Illusion and Disillusionment: Travel Writing in the Modern Age seeks to understand, expand, and challenge the boundaries of the modern travelogue across several literary traditions. Through an engaging cast of characters—China-bound missionaries, an Indo-Persian diplomat, a Turkish exile in India, a French schoolteacher touring America, Arab students in Moscow, a Japanese woman writer in Europe—this volume extends the study of travel writing beyond the frameworks of colonialism, imperialism, and Orientalism, focusing on the experience of travel itself.
Ranging from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, its eight essays analyze travelers from varied nationalities and social backgrounds, who followed different itineraries, used different means of transportation, and wrote for different audiences. The authors place the East and South Asian, Middle Eastern, and European texts and travelers in their socio-historical contexts. Exploring recurrent themes and structures in a set of travel narratives, these essays contribute to broader comparative and cross-cultural studies of travel, self-writing, and transnational lives.