How people traveled, and how people wrote about travel, changed in the interwar years. Novel technologies eased travel conditions, breeding new iterations of the colonizing gaze. The sense that another war was coming lent urgency and anxiety to the search for new places and “authentic” experiences. In Interwar Itineraries: Authenticity in Anglophone and French Travel Writing, Emily O. Wittman identifies a diverse group of writers from two languages who embarked on such quests. For these writers, authenticity was achieved through rugged adventure abroad to economically poorer destinations. Using translation theory and new approaches in travel studies and global modernisms, Wittman links and complicates the symbolic and rhetorical strategies of writers including André Gide, Ernest Hemingway, Michel Leiris, Isak Dinesen, Beryl Markham, among others, that offer insight into the high ethical stakes of travel and allow us to see in new ways how models of the authentic self are built and maintained through asymmetries of encounter.
“This book offers a valuable account of literary activity in a genre still inadequately covered in literary-critical history. Emily Witt- man organizes her material through pairings and contextualizing that are instructive and illuminating and often exciting . . . This is comparative literature at its best.” —Vincent Sherry, Washington University
Emily O. Wittman is an associate professor of English at the University of Alabama. She is the author of The New Midlife Memoir (Routledge, 2022) and the co-editor (with Maria DiBattista) of The Cambridge Companion to Autobiography (2014) and Modernism and Translation (Cambridge UP, 2014). She is a translator of the French philosopher Félix Guattari.