chapter  5
Veiled Narratives, Double Identities: Women’s Travelogues about the Middle East
Pages 25

This chapter highlights a genre that appeared in the previous chapter: travel writing. Perhaps more than any other prose genre, the travelogue lives in the schizophrenic space between fact and fi ction, narrative and refl ection, observation and aesthetics. It is, as Patrick Holland and Graham Huggan have suggested, the ‘most hybrid and unassimilable of literary genres’.1 The reader expects a truthfulness and, Barbara Korte reminds us, usefulness from travel writing that she would not necessarily demand of a novel.2 And yet the travelogue obeys the conventions of its genre, whether these relate to structure (e.g., a frame of departure-journey-arrival), imagery (e.g., the terra incognita; going o the beaten track) or the fi gure of the narrator (e.g., the ‘outer’ and ‘inner’ journeys). Given the dual responsibilities to ‘truth’ and to ‘genre’, the travel genre is a particularly appropriate site for explorations of the exotic representation which also oscillates unremittingly between multiple reference points and representational possibilities (romance-realism).