Travel literature has been described by Jonathan Raban as literature's red-light district. It defies peoples' beliefs, confuses expectations, crosses disciplinary boundaries and is linked to ethgraphy, journalism and biography. Yet for all that has managed to remain t only a visible but also an increasingly popular literary genre. This anthology makes an entertaining and insightful contribution to this engaging field. It includes extracts from well kwn writers, such as Thackeray, Boll and Chesterton, but also presents less familiar figures from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The seventy pieces collected here both offer sharp observations of the country and are equally revealing about the travelers themselves. Each extract, where possible, is prefaced by a brief biography of its author. For readers interested in the origins and historical role of travel writing in general, and how they relate to Ireland, the editor offers an illuminating introduction. This anthology presents illuminating snapshots of Ireland over two hundred years. It also provides insights into the varied perspectives of the travelers themselves, a perspective often influenced by contemporary political events such as the Great Famine, Home Rule, the Civil War and the Troubles.
This anthology leaves the reader with an enduring image of Ireland's ability to fascinate and stimulate visitors through two centuries.