Manning’s Sentimental Journey

  • Laurie Hovell McMillin


hile Bogle and Turner might have had interesting trips, their accounts of their journeys do not yet culminate in epiphanies. This “failure” to epiphanize is due not to some defect in their psychological make-up but rather to the historical lack of textual models and cultural conventions that make such transformation possible, among other factors. In their day, such momentous internal movements were not yet part of secular travel. One might expect to be educated, one might reflecton one’s home culture, one might return with some interesting artifacts and information, but one did not yet expect from secular journeys a kind of spiritual revelation. But even as Bogle and Turner traveled to Tibet, a movement was already underway that would help to make such revelations possible: the Romantic refashioning of the journey/pilgrimage motif. As M. H. Abrams argued in 1971, so-called Romantic writing reinterpreted standard Christian concepts within a new frame of reference; as he notes, Romantic writers undertook “to save traditional concepts, schemes, and values which had been based on the relation of the Creator to his creature and creation, but to reformulate them within the prevailing two-term system of subject and object, ego and non-ego, the human mind or consciousness and its transactions with nature.”1


Qing Dynasty East India Company Tibetan Interpreter Romantic Writer Chinese Servant 
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  1. 1.
    M. H. Abrams, Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature (NewYork: Norton, 1971), p. 13.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Peter Bishop, The Myth of Shangri-La: Tibet, Travel Writing and the Western Creation of Landscape (Berkley: University of California, 1989), p. 46.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Qtd. in Clements Markham, N arratives of the M ission of George B ogle to T ibet and of the Journey of T homas M anning to L hasa (New Delhi: Manjusri, 1971 [1876]), p. clx.Google Scholar
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    Qtd. in Markham, N arratives, p. 228.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    George Woodcock, Into Tibet: The Early British Explorers (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1971) p. 208.Google Scholar
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    Thomas Manning, “Journey of Mr. Thomas Manning to Lhasa,” in Markham, Narratives, p. 217. Subsequent citations are noted by page number in the text.Google Scholar
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    FrancisYounghusband, India and Tibet (London: John Murray, 1910), p. 250.Google Scholar
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    Bogle, Mss. Eur. E226/25, 10 March 1775. See Markham, Narratives, p. 177.Google Scholar
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    Manning uses the Chinese term for the regent, who is Demo Rinpoche II.Google Scholar
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    Donald S. Lopez, Jr., “New Age Orientalism: The Case of Tibet,” Tricycle (Spring 1994), p. 40.Google Scholar
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    Donald S. Lopez, Jr., Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), pp. 5–6.Google Scholar

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© Laurie Hovell McMillin 2001

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  • Laurie Hovell McMillin

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