Mediating Travel Writing, Mediated China

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  • Title: Mediating Travel Writing, Mediated China: The Middle Kingdom in Travel Books and Blogs
  • Author(s): Stefano Calzati
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: New Directions in the Humanities
  • Keywords: Travel Writing, China, Digital Cultures, Blogs, Books, Transmedial Studies, Western Literatures, Postcolonial Theory, Self and Other, Cultural Identities
  • Year: 2018
  • ISBN (hbk): 978-1-61229-979-2
  • ISBN (pbk): 978-1-61229-980-8
  • ISBN (pdf): 978-1-61229-981-5
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/978-1-61229-981-5/CGP
  • Citation: Calzati, Stefano . 2018. Mediating Travel Writing, Mediated China: The Middle Kingdom in Travel Books and Blogs. Champaign, IL: Common Ground Research Networks. doi:10.18848/978-1-61229-981-5/CGP.
  • Extent: 246 pages

Abstract

What is the cultural value of travel writing today? How is the genre affected by instant communication and digital technology? To these questions Calzati’s book seeks and offers an answer. Tapping into two mirroring desires – the discovery of other cultures and the reaffirmation of one’s own identity – the intertwinement between travel and writing is as old as human history. This is particularly noticeable when travellers from the West go Eastward, especially to China. And yet, while printed travelogues usually provide a representation that – for the better or for worse – fulfills the reader’s interest in the Middle Kingdom, the proliferation of user-generated content on the Web, such as travel blogs, kindles – rather than satisfies – the desire to visit the country, grounded on the account that nowadays “anybody can do it”. In Mediating Travel Writing, Mediated China, Calzati adopts a transmedial and materialist perspective to explore how different medial choices impact on the practices of travelling and writing. The work draws upon texts in different languages – English, French, Italian and Chinese – which eventually question any neat definition of “West” and “China” as geopolitical concepts. By considering travel writing, at once, as an object of study and a conceptual frame, Calzati’s book provides a richly researched and theoretically sound study on contemporary mobility and new forms of textualization. In so doing, the book renovates the discussion on the genre’s literary and political relevance in today’s multicultural societies, while highlighting the culture-dependent use of the Web and digital technologies.