Undoubtedly, the popularity of travel writing is due to its theme, which truly encompasses the world. As we shall see, in some periods and for some types of journey, travellers were bound by directions which prescribed the course of their journeys and, in turn, affected the content and manner of their accounts. There are also, however, numerous accounts which let their travellers roam the world freely and which illustrate the genre’s particular potential to assemble a wealth of observations, experiences and reflections. It is no accident that the term omnium-gatherum is found repeatedly in studies of travel writing: in the medley of a travel account, everything can potentially be included which the traveller/Writer sees fit.


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  1. 5.
    A more recent example of parallel reporting is provided by Jonathan Raban’s Coasting (1986) andGoogle Scholar
  2. Paul Theroux’s Kingdom By the Sea (1983). Raban sailed around his native Britain at around the same time as the American, Paul Theroux, explored England by land. Their paths crossed in Brighton, but when Raban later read the Brighton episode in Theroux’s Kingdom, he found that ‘[t]here wasn’t a single start of recognition for me in his two pages: what he described was not at all what I remembered. But then memory, as Paul had demonstrated with his forearm lying flat on the table at Wheeler’s, is a great maker of fictions’ (Coasting, p. 199).Google Scholar

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© Catherine Matthias 2000

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  • Barbara Korte

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