“Inspired Journeys: Travel Writers in Search of the Muse” edited by Brian Bouldrey

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Bouldrey, Brian (editor). “Inspired Journeys: Travel Writers in Search of the Muse”, University of Wisconsin Press, 2016.

Different Paths

Amos Lassen

In looking for their muses, writers take a variety of paths. Some search for legends, others look for artistic inspiration or spiritual epiphany or just the fulfillment of promise. They set out on pilgrimages that become redemptive and very serious yet they suspend the rules and find both absurdity and exuberance”. The individual essays by such writers as Trebor Healy, John Beckman, Raphael Kadushin, Lucy Jane Bledsoe and Goldie Goldblum (to name just five of the seventeen included here span such places as “Dracula’s castle, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s prairie, the Grimms’ fairy-tale road, Mayan temples, Nathaniel West’s California, the Camino de Santiago trail, Scott’s Antarctica, the Marquis de Sade’s haunted manor, or the sacred city of Varanasi”. These are journeys that are all worthwhile for each author and reading about them give us insights and anecdotes that are totally entertaining.

Today, with the Internet, we can travel to wherever we want without ever having to leave home but real travelers actually “travel” and those who do, as in this book, are pilgrims. The essays we read here are not just about the destination but also about getting to that destination. Each journey here is original and we see that the desire to go somewhere else is a “moral oblivion”. Each writer here answers the question of what is a pilgrimage and those definitions are what make up this book. Each journey made here is built on “fun” and the joy it brings.

 

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