Paper $29.00 ISBN: 9780226446622 Published April 2017
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The Medieval Invention of Travel

Shayne Aaron Legassie

The Medieval Invention of Travel

Shayne Aaron Legassie

304 pages | 9 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2017
Paper $29.00 ISBN: 9780226446622 Published April 2017
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226442563 Published April 2017
E-book $29.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226442730 Published April 2017
Over the course of the Middle Ages, the economies of Europe, Asia, and northern Africa became more closely integrated, fostering the international and intercontinental journeys of merchants, pilgrims, diplomats, missionaries, and adventurers. During a time in history when travel was often difficult, expensive, and fraught with danger, these wayfarers composed accounts of their experiences in unprecedented numbers and transformed traditional conceptions of human mobility.

Exploring this phenomenon, The Medieval Invention of Travel draws on an impressive array of sources to develop original readings of canonical figures such as Marco Polo, John Mandeville, and Petrarch, as well as a host of lesser-known travel writers. As Shayne Aaron Legassie demonstrates, the Middle Ages inherited a Greco-Roman model of heroic travel, which viewed the ideal journey as a triumph over temptation and bodily travail. Medieval travel writers revolutionized this ancient paradigm by incorporating practices of reading and writing into the ascetic regime of the heroic voyager, fashioning a bold new conception of travel that would endure into modern times. Engaging methods and insights from a range of disciplines, The Medieval Invention of Travel offers a comprehensive account of how medieval travel writers and their audiences reshaped the intellectual and material culture of Europe for centuries to come.
Contents
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Travail and Travel Writing
Part One: Subjectivity, Authority, and the “Exotic”
1. Exoticism as the Appropriation of Travail
2. Travail and Authority in the Forgotten Age of Discovery
Part Two: Pilgrimage as Literate Labor
3. Memory Work and the Labor of Writing
4. The Pilgrim as Investigator
Part Three: Discovering the Proximate
5. Becoming Petrarch
6. The Chivalric Mediterranean of Pero Tafur
Coda: Beyond 15; or, Travel’s Labors Lost
Abbreviations
Notes
Index
Review Quotes
Times Literary Supplement
“An intrepid and thorough explanation for the myriad uses medieval writers found for accounts of their adventures.”
London Review of Books
“Before planes, railways, or steamships, [travel] was inseparable from its etymological twin, travail—both derived from the name of an ancient Roman instrument of torture. . . . Yet travel, for all its hardships, fascinated medieval readers: the most celebrated poems of the age are both travel narratives. . . . An engaging book.”
Steven F. Kruger, Queens College and Graduate Center, City University of New York
“This is an extremely ambitious and accomplished piece of work. Drawing connections among different subgenres, Legassie develops a comprehensive, densely historicized, and theoretically sophisticated argument that moves the study of medieval travel writing into new, unexplored territory.”
Choice
“Legassie has written an ambitious, wide-ranging book that challenges the traditional periodization of this field.” 
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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