The ‘Book’ of Travels: Genre, Ethnology, and Pilgrimage, 1250-1700


The early modern era is often envisioned as one in which European genres, both narrative and visual, diverged indelibly from those of medieval times. This collection examines a disparate set of travel texts, dating from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries, to question that divergence and to assess the modes, themes, and ethnologies of travel writing. It demonstrates the enduring nature of the itinerary, the variant forms of witnessing (including imaginary maps), the crafting of sacred space as a cautionary tale, and the use of the travel narrative to represent the transformation of the authorial self. Focusing on European travelers to the expansive East, from the soft architecture of Timur's tent palaces in Samarqand to the ambiguities of sexual identity at the Mughul court, these essays reveal the possibilities for cultural translation as travelers of varying experience and attitude confront remote and foreign (or not so foreign) space.
Restricted Access


EUR €117.00USD $159.00

Biographical Note

Palmira Brummett, Ph.D. (1988) in History, University of Chicago, is Professor of History at the University of Tenessee. Her work focuses on the rhetorics of cross-cultural encounter in the Afro-Eurasian oikumene.

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
A Note on Translation
Note on Contributors
1. Introduction: Genre, Witness, and Time in the ‘Book’ of Travels, Palmira Brummett
2. Late Medieval Ambassadors and the Practice of Cross-Cultural Encounters, 1250-1450, Joan-Pau Rubiés
3. Ruy González de Clavijo’s Narrative of Courtly Life and Ceremony in Timur’s Samarqand, 1404, David J. Roxburgh
4. Copying Maps by Matthew Paris: Itineraries Fit for a King, Daniel K. Connolly
5. ‘A mirrour of mis-haps,/ A Mappe of Miserie’: Dangers, Strangers, and Friends in Renaissance Pilgrimage, Wes Williams
6. Postcards from the Harem: The Cultural Translation of Niccolao Manucci’s Book of Travels, Pompa Banerjee
Afterword: One Reader Reading, Mary Baine Campbell


Those interested in cross-cultural encounters; the medieval and early modern histories of Europe, the Middle East and South Asia; mapping; the literatures of travel; and narratives of built space.

Index Card

Collection Information