American Travel and Empire

BookAmerican Travel and Empire

American Travel and Empire


September 1st, 2009





In this collection leading scholars in the field examine the interfaces between narratives of travel and of empire. The term ‘American’ is used here in the hemispheric sense and ‘American travel writing’ includes both writing about America by visitors and writings by Americans abroad. The contributors are recognized specialists in different periods of American literature and travel writing. The essays explore the ways in which descriptions of the landscapes and peoples of colonized territories shaped perceptions of these areas; the transmission images and metaphors between colony and metropole; the othering of non-scribal cultures as ‘primitive’ or ‘wild’; the deployment of representations of encounters between European and other cultures in order to critique or reinforce European or American values and cultural practices; the tacit assumptions of cultural or economic hegemony underlying U.S. or European travel writing.

This expansive and diverse collection demonstrates that the concept of empire was, as it continues to be, a formative and framing presence in American travel writing.

Journal of American Studies, 44

This rich collection of essays suggests ways in which the multiple discourses of travel have always been integral to conceptions of American political power and cultural identity.

Paul Giles, University of Oxford

University of Oxford

Author Information

David Seed is Professor of English at the University of Liverpool.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Notes on Contributors
1. What Are We Doing Here? Scenarios for Early English Colonies in North America (Donald Ross)
2. 'The Lies of a Distant Traveller'? The Travel Writing of Louis de Hennepin
3. French Representation of Niagra: From Hennepin to Butor (Charles Forsdick)
4. 'Come to these Arcadian Regions where there is Room for Millions': Citizen Imlay and the Empire in the West (Will Verhoeven)
5. The Conquest of Antiguity: The Travelling Empire of John Lloyd Stephens (Gesa Mackenthum)
6. 'A Confusion of Unwashed and Shabbily Dressed People': Nineteenth-Century Americans and Urban Britain (Shirley Foster)
7. Sunny Tropic Scene's: US Travel Writers in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Peter Hulme)
8. Henry James and the 'Swelling Act of the Imperial Theme' (Peter Rawlings)
9. The Pacifist Traveller: Kate Crane-Gartz (Tim Young)
10. American Ambassadors: Travellers in the Cold War (David Seed)
11. In the Missionary Position: Emily Prager in China (Judie Newman)