Travel Documents & Documentation (MSA 17, Boston, MA, Nov 19-22)
Despite the ubiquity of the peripatetic figure in the modernist text, the early twentieth century is marked by persistent tensions on the traveller: as technological innovations granted greater mobility, the state moved to restrict motion. By the 1880s, transatlantic steamship crossing, once a weeks-long affair, could be completed in a mere five days, yet the introduction of mandatory passports in the West about 1914 meant the global traveler faced increasing juridical restrictions on their movement. These forces share a common thread: they are structured and made possible by paperwork. From the tickets, itineraries, and packing lists carried aboard steamships; to the passports and visas facilitating border crossings; to the letters of introduction and bank transfers cushioning the traveler's arrival, the early twentieth century traveler's movement was nothing if not well documented. While much of this ephemera was discarded by the traveller or their executor, some has taken on a more permanent status on the pages of books, or in writers' archives. This panel explores the role travel documentation plays in writing from the first half of the twentieth century.
Potential questions include (but are not limited to):
-How does the ephemera of travel appear in modernist literature?
-How can we use archival evidence of a writer's travels to understand their work?
-What relationship exists between travel documentation and fictional or non-fictional accounts of travel?
Please submit 250-300 word abstracts to Nissa Cannon firstname.lastname@example.org by April 10.