Orientalism, Occidentalism and Cosmopolitanism: Balkan Travel Writings on Europe Cover Image
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Ориентализъм, оксидентализъм и космополитизъм: Балкански пътеписи за Европа
Orientalism, Occidentalism and Cosmopolitanism: Balkan Travel Writings on Europe

Author(s): Wendy Bracewell
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Институт за литература - BAN

Summary/Abstract: Travel writing’s manipulations of Orient and Occident for a whole variety of purposes may have reinforced the concept of an East/West dichotomy dividing up the world, but especially by applying these labels within the writer’s own society they have also helped detach notions of ‘the West’ from any geographical reference point. The Orient can exist within the very heart of Western Europe, its presence marked by burek, or the state of the toilets, while the Occident is everywhere by now. In this writing, ‘East’ and ‘West’ become the coordinates of a purely moral map, rather than a physical one, something which at least implies the possibility of choice and change. Similarly, cosmopolitan travellers may have denied the salience of the East/West divide in ways that only allowed a few to escape, but even such limited re-mappings of the world invite readers to imagine themselves as equal members of a more inclusive community. It’s a starting point — modest, but real. Travel writing from the Balkans, in the end, is a hybrid genre in more that one way. It has perpetuated systems of difference that operate at the expense of others, but at the same time it has opened up different ways of seeing the world, mixing up margins and centres, positive and negative, both to reinforce and to challenge the travellers’ own societies’ social and political practices.

  • Issue Year: 2005
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 61-73
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: Bulgarian