The Modernist Traveler considers figures whose writing about travel rebelled against a literary tradition of exoticism, adventure stories, and novelistic travelogues. Instead these writers initiated a modernist strain in travel writing and a shift in the literary establishment and the culture at large. Kimberley J. Healey focuses on those French writers and thinkers who traveled in order to experience a displacement of both the inner self and the physical body while writing against the prevalent tradition of travel literature.
The modern self, modern time, colonial spaces, and the physical body are Healey’s concerns as she reads works by Victor Segalen, Paul Morand, Blaise Cendrars, Henri Michaux, Saint-John Perse, Guillaume Apollinaire, Paul Nizan, Albert Londres, Andre Malraux, Valéry Larbaud, and Isabelle Eberhardt. This book shows how, in the field of French literature, these texts about travel best capture the modernist experience of being alone in a world of new technologies, cultural diversity, and anxiety about the self.