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Travel writing reception theory and the history of reading reconsidering the late Middle Ages

Citation: Coneys, Matthew (2019) Travel writing reception theory and the history of reading reconsidering the late Middle Ages. Studies in Travel Writing, 22 (4). ISSN 1364-5145

Coneys, 'Travel writing reception theory and the history of reading reconsidering the late Middle Ages' .docx

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This article seeks to explore the value of a reader-oriented approach to late medieval European travel writing. It offers a brief overview of the development of reception theory and the ‘history of reading’ before discussing issues related to the definition of the genre in this period. Examining how medieval readers approached the celebrated accounts of Marco Polo and John Mandeville, as well as a broader range of literature pertaining to travel, it argues that reconstructing the contemporary reception of such works can help us to better understand their position in late medieval culture. Particular attention is paid to the permeability of boundaries between fact and fiction, with a case study exploring two literary imitations of travel accounts produced in early fifteenth-century Florence. The article concludes with some considerations regarding the significance of the reader for our understanding of travel writing’s historical development.

Creators: Coneys, Matthew (0000-0003-4129-0289) and
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13645145.2019.1612148
Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rstw20/current
Subjects: Culture, Language & Literature
Keywords: medieval travel writing, pilgrimage, John Mandeville, Marco Polo, history of reading, reception theory
Divisions: Institute of Modern Languages Research
Dates:
  • 20 April 2019 (accepted)

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