15 June, 2021

Travelling Light

Journeys -- literal, figurative, metaphorical, spiritual, short, endless: you name it.

Travelling Light
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Journeys more than "hops over the self-imposed borders of travel writing", as the blurb says. It obliterates them. There are people on the road, on the run, on holiday. In prison, in exile, in transit. Reluctant tourists, brave explorers, shell-shocked journalists, blithe diarists, prisoners, slaves, kings, poets, dreamers, painters, philosophers. These journeys are literal, figurative, metaphorical, spiritual, short, endless: you name it.

There is Joan Didion on the ‘disappeared’ El Salvador; Kafka on the horrors of jolly Swedish naturists; Rebecca West trying to untangle the knotty plait of Serb, Croat and Slav; Ernest Hemingway with an oddly dispassionate piece on bullfighting in Spain; Captain Cook encountering cannibalistic New Zealanders; W.H. Auden adrift in Iceland; Robert Antelme’s harrowing treatment as a Nazi prisoner at the end of World War II.

A good anthology should be a smorgasbord: a selection of tidbits to whet your appetite. Certainly the tasters of Antelme, Cherry-Garrard, Pankaj Mishra and Walter Benjamin left me wanting more. But how does...

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