Travelling is like dreaming.

The difference is that not all, awakening,

remember something, while everyone keeps warm

the memory of the goal to which he returned.

Edgar Allan Poe


“Il Milione” by Marco Polo is the first great example of travel literature,  born on the merchant route, which continues, in the sixteenth century, with tales of heroic stories of crusades, conquests and pilgrimages.

The travel story establish itself as a cultural phenomenon in the late seventeenth century, when intellectuals and writers  visited Europe for long periods. The "grand tour" is a process of formation of the young aristocrats which considers Italy as the main destination. The eighteenth-century trip is also imaginary, like the one in "Candide" by Voltaire or in "Gulliver's Travels" by Swift and represented even by travel diaries by sea such as those by Captain James Cook.

In the following centuries  travel writing is consolidated thanks to the testimonies of writers such as Goethe, Chateaubriand and Dickens.

In the nineteenth century, and partly in the twentieth century, the greatest writers describe landscapes through its intellectual sensitivity, on a journey that is also an inner journey.

In the literature of the twentieth century the journey becomes an expression of man's disorientation that wanders in search of a lost identity as Leopold Bloom in  "Ulysses" by Joyce..

 © Copyright Nadia Ballini

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