Under Eastern Eyes

A Comparative Introduction to East European Travel Writing on Europe, 1550–2000
ISBN: 
978-963-9776-11-1
cloth
$50.00 / €45.00 / £40.00
Publication date: 
2008
400 pages

Twelve studies explicitly developed to elaborate on travel writing published in book form by east Europeans travelling in Europe from ca. 1550 to 2000. How did east Europeans have positioned themselves with relation to the notion of Europe, and how has the genre of travel writing served as a means of exploring and disseminating these ideas?

A truly comparative and collective work with a substantial introductory study, the book has taken full advantage of the interdisciplinary and comparative potential of the team of project scholars working in the different national literatures, from different disciplinary perspectives.

This is the second volume of a three-part set of East Looks West. Vol. 1. Orientations. An Anthology of East European Travel Writing on Europe. Vol. 3. A Bibliography of East European Travel Writing on Europe.


Foreword
Wendy Bracewell, Alex Drace-Francis

1. Towards a natural history of east European travel writing
Alex Drace-Francis

2. The travel narrative as a (literary) genre
David Chirico

3. The limits of Europe in east European travel writing
Wendy Bracewell

4. ‘They are laughing at us’: Hungarian travellers and early modern European identity
Graeme Murdock

5. Travels through the Slav world
Wendy Bracewell

6. The Odyssey of national discovery: Hungarians in Hungary and abroad, 1750-1850
Irina V. Popova-Nowak

7. European identity and Romantic irony: Juliusz Slowacki’s journey to Greece
Maria Kalinowska

8. Metaphor and monumentality: The travels of Nicolae Iorga
Andi Mihalache

9. Oh, to be a European! What Rastko Petrović learnt in Africa
Zoran Milutinović

10. Excursions into national specificity and European identity: Mihail Sebastian’s interwar travel reportage
Diana Georgescu

11. The Cold-War traveller’s gaze: Jan Lenica’s 1954 sketchbook of London
Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius

12. Images of the West in Bulgarian travel writing during socialism (1945-1989)
Rossitza Guentcheva

Notes on contributors

"Nearly all of the travelers discussed in this volume, from seventeenth-century Hungarian students ot the Reformed Church to Bulgarians who ventured west during the Cold War, seem preoccupied with their own Europeanness and where their homelands fit within an imagined geography of Europe. The editors deserve high praise for a volume with a well-defined subject, common research questions, and a coherent argument about imagined geographies and Europeanness. The accompanying bibliography and the editors' contributing essays reveal a deep knowledge of eastern European travel writing that has resulted from many, many hours of careful research."
"The volume qualifies as a 'comparative' introduction covering a wide geographical and chronological range (from early modern history until the end of the bipolar world order), involving articles that are mostly excellent studies on their particular topic. Under Eastern Eyes can be recommended not only to readers interested in matters of Eastern European collective identities, since the studies it contains are also stimulating texts illustrating different methodological ways to combinee diverse levels of research and interpretation within the wider field of intellectual history."
This interesting and rich volume considers the east European as traveler--in particular, as a traveler about Europe, one who has produced travel writing that sheds light on what it means to be European. It represents part of a conscientious attempt to lay the foundations for all future study of the phenomenon. A major step in the direction of laying a solid foundation for the systematic study of east European travel writing. The opening three chapters neatly set the stage for further investigations. They, and the other pieces, should be welcome additions in courses dealing with travel and tourism as well as depictions of East and West."
"Ein scharfsinniges, überlegt komponiertes Buch, das auf eindrücklichen Literaturstudien fusst. Die Fallstudien eröffnen zwar keinen brisant neuen Einsichten in den östlichen Blick auf 'Europe', vertiefen und erweitern aber bekannte Aspekte des Ost-West-Verhältnisses um reiche und nicht zuletzt auch stilistisch brilliante Facetten. Der Sammelband und die umfassende Bibliographie seien all jenen empfohlen, die sich für einen umfassenden kontext, in den der mobile Mensch eingebettet is, interressieren."
"An important contribution to European studies conceived in the broadest possible sense. They should find room in university and personal libraries next to other recent efforts to write and map the literary and cultural histories of Central and Eastern Europe."
"An interesting mix of analyses by practitioners of different disciplines. A commendable attempt at assessing the present state of travel writing about east Europe. The time has come to explore the way different writing modes, contexts, and publishing strategies contributed to east European travelers' representations of Europe."
"Commentators on the travel genre must likewise be selective in view of the fast growing bulk of diverse critical work on it. The book under review testifies to the widening scope of research of this kind. It focuses on East European travel writing and, as its editors point out in their Foreword, is the first work of criticism to analyse it ‘in a systematic fashion’, thus filling gaps in both the study of travel writing and in research ‘into the development of personal and collective identities’ in the ‘old’ continent’s eastern parts. One of the purposes behind Under Eastern Eyes is to introduce much needed clarity into the analysis of European cultural mapping, an area of interdisciplinary inquiry that has been developing with exceptional vigour since the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. Under Eastern Eyes brings together different strands of inquiry, ranging from genre criticism and narratology, through postcolonial... more