Asian Crossings

Travel Writing on China, Japan and Southeast Asia


Edited by Steve Clark and Paul Smethurst

ISBN : 978-962-209-915-9

Literary Studies

July 2008

288 pages, 6″ x 9″

  • HK$225.00

Also available in Hardback HK$395.00

The fourteen chapters in this book examine various topics and contexts of travel writings on China, Japan and Southeast Asia. From the first Colombian on a trade mission to China, to French women travellers in Asia, and the opening of “Japan Fairs” in the US during the latter half of the nineteenth century, this book offers a kaleidoscopic glimpse of the various cultures in the eyes of their beholders coupled with insightful understanding of the various politics and relationships that are involved.

While this book will appeal to expert scholars and students of travel literature and Asian studies, as well as those working on cultural studies, general readers will also find it an interesting and accessible addition to their collections.

Steve Clark is currently visiting professor at the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, University of Tokyo. Among his previous publications are Travel Writing and Empire: Postcolonial Theory in Transit (1999) and The Reception of Blake in the Orient (with Masashi Suzuki, 2006). Current projects include Liberating Medicine 1720–1830 (with Tristanne Connolly), and a collection of essays on the late thought of Paul Ricoeur. Paul Smethurst is an associate professor in the School of English at the University of Hong Kong. His publications include The Postmodern Chronotope: Reading Space and Time in Contemporary Fiction (2000), Travel Writing, Form and Empire: The Poetics and Politics of Mobility (2008) and The Reinvention of Nature: Scientific, Picturesque and Romantic Travel Writing 1760–1840 (forthcoming).

“This timely and clearly focused collection of essays offers an illuminating introduction to accounts of travel to and from China, Japan and Southeast Asia. The travelogues challenge the reader to question many of the assumptions that characterise current studies in travel writing, revealing the richness of context-specific approaches that draw on a variety of journey accounts concerning common geographical zones. Highlighting issues of gender and ethnicity, of genre and history, Asian Crossings is essential reading for all serious scholars of travel literature.” —Charles Forsdick, James Barrow Chair of French, University of Liverpool

“At last a travel book on Asia that is as revisionist as it is invigorating. Steve Clark and Paul Smethurst have produced a collection that will entice and intrigue both the scholar and the general reader. Asian Crossings challenges many of the stock scholarly assumptions about postcolonialism and Orientalism, and puts us in touch with a little-known history that is imperative for the West to understand. This book is as rich, complex and subtle as Asia itself. There is no better illustration of the range of narrative and analysis that can be attained within the genre of travel encounter when it is done with intelligence and flair.” —Iain McCalman, Federation Fellow and Professor of History, University of Sydney

“Turning away from a generalised post-colonial theory approach, the essays in Asian Crossings offer focused and unusually fruitful analyses of the travel writings they discuss. The result is a superb collection, indispensable both for its historical and geographical accuracy and for the freshness and range of its insights.” —Susan Morgan, Distinguished Professor of English, Miami University of Ohio