The Witness and the Other World
Exotic European Travel Writing, 400–1600
Surveying exotic travel writing in Europe from late antiquity to the age of discover, The Witness and the Other World illustrates the fundamental human desire to change places, if only in the imagination.Mary B. Campbell looks at works by pilgrims, crusaders, merchants, discoverers, even armchair fantasists such as Mandeville, as well as the writings of Marco Polo, Columbus, and Walter Raleigh. According to Campbell, these travel accounts are exotic because they bear witness to alienated experiences; European travelers, while claiming to relate fact, were often passing on monstrous projections. She contends that their writing not only documented but also made possible the conquest of the peoples whom she travelers described, and she shows how travel literature contributed to the genesis of the modern novel and the modern life sciences.