Travel and Modernist Literature
Sacred and Ethical Journeys
Routledge – 2011 – 245 pages
Through close readings of works from Henry James to W. E. B. Du Bois, and from Virginia Woolf to Jean Rhys, this book discusses how fictional travelers negotiate and adapt various tropes of travel (such as quest, expatriation, displacement, and exile) as models for their own journeys. Specifically, Peat considers the ethical dimensions of modernist travel from two distinct vantages. The first focuses on the relationship between the secular and the sacred in modernist travel literature, arguing that the recurrent narrative of secular travel is haunted by a desire for spiritual transcendence. The second posits modernist travel fiction as a potentially positive example of transcultural relations, consciously arguing against the received notion that travel during an imperial era is always by nature itself imperialist. Throughout, particular attention is paid to the transnational nature of modernism and the various global flows traced by modernist literature.
Acknowledgments Introduction: The Spiritual Ethics of Modern Pilgrimage 1: Initiatory Pilgrimage: The Female Pilgrim Comes of Age in Rose Macaulay’s The Towers of Trebizond, E. M. Forster’s A Room With a View and Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out 2: Acquisitive Pilgrimage: Renouncing the Quest in Henry James’s The American and The Ambassadors and E. M. Forster’s Where Angels Fear to Tread and A Passage to India 3: Wandering Pilgrimage: Mobile Expatriatism in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, and Claude McKay’s Banjo 4: Imaginative Pilgrimage: Home and Exile in Jean Rhys’s Voyage in the Dark, Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust, Joyce Cary’s To Be a Pilgrim, and Virginia Woolf’s The Years Epilogue Notes Bibliography Index
Alexandra Peat is Assistant Professor of English at University of Toronto at Scarborough.