The history and influence of travel writing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


What influences the desire to travel can be many and varied, especially in today’s fast-paced and media dominated world. One of the most profound influences throughout history has been that of the written word. Written accounts of other travellers and their experiences, whether in diary form, that of a novel, a poem or a dedicated guidebook can have an intense impact on the tourist in a myriad of ways. This chapter examines such history and influence from the writers of ancient Greece and the Song dynasty in China (960-1279 AD) to the time of the Grand Tour in Europe (18th and 19th century), from the rise of the dedicated travel guide book to the role of the dramatic novel, culminating in the advent of the travel blogger and digital influencer of today’s modern world. The role such writing plays on the traveller, from inspiration and desire to seek out such places and connections depicted, to the experiences sought at the destination and the merging of the imagined with the reality of place are all examined. The chapter draws this together to provide new insights, from early writing to modern digital influence and the profound link that exists between travel and the written word.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Publishing and the Culture of Books
EditorsAlison Baverstock, Richard Bradford, Madelena Gonzalez
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781315778389
ISBN (Print)9780415750226, 9780367443153
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 Jan 2020


  • travel writing
  • literature
  • literary tourism
  • travel motivation


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