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.
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