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Victorian Poetry, Drama and Miscellaneous Prose 1832–1890$
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Paul Turner

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198122395

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198122395.001.0001

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(p.361) 18. Travel
Victorian Poetry, Drama and Miscellaneous Prose 1832–1890

Paul Turner

Oxford University Press

Victorian travel-writers were keen anthropologists. Faced by difficulties almost as great as Polyphemus or Scylla and Charybdis, some earned the status of epic heroes. Some were mere ‘wanderers’, even tourists, trying to escape the pressures of urbanisation, but most of those mentioned here were in some sense explorers, or else pursued some interest like biology, geology, archaeology, or missionary work, which added an extra dimension to the story of their adventures. Travellers also tended to be individualists, intent on projecting and justifying their own personalities. So the travel-book of the period was often a rich mixture of elements from other genres, from epic, the picaresque novel, the scientific or religious treatise, and from autobiography. Charles Darwin’s Journal of Researches on the voyage of the Beagle recorded the initial field-work that led to his theory of evolution.

Keywords:   travel-writers, wanderers, urbanisation, explorers, travellers, epic, picaresque novel, religious treatise, autobiography, Charles Darwin

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