Beyond the Ornamental – Nature and depictions of nature in German Travel Writing

The main goal of the project that is envisaged is to explore the significance of nature and depictions of nature in German travel literature since the beginning of the 20th century.

Traditionally literary depictions of nature in travel writing have attracted little academic attention, since they have been regarded as mostly ornamental to theliterary text and of no or little aesthetic value or significance in and of themselves. A notable exception to this tendency is the fairly recent focus on travel writing that is considered as a part of the so-called ‘green canon’. By employing and adapting different methods developed by the field of literary research, including ecocritical analytical perspectives, – for example close textual readings, studies of intertextuality as regards the emergence of literary landscapes, analysis of narrative meta-levels – this study aims to create a new approach focusing on the poetics of modern German travel literature focusing on depictions of nature and their significance for both individual texts and the genre travel writing.