Creative Writing: Travel Narratives

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Creative Writing: Travel Narratives

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Creative Writing

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    18 200-level ENGL points

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    A practical course on writing travel narratives, with an emphasis on examining noted examples of travel writing from throughout history.

    Ishmael's attempts to represent the homeland of Queequeg are frustrated by the difficulty of faithfully rendering the foreign into familiar terms.

    As every travel writer knows, maps and books tell only part of the truth. By what process does the traveller describe, interpret and represent people and places that are other to him?

    Among the chief characteristics that will be examined in this paper are the role of the narrator/traveller; a narrative style that borrows from fiction; the representation of the strange and exotic in ways that familiarise and distance the foreign; a concern with language and literature; and thematic concerns that go beyond descriptions of people and places visited.

    Students will create their own travel narratives by employing the techniques learnt from examining and assessing the travel narratives written by others.

    Course Structure
    ENGL 337 is taught in one 2-hour workshop each week of the semester. The first half of the semester will be devoted to reading and analysing the techniques of travel narratives, and the second half of the semester will be devoted to workshopping your own travel writings.

    Learning Outcomes
    Students who complete this paper will have achieved the following results:
    - Developed a familiarity with and knowledge of significant examples of travel narrative literature
    - Developed the necessary critical thinking skills required to assess travel narrative literature
    - Developed an awareness and understanding of the techniques and methods used in writing travel narratives
    - Developed the skills and knowledge to write travel narratives independently
    - Developed the skills and knowledge of the writing process, particularly the process of revision and editing of writing

    Chatwin, Bruce, The Songlines (Penguin, 2001)
    Greene, Graham, Journey without Maps (Penguin, 2006)
    Macintosh-Smith, Tim, Travels with a Tangerine (Random, 2004)
    Steinbeck, John, Travels with Charley (Penguin, 1980)
    Theroux, Paul, The Pillars of Hercules (Penguin, 1996)
    Davidson, Robyn, Tracks (Bloomsbury, 2013)

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