'Homo Viator', or on the Motif of Journeys in Medieval and Modern Texts
Słowa kluczowepilgrimage, travel narrative, Saracen romances, anchoress
AbstraktMedieval Christians perceived themselves as pilgrims, or peregrini, with the concept of pilgrimage identified as the emblem of an individual life’s journey. Thus, for medieval people traveling in time and space had a spiritual dimension. They journeyed not to be amused but to be spiritually enriched. The aesthetics of travel has recently acquired the status of a popular subject. Together with the rise of post-colonial studies, contemporary literary criticism has taken pains to discuss the issues related to the discovery of new lands and the exploration of hitherto unexplored territories. The present article is a voice in this debate as it investigates the notion of homo viator, man as a “traveling animal”. It analyzes the seemingly contentious concepts of the aesthetics and didacticism of travel found in medieval and contemporary literature in English. In what follows, I will discuss three types of medieval voyages: the final passage, the anchoritic journey within oneself, and the expedition of exploration as manifested in drama, mystical treatises and (the Saracen) romances and their respective renditions by modern authors.
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