Charting the Empire: The Colonial Eye in Travellers’ Accounts

Mary Roussou-Sinclair - Special Teaching Staff, Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, University of Cyprus



In 18th-century Europe there was an unprecedented expansion and development of European travellers’ accounts. New chapters in topographical and scientific discovery were opened. 18th-century travels and travel literature were closely associated with colonial ambitions on the part of Great Britain and France in the territory of the Ottoman Empire, of which, of course, Cyprus constituted a part.

Through examining the narrative of a consul, Alexander Drummond, which takes the form of a series of letters, the minutely researched text of a bishop, Richard Pococke, and the book of a man of letters, Volney – works by two British travellers and a Frenchman, this paper considers both the potential and the unavoidable limitations of a genre which aims, not merely at the amassing and publication of information, but at creating the intellectual environment for an expansion of the European powers’ political and economic interests in the Near and Middle East.



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