The Golden Age of Adventure Travel Writing


Facilitators: Nancy and Kent Brown, 672-8401, kent.c.brown@comcast.net                                     Dates: Fridays, March 27 - May 15, 2015 (Eight Weeks)
Time: 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Text: No text, presentation required, class limited to 20


This class will focus on the "Golden Age" of adventure travel writing between approximately 1850 -1950. Participants will select a first person account probably written by an American or European traveler/adventurer/author who traveled to largely unknown (at that time) parts of the world. These journeys could have been to Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, Australia, the Americas, the Arctic or Antarctica. Their travels may have ranged from months or even years and when they returned home they wrote a book about their adventures. These first person accounts amazed, delighted and sometimes shocked their audiences in the "civilized" world.


The book selected should be the account by an individual, couple or small group who traveled to far off "Whatzitstan" primarily for the adventure of being the first, or one of the first, Westerners to visit that "exotic" part or the world. The focus should be on small scale, rather than government funded expeditions. The book you select may be chosen primarily by geographic area, or by author: Isabella Bird, Joseph Rock, Heinrich Harrer, Roy Chapman Andrews, Anne Morrow and Charles Lindbergh, Thor Heyerdahl, Richard Byrd, etc., etc. Their travels may have been primarily by air, sea, land, or ice! Participants will be asked to report on a book of their choosing. Class members should come to the first class session with the title and author of at least two books (in case of conflicts). If desired two people may read and share the presentation on the same book. Each presentation will be followed by class discussion. Discussion may cover not only the book and its author, but also the cultural, social, political, economic, etc. implications of the book when it was written and how it was received at the time, and how the author and the book are viewed today. Did Admiral Peary actually reach the North Pole and why did he want to?