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LITS 0170 Medieval Travel Writing

This course examines examples of travel writing from various medieval European languages. Medieval people travelled widely, for a variety of reasons: trade, diplomacy, religious pilgrimage, the lure of the unknown. Some wrote fascinating accounts of their travels and adventures. These narratives are accompanied by accounts of purely imaginary voyages, and of fantastical peoples, kingdoms and marvels. 

Sample Topics

  • The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
  • Marco Polo, Travels
  • The Travels of Ibn Battuta
  • travel writings of Petrarch
  • pilgrimage narratives


 Introductory Reading.

  • Agapitos, P.A. and L.B. Mortensen, eds, Medieval Narratives Between History and Fiction: From the Centre to the Periphery of Europe, c.1100-1400. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013
  • Ohler, N., The Medieval Traveller. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1989
  • Tomasch, S. and S. Gilles, eds, Text and Territory: Geographical Imagination in the European Middle Ages. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997
You never know what you'll find
One afternoon, I left St. Michael's Hall with the desire for a cookie and thought I'd pick one up before heading back to the Bodleian. The shop around...
Gabrielle Linnell, Spring Semester 2012, Wellesley College