A Bibliography of North-American Dissertations on Travel (1995-2002)

Article excerpt

The following bibliography lists all dissertations, completed at American and Canadian universities, written about travel literature from 1995 to 2002; it continues the work done by Risa K. Nystrom in "A Bibliography of North-American Dissertations on Travel (1961-1995)," published in Annali d'Italianistica (14 [1995]: 663-84). The bibliography was compiled from searching Pro Quest Digital Dissertations, the electronic version of Dissertation Abstracts International. The format for each entry is a number which will be used for the indexing, the name of the author of the dissertation, the dissertation title, the adviser's name, and the institution where the dissertation was completed. The bibliography is arranged in chronological order by the year in which the degree was granted. This bibliography, written in October 2002, was updated in March 2003 to include as many of the 2002 dissertation titles as possible. While searching in Digital Dissertations for these titles, I found other titles from earlier years that I now wish to include; these titles have been appended to the list of the year when the dissertation was defended, with a letter after the number

For my search terms, I used the following keywords: travel, travel writing, travel literature, travel accounts, journey, voyage, and pilgrimage. Following Nystrom, I limited the titles to those dissertations that focus on the idea of travel as expressed in written form, whether factual or fictional, as well as those exploring (and sometimes expanding) the conventions of the genre of travel writing.

In terms of trends, I would like to point out that more dissertations are written on nineteenth-century authors than on authors from other time periods. Also, most of the authors examined in these dissertations come from the United States or Britain; as Nystrom noted, this fact is probably the result of the dissertations having been written at American or Canadian institutions. A comparison of Nystrom's list of writers cited (those mentioned in at least three dissertations) with the list at the end of this bibliography shows that, although many authors, such as Defoe and Twain, continue to be studied, the canon continues to expand--especially in regards to women writers.

It is difficult to follow the categorizing of another person, so I have created my own, based on Nystrom's categories. I have shortened the list of critical categories in order to have room to assign a title to two categories, and I have reorganized the fictional and non-fictional genres. I wanted to indicate in some way the complexity of the dissertations because most do not easily fit under just one critical topic. For example, a dissertation that studies one or more women writers is making a critical point beyond the fact of gender categorization. Also, many dissertations compare authors from different time periods or countries of origin; some dissertations compare the fictional and non-fictional writings by the same author. Indeed, the genre of travel literature implies some type of comparison in that the author of the work is consciously or unconsciously comparing his or her own country with the country in which he or she is traveling. This analysis of similarities and differences is often tied to an exploration of the author's own identity or the identity of a particular country, religion, or ethnic group (or a combination of these); the notion of alterity is thus an essential part of all travel writing. Therefore, I have often indexed a particular title in two categories listed under critical issues and topics. I have done my best to place all dissertations into a time frame, country of origin and destination, and in a genre, as well as into a critical category; because I am working from an abstract--or sometimes from only the title--the information is as accurate as it can be without an examination of the entire dissertation. In conclusion, this bibliography is proof that the genre of travel literature continues to be the focus of scholarly interest and that the canon is expanding. …