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Old Czech books of travel

Zytek, Jakub (2010) Old Czech books of travel. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to reassess the interpretation of early Czech travel writing up to now and to cast fresh light on this field of study in general. The methodological framework, which the thesis draws upon, is represented by Hans Robert Jauss’s theory of reception aesthetics and literary heremeneutics. In Chapter One, the work examines various approaches of how travel writing is defined and classified within contemporary literary theory, looking for a functioning, appropriate, and plausible model of this literary genre. This is provided at the end of the argument. The following chapters present literary analysis of three different Czech books of travel from the 16th and 17th centuries. All these travel narratives are interconnected by the theme of a sacred landscape, its viewing and entering. Chapter Two is dedicated to the travel book Cesta z Čech do Jeruzaléma a Egypta (‘A Journey from Bohemia to Jerusalem and Egypt’) by Martin Kabátník (written about 1500, first published in 1539). I argue that the portrayal of cross-cultural issues should not be interpreted by means of historical anthropology, although this is a very popular method in contemporary research. The problem is that such an approach does not offer an adequate interpretation which would correspond to the then reader’s horizon of expectation or the ideological context of that era. This is why Jauss’s approach is more apt for this purpose. In Chapter Three, I examine the pilgrimage book Putování k Svatému hrobu (‘A Voyage to the Holy Grave’) by Jan Hasištejnský z Lobkovic (written in 1505, first published only in 1834), analysing in particular the ways and techniques of the constant representing of the biblical in the narrative, as well as its impact on the reader. The chapter further examines the narration of the Rhodes episode, depicting the siege of Rhodes in 1480; its covert intentions, as traceable in the author’s voice, and its symbolical resonances. Chapter Four is focused on the travelogue Islandia (‘Iceland’) of Daniel Vetter (first published in 1638). It again argues for Jauss’s method of interpreting literary texts, suggesting how this approach can contribute to a further reading of the travelogue – to viewing it as a manifestation of the contemporary quest for the curious. It also explains the function of references to God within the entire narrative and how the omnipresent curiosity of the depicted constitutes the message permeating the narration. The most significant findings of my research are summarized in the concluding Chapter Five. I argue that each of the three landscapes by the individual authors may be taken as a specific phase of the sacred landscape metamorphosis in the course of time. As a whole, these travel narratives attest that the spiritual and religious thought deeply permeates the literary genre which is regarded to have been essentially secular.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available once any embargo periods have expired
Keywords: travel literature, travelogues, early Czech literature, sacred landscape, cross-cultural issues, Kunstkammer
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PG Slavic, Baltic, Albanian languages and literature
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Slavonic Studies
Supervisor's Name: Culik, Dr. Jan. and Bates, Dr. John M.
Date of Award: 2010
Embargo Date: 8 May 2013
Depositing User: Jakub Žytek
Unique ID: glathesis:2010-1786
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2010
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:46
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/1786

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