Zum Problem Mythischer Strukturen im Reisebericht

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The purpose of this paper is to suggest a structural approach of travel literature and to avoid the usual ideological or imagological way of interpreting travel accounts as mere documents of social life or individual idiosyncrasies. Without going so far as to consider travel accounts as fictional texts in their own right, the following approach is based on the supposition that every coherent narrative text is structured in analogy to myth. Applied to the literature of travel this means that the reader is invariably confronted with an archetypal pattern of departure and return and that, moreover, every journey may be interpreted as a transgression and as an initiation into the Other. This essay would like to give some precise examples taken from French literature and chosen so as to illustrate the great epistemological epochs from the Middle Ages up to modern times.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2000

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