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Eva Oppermann

Travelogues as Memorized Experiences: From Boswell to Boorman/ McGregor

Travelogues as Memorized Experiences: From Boswell to Boorman/ McGregor

In this contribution I investigate how James Boswell manages to depart from the so far usual concept of the travelogue in order to introduce new concepts to the genre: exciting tales from flashbulb memories, and the focus on the traveller’s special, subjective experiences. This development was supported by the influence of Sterne’s Sentimental Journey (1768) and Locke’s and Rousseau’s concepts of subjectivity. This new concept of the travelogue has made Boswell’s Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (1785) a prototype for the contemporary travel report, according to Voßkamp’s (1977) Haller’s (1993), and Botor’s (1999) standards. I will engage in the comparison to Long Way Down (2007) by Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor, the only other pair of travel writers known to me, and examples from other travelogues by, for example, Paul Theroux, Bill Bryson, and Christina Dodwell. All the authors chosen give particularly entertaining additional examples of flashbulb memories presented in the manner of Boswell’s prototype.

Key Words: travel report, flashbulb memory, prototype theory, subjectivity


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