I went to a great talk by Melanie Ord last week, she was talking about 17th Century travel writers, and there was some interesting stuff about digression in walking and digression in writing, and a place as a digression.

And some images i hadn’t seen before from “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.” by Laurence Sterne.

The lines that describe the narrative really remind me of gps lines, there are particular spikes in the lines that remind me of data spikes in gps lines.  When we were working on our Landlines software we were surprised when our programmer ironed out these errors in the data. We had thought the inaccuracies as metaphors for the mind wandering whilst walking, when you realise you hadn’t really been thinking about where you were going and your mind was somewhere else, to our programmer they were just errors.

Tristram Shandy

tristram shandy

Melanie Ord, Dept of English, University of the West of England

Methodological Innovation in Seventeenth-Century Travel Writing

This paper explores the discourse on method in seventeenth-century travel texts and pays particular attention to John Dunton’s Voyage Round the World (1691), an experimental travel report that privileges the narrative personality of the traveller over the scenes he witnesses. The paper considers Dunton’s attempts to establish literary digression as a form of travel for both reader and writer. It also discusses his travel narrative alongside that of Thomas Coryat (whom Dunton recalls and rivals), considering the impact of Coryat’s travel text and its critical reception on Dunton’s own self-representation, and exploring ways in which Dunton further develops the association made in the pages of Coryat’s Crudities (1611) between the personality of the traveller-writer and form and style of his book.”

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