, at least, longer phrases (intersentential switching). At one point, he significantly does so when referring to a national stereotype: Dickens cites the phrase “dolce far’ niente” (ibid., 33), which he chooses not to translate. Rather, dolce far’ niente is supposed to be a stereotype known to English readers as something typically Italian, which they will recognize.13 What is more, Dickens chooses an ironic manner to reinforce the cliché: it is some “perfect Italian cows” that enjoy the dolce far’ niente all day long (cf. ibid.) in their stables in a suburb of Genoa. Not only does he exploit the stereotype, but he enforces it by equating Italians and animals. Here Dickens combines multilingualism with irony in order to refer to and trigger the national stereotype of the lazy Italian. He scores by getting his readers’ laughs, reinforces the stereotype, and, at the same time, plays with it by not ascribing it to the Italians directly.

3 Performing Images through Intertextual References

In his travelogue Reisen eines Deutschen in England im Jahre 1782 (Travels in England in 1782), Karl Philipp Moritz describes a relatively short journey of a couple of months, from the end of May to the middle of July in 1782, from London toward the north, to the Peak District and the Peak Cavern at Castleton, an unusual itinerary and destination for German travellers at the time. Moritz then returned south to London via Loughborough, Leicester, and Northampton before sailing back to Germany. Most of the time, he travelled on foot, a mode of traveling that was then quite unusual in England. Heide Hollmer notes that, for the autobiographical narrator in Moritz’s travelogue, literature and nature (at times experienced through literature) are entangled (cf. Hollmer [1783] 2000, 192). In the text, as Hollmer writes, this entanglement becomes visible in the form of a “tissu de citations” (ibid.), a “fabric of quotations,” as Roland Barthes calls it.14 In fact, the travelogue in question is a highly intertextual account in the sense that it engages with literature, other texts, and their authors in different ways. The term “bookish,” which Michel Butor (1974, 14) uses to describe Romantic travel writing, also applies to Moritz’s (slightly earlier) text.15

The author most often referred to in Moritz’s text is John Milton (1608–1674), whose Paradise Lost (1667) he takes with him on the journey. References to Milton’s masterpiece at times are a way of paying homage to the author and the text, but more often than not they are of a dialogic nature and have diverse functions.16 For instance, the description of the edition Moritz carries with him—“For two shillings, I bought a Milton in duodecimo in French binding which is very convenient to carry in my pocket.”17—is used as a starting point for a paragraph on the book market in England, in which Moritz discusses different editions of books, their prices and the places where books can be bought (cf. Moritz [1783] 2000, 32–33). In another instance, the observation that one of Moritz’s landladies reads Milton is used as an example of the fact that in England, the classical authors are read by the people, unlike in Germany, where only the scholars and the middle classes read, but not the common people.18 Moritz by this means suggests the hetero-image of a reading nation, an idea that conforms with the notion of England as the country where the Enlightenment originated. This image becomes even stronger due to the particular example Moritz chooses: he describes how his landlady, and hence a female representative of the common people, reads Milton.

At the same time, the many instances when Moritz pauses along the road in order to read Milton serve to present himself as a reader (cf. Moritz [1783] 2000, 74, 83, 84, 93, 104). Here he is a reader of Milton, but in connection with the references to other English authors in the travelogue, it becomes clear that Moritz has read English literature extensively and is therefore an expert, though one with understatement (and in this way similar to Dickens): his readers may assume—though it is not spelled out explicitly—that he reads all these texts in English, just as his travel edition of Paradise Lost is in English. He even cites from the latter in English without providing translations (this aspect is perhaps less humble on Moritz’s part but implies a certain education and social standing on the part of his readers)19 (cf. Moritz [1783] 2000, 132–133, 155, 168).

Finally, these instances of intertextuality confront us with the reaction of Moritz’s environment. Several times in his travelogue, Moritz mentions that as a walking traveller, many people are rather suspicious of him. At the time, walking was not a common way of traveling in England and those who are neither settled nor traveling by coach or on horseback are suspected to be either beggars or criminals.20 Consequently, Moritz encounters problems in finding accommodation at times, and even has to leave some villages because he is not welcome. This gets even worse when he stops in order to read (Milton’s Paradise Lost) at the side of the road: “[T]he ones riding and driving past stared at me with such amazement and made such unambiguous faces as if they thought me crazy. It must have seemed very odd to them to see somebody sitting next to a public road and reading a book.”21 The process of walking, reading, and thinking that becomes so important to Moritz (and eventually to his alter ego Anton Reiser in Moritz’s later novel of the same title; cf. Hollmer [1783] 2000, 192) and that is an image of illuminated emancipation, is thus presented as something that is often misunderstood or simply seen as crazy by others (such as other travellers, but also, in Moritz’s and Anton Reiser’s case, their families).22 In his travelogue, though, Moritz shares this process with his readers, who are invited to sympathize with him and to understand the threefold experience that is so important to him and, eventually, to partake in it. This intertextual strategy can be identified as part of a rhetoric of sensibility and the mobilization of his readers’ powers of imagination and their sympathies that Alison Martin detects in Moritz’s text (cf. Martin 2003, 2008). Martin identifies Moritz’s concentration on the personal impression of the journey, the reproduction of direct speech, and his descriptions of the sublime; but in the same manner, he uses intertextual references “to make visual and affective reality of the text” (Martin 2003, 86). In so doing, Moritz invites the readers to share the auto-image he gives of the traveller/narrator who, in the end, is just as much a traveller through England as through the Enlightenment project.

4 Conclusion

In his travelogue on Italy, Charles Dickens uses multilingualism for various reasons, many of which feed into the performance of the narrator’s/traveller’s identity and the creation of stereotypes. Dickens employs multilingualism to present himself as a well-instructed traveller who is familiar with the facts and able to convey them to his readers. This auto-image includes language skills—by insertions in French and Italian and guidance on how to pronounce words, Dickens presents himself as someone who knows these two languages well and can even teach them to his readers (together with the facts that are connected with them). Besides, he uses insertions in other languages to create atmosphere, as for instance in the description of the tour of the dungeon in Avignon. Thus Dickens inscribes himself into the tradition of travelogues on Italy by applying the stylistic devices he uses in his novels—irony, humour, social criticism—also in his travel writing. Apart from that, Dickens’s use of multilingualism has an anthropological quality, that is, he uses it to describe what he sees, and stages himself as an attentive observer without really being involved; he does not openly reflect on language but uses it for his own stylistic purposes. Those described—the others—remain rather one-dimensional, if not stereotypical.

In Moritz’s text, intertextual references have multiple functions: on the one hand, he uses them to create the hetero-image of England as a nation of readers. He does so at various points in his text and by allusions on different levels (to the book market, book editions, authors, texts, readers, etc.). On the other hand, Moritz applies intertextuality in order to create an auto-image of himself as a reader and, in particular, as a connoisseur of English literature. Moreover, by presenting his experiences as a traveling reader, he suggests a connection between walking, reading, and thinking, and invites his readers to join him in this practice.

The analysis of two of the aspects of the “grammar” of national stereotypes (to use Leerssen’s term one more time) in travel writing—multilingualism and intertextuality—confirm a focus on the travellers/narrators in these texts that is part of a change of the genre. In fact, from the late eighteenth century onward, the genre of the travelogue undergoes a transformation from encyclopaedic, scientific, and positivist to more literary, openly subjective reports in which the travellers’ experiences and their impressions of the journey come to the fore.23 Accordingly, in these new travelogues, often written by professional writers rather than diplomats or civil servants, it is the self rather than the other that is negotiated.24 This is a trend that has continued to the present day: rather than being about a different place, the majority of travelogues tell us more about the writers/travellers and the cultural, social, and political context they come from.25 The auto-image is often at the centre and feeds into the performance of individual identity. However, the I of the travelogue does not necessarily (or only to a certain extent) identify with his/her readers; rather, there is the attempt to draw a distinct image of the traveller/narrator that may or may not coincide with the image of their readers. Thus the triangle Pfister proposes is probably not enough to take into account all the gazes and (re)presentations that are performed in travel writing. Rather, especially with the development of the travelogue to an ever more subjective report about a unique experience made by a distinct individual (and therefore not repeatable for others, unlike for instance the guide book, a genre that started to emerge at about the same time in the early nineteenth century), the auto-image the individuals give of themselves in the travelogue is an individual one that, to a certain extent, needs to be distinguished from the image of their readers. The analysis of the grammar of national stereotypes in travel writing can provide us with more insight into these different auto- and hetero-images and may eventually lead us to a more complex, nonbinary theoretical model that can tell us more about the emergence and performance of stereotypes. Furthermore, such an analysis approximates imagology and travel writing studies, and helps to examine the function of formal features used in travel writing that hitherto have been neglected.


Research for this article was supported by the European Union as part of the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie-Actions program. The “European Travel Writing in Context: The Socio-Political Dimension of Travelogues 1760–1850” (EUTWIC) project, Individual Fellowship, Grant Agreement No. 751378.


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  • Youngs, Tim. 2013. The Cambridge Introduction to Travel Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


In a similar manner, Ulrike Köhler in her contribution to this volume (part 1, chapter 3) applies a production-oriented imagology to, among others, English travel writing of the Romantic period. She demonstrates how generic elements without a national connotation can also contribute to generating national images.


Moritz’s travelogue was translated into English several times. The titles of these translations vary: the first translation, published in 1795 (and reprinted several times), was Travels, Chiefly on Foot, Through Several Parts of England in 1782, Described in Letters to a Friend. A later translation (based on the first one), published in 1886, was entitled Travels in England in 1782. The translator of these two editions remains anonymous; in the 1795 edition it simply says: “Translated from the German by a Lady.” In 1965 Reginald Nettel published a new translation of Moritz’s text; it was republished in 1983 and 2009 by Eland and is called Journeys of a German in England: A Walking Tour of England in 1782.


This importance is illustrated, for instance, by the structure of Carl Thompson’s introduction to travel writing, where he dedicates one major section to the question of “Revealing the Self” (2011, 96–129) and another to the act of “Representing the Other” (ibid., 130–167).


See, for instance, the absence of references to this critical approach and the relevant terminology in leading introductions to travel writing and travel writing studies such as Hulme and Youngs (2002), Thompson (2011), and Youngs (2013). Individual case studies applying imagological methodology are the exceptions that prove the rule; see for instance Anneli Kõvamees’s research (e.g. 2013) on images in Estonian travelogues.


The reason for the ignorance of imagological approaches in travel writing studies may lie in the fact that imagology was mainly developed in non-Anglophone European contexts, such as France, Germany, and the Netherlands, and “was rejected by more aesthetically-oriented critics” (Leerssen 2018) in Anglophone contexts. The field of literary travel writing studies, however, emerged and is most lively precisely in the Anglophone world, as is confirmed by the introductory works to the field published in English and the two major academic journals in the same language (Studies in Travel Writing and Journeys: The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing).


An example of such an appropriation would be “monarch-of-all-I-survey scenes,” as Mary Pratt has called them (2008, 197–204). In such scenes, quite common in travel writing, the narrators survey the country/region they visit, often from a (geographically) elevated point of view, enumerate what they see (e.g. fertile land, livestock, villages) and in this manner take dominion of it, at least in their mind. Especially in colonial contexts, this often led to or was part of actual political domination. Furthermore, the narrators in this way literally position themselves above the local population and underline their superiority (cf. Thompson 2011, 120–121).


On the distribution of translated travelogues see Martin and Pickford (2012); Scheitler (1999, 17).


See Andrea Horz’s contribution to this volume (part 5, chapter 20) on the role of national ideas in public discourse about the opera in the 1770s.


Recently, Johannes Görbert (2014) has applied a similar “grammatical” approach to travel writing and showed how features such as prefaces and paratexts, among others, serve to create an auto-image of the writers/travellers (in his case Georg Forster, Alexander von Humboldt, and Adelbert von Chamisso).


See Leerssen (2007) and Neumann (2010) who have retained that images are mobile and changeable.


See, for instance, Walgenbach et al. (2007).


On the binary construction of the self and the other in travel writing see for instance Susan Bassnett who claims that travel writing “is premised on a binary opposition between home and elsewhere,” by writing “about oneself” and “the cultural other” (2003, xi).


See Joep Leerssen, who underlines the familiarity which stereotypes have gained through frequent reiteration (2000, 280), and Neumann (2010), who builds on Leerssen’s statement.


In his well-known essay The Death of the Author (1967), see Barthes (1984).


Butor eventually arrives at the conclusion that to travel writers, “travel is writing” (1974, 14, emphasis in the original).


With the term “dialogic” I refer to Manfred Pfister’s systematization of intertextuality in travel writing, see Pfister (1993). By dialogic intertextuality, Pfister means that texts are not just cited or referred to but that the authors inscribe themselves into a literary network and thus become part of a dialogue or conversation. It can also comprise a very critical relation with one’s predecessors, but this is not the case in Moritz.


“Ich habe mir für zwei Schillings einen Milton in Duodez in niedlichem Franzband gekauft, der sich äußerst bequem in der Tasche tragen lässt” (Moritz [1783] 2000, 32). All translations are mine unless indicated otherwise.


“[die] Gelehrten, der Mittelstand” (Moritz [1783] 2000, 32). The saddler whom Moritz meets later while walking northward and who is very familiar with Homer, Horace, and Virgil is another example of this argument.


See Ulrike Köhler, who in a similar vein in her contribution to this volume (part 1, chapter 3) asserts that intertexts in travel writing portray “the implied addressee in the travelogue as an educated member of the middle classes” (Köhler 2022, 106).


This changed significantly shortly after Moritz: for instance, in 1790, William Wordsworth walked through France to Italy; some years later, in 1802, Johann Gottfried Seume walked all the way to Sicily—and there are reports by and on many other wayfarers. On travelling on foot, see Albrecht (1999); Solnit (2000).


“[D]ie Vorbeireitenden und Fahrenden [gafften mich] immer mit einer solchen Verwunderung [an und machten] […] solche bedeutenden Mienen […], als ob sie mich für einen Verrückten hielten, so sonderbar mußte es ihnen vorkommen, einen Menschen an der öffentlichen Landstraße sitzen, und in einem Buche lesen zu sehen” (Moritz [1783] 2000, 83).


Both Karl Philipp Moritz and his protagonist Anton Reiser came from poor, conservative, and pious families who did not support their education and interest in literature.


See for instance Hentschel (2010); Meier (1989; 2007, 447); Scheitler (1999); and for a comprehensive summary of this transformation Thompson (2011, 96–129).


This is not to say that travelogues of a different kind did not continue to exist—rather, less than of a transformation of the whole genre we could speak of the development of new forms of travel writing that complemented other forms. What is more, the focus on the self (e.g. the white, male explorer, but not only) at times meant a complete marginalization of the other, as has been shown in many studies. For an overview on this see for instance Bridges (2002).


Nicolas Bourguinat has described this by comparing the new form of travel writing to windows to the authors’ inner self as opposed to the mirrors of older travelogues (merely reflecting what the authors see). See Bourguinat (2017, 406).

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