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Kai Mikkonen

The Narrative is Travel Metaphor: Between Spatial Sequence and Open Consequence
The understanding of narratives is closely tied to the experience of travel. In narrative theory, the travel story features regularly as either the model narrative or the model for narrative. In Vladimir Propps classic study of story grammar, for instance, the narrative functions are structured along a travel pattern between the heros departure and return. In more recent narratology and literary history, and in certain interdisciplinary approaches to the study of narrative, the notion of travel may even function as a code or key revealing how the narrative works. In the history of the novel, travel writing has helped to shape the genre. Narratives of travel to exotic lands have informed the modern novel with detailed foreign settings and a sense of authenticity in viewpoint.1 Since the time of the Greek epics different types of journeythe quest, the odyssey, and the adventurehave served as powerful masterplots in literary narratives. For instance, the chronotope of the road, and the metaphor of the path of life that it realizes, is a central feature in Mikhail Bakhtins history of novelistic plot patterns and especially important for what Bakhtin calls the adventure novel of everyday life (120). The journey is universally recognized as a narrative in our culture. The narrative potential of travel lies in the fact that we recognize in it temporal and spatial structures that call for narration. The different stages of traveldeparture, voyage, encounters on the road, and returnprovide any story with a temporal structure that raises certain expectations of things to happen. Perhaps because of this pervasiveness of the travel narrative, we have come to understand personal life and mental development as a voyage. The travel metaphor is therefore not only a way to think about narrative; it also provides one with the means to think through narrative.

Kai Mikkonen is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Helsinki, Finland. His current research and teaching interests include travel writing, graphic novels and narrative theory. He is the author of Kuva ja sana [Image and Word] (Gaudeamus, 2005); The Plot Machine: the French Novel and the Bachelor Machines in the Electric Years 18801914 (Rodopi, 2001) and The Writers Metamorphosis: Tropes of Literary Reection and Revision (Tampere University Press, 1997) as well as various articles in periodicals such as Style, Word & Image, Marvels & Tales, and European Review. NARRATIVE, Vol. 15, No. 3 (October 2007) Copyright 2007 by The Ohio State University

The Metaphor of Narrative as Travel


The question of the relation between travel and narrative is indeed large and complex. Here I will work from a narrower conception of narrative as travel (or as travel writing) so as to investigate the motivation behind the metaphor and to focus specically on the question of the relation between narrative consecutiveness and consequence. I will develop the ideas of consecutiveness and consequence around two specic generic features and expectations of travel narratives. On the one hand, travel experience and travel writing presuppose the sense of a consecution of places, and events happening in particular places. The travel concept, and especially the journey plot pattern, manifests a specic model of temporality and causalitytravel entails the arrangement of points of actuality in temporal order. On the other hand, the notion of travel is prone to give identity and narrativity to a series of events since it humanizes the experience of time and space. A travel story is dependent on the projection and experience of a world from a particular perspective, a person or a group of people moving through space in a given time, enabling thus the treatment of space as a stage for possible narrative action. Narrative progress, therefore, is intimately related to, even if does not always equal, the representation of the travelers experience of space and time. My analysis has three goals: (1) to highlight the signicance and some of the limitations of the metaphor of travel in narrative theory and textual analysis; (2) to rethink some of the identifying traits and expectations of travel writing through concepts of temporality, causality, and narrative experientiality as they are developed in narrative theory; (3) to extend cognitive-linguistic research on metaphors into the specics of narrative form, specically the issue of the relation between consecutiveness and consequence in travel narratives. In order to illustrate these theoretical points, I will toward the end of the essay offer an analysis of Graham Greenes travel narrative Journey Without Maps (1936). Greenes narrative is particularly pertinent to the questions raised here since it foregrounds the relationship between consecutiveness and consequence by questioning the meaning of maps and by projecting a narrative voice concerned with the issue of how to narrativize the ow of travel experience in the rst place.

In narrative and literary studies, it is a kind of commonplace to suggest, with Michel de Certeau, that every story is a travel storya spatial practice (115), or with the French writer and literary scholar, Michel Chaillou that in some sense every novel is a novel of adventure, En un sens, tout roman est roman daventure (62). Chaillou means that even in the least adventure-like literature, such as Prousts Remembrance of Things Past, we can nd a notion of inward adventure. Similar statements are common in narratology and in narrative theory generally. In her Narratology, Mieke Bal stresses the dynamic function of space in narratives, space as a passage to be taken. For this reason, a traveller in narrative is in a sense always an allegory of the travel that narrative is (137). In his Towards a Postmodern Theory of Narrative, Andrew Gibson aims to challenge what he sees as the all-pervasive


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geometrical bias in narratology, or its geometrisation of textual space (3) by emphasizing the travel aspect of narratives. Michel Serress notion of a traveling discourse (discours parcours, 206), the idea of narrative as a voyage or course through in mythical narratives like Oedipus and Odysseus, serves as Gibsons main source of inspiration. Further, in Richard Gerrig and Victor Nells psychology of reading, readers are being transported by a narrative by virtue of performing that narrative. Many other theories that have exploited the travel concept could be added to this list.2 The travel metaphor, whether involving schemes like walking along a path, walking in the streets of a city or exploring space in a moving vehicle, functions in these narrative theories as a description of and even a code for how narratives work in general. The metaphor plays two principal roles: it gives narrative identity to a series of events and spaces; and in doing so it produces further narrative. The notion of travel ascribes and also tends to increase narrativity3, that is, the connotations of voyage indicate recognition of a certain logic and experience of narrative. In some of its forms the metaphor is associated with a particular narratives self-reexive narrative thematics and thus gains a more comprehensive theoretical meaning. For theorists like Gibson and Serres, the description of narrative phenomena in terms of travel metaphors internal to texts is a conscious effort to challenge prevalent notions of narrative invariants, including unitary forms of narrative space and discourse. As already noted, my approach here is to take the metaphor as an object of study in itself and to view it from the perspective offered by George Lakoff and Mark Johnsons cognitive-linguistic research on metaphors, and the more recent work on conceptual blending that builds on it. The basic assumptions in the cognitive study of metaphors are that our concepts structure what we perceive and that these concepts are fundamentally metaphorical. More precisely, the claim is that we conceptualize the world and our daily experiences around metaphorical concepts, such as the images and root metaphors of spatial orientation based on the oppositions of up-down, in-out, or deep-shallow, as in knowledge is deep and learning is shallow. In many languages, concepts of travel and movement are common metaphors for describing an individuals life and the passing of time, as well as certain forms of thinking and mental processing (the exploration of ideas, the spiritual search). Travel, movement, and journey are common components also in Lakoff and Johnsons structural metaphors, where one concept is metaphorically structured in terms of another (42 45, 93 96). In Metaphors We Live By, Lakoff and Johnson discuss travel-related metaphors such as time is a moving object, love is a journey and an argument is a journey. To these we could relate other overlapping metaphors like life is a journey and time moves (these two are developed in Lakoff and Turner 156), or life is a road, the path of life, the path of discovery, thoughts travel, and time travels. In a related perspective, if we turn the metaphor around into travel is narrative, and understand travel as something that enables places or a path through space to be read as a narrative, there emerges another rich series of metaphors in the vein of the world is a book (or story). For the sake of brevity, however, I will leave the latter considerations out of this discussion.

The Metaphor of Narrative as Travel


In narrative theory and literary studies, the narrative is travel metaphor belongs, as a subcategory, to the same rich network of travel-related metaphors that share interrelated cognitive assumptions and experiential frames. The narrative is travel metaphor is basically a structural metaphor and a form of conceptual blending, a notion developed by Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner to dene a basic mental operation. This is to say that the metaphor involves the creation of new meaning in a blend of inputs from the two conceptual domains of narrative and travel. In inventing a scenario where the inputs of narrative and travel meet, this concept draws from the analogues, thus making possible a set of matches that seem obvious to us, but that also ends up containing more (Fauconnier & Turner 20). The experiential frame of journey and travel is marked, for instance, by the subjective, human scale of space and time. This marking includes the way that events and movements impose a structure on space, the orientation provided by the traveling individual and his or her experiencing point of view, and the structuring of time as a spatial surface that is covered and created by a path through it. We may illustrate this claim with the help of the French writer Michel Butors chiastic idea of travel as writing and writing as travel, outlined in his essay Le voyage et lcriture [trans. as Travel and Writing]. Butor explains in this widely-cited essay, that to travel, at least in a certain manner, is to write (rst of all because to travel is to read), and to write is to travel (53) [pour moi voyager, au moins voyager dune certain faon, cest crire (et dabord parce que cest lire), et qucrire cest voyager 919]. Butor goes on to propose a new eld of study called itrologie, the science of displacements, that would have as its basis in the various types of travel and interactions between travel and writing. For Butor, the full meaning of the two-way equivalence to travel is to write / to write is to travel is rst realized in a tradition of modern travelogues stemming from the bookish, romantic Orient of writers like Grard de Nerval, Lamartine, Gautier, Chateaubriand, and Flaubert. The ultimate epitome of itrologie, however, is the kind of travelogue Butor presents with his own ve-volume travel series, collectively titled Le Gnie du lieu [The Genius of Place] (19581996). Here the goal of travel is to write a travel journalbecause travel is writing.4 The most developed metaphor in Butors essay is the idea of travel as reading, although the analogy is constantly on the verge of turning into its chiasmic opposite: reading as travel. Points of departure and arrival, or the sense of returning, play a formative role in both experiences. But more than this is at stake in Butors playful essay. In a comprehensive commentary on this text, Philippe Dubois has suggested that Butors analogy between reading (or writing) and travel creates in effect a metaphorical matrix in which general equivalences are assumed in a triangle of writing, travel and reading.5 Through the concept of travel, certain equivalences are also established between writing and readingfor the reason that both can be identied as travel (153). Further, Dubois argues that we can draw from this triangle of equivalences a kind of typology of relations between the three terms (involving analogies but also literal equivalences in terms of traveling is writing, traveling is reading, writing is traveling, and reading is traveling). To develop further Duboiss ideas on the four relations between the terms, I would like to argue that Butors essay entails in fact a multiple conceptual blend,


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not only a chiastic analogy or two intertwined metaphors. This is because the metaphorical matrix involving the mutually connected concepts of travel, writing, and reading involves a conceptual, multidirectional matching of units that also implies the metaphor narrative is travel. Butor does not discuss the notion of narrative explicitly in the essay but the idea is thoroughly present in it since the travel narrative, the rcit de voyage, serves as Butors principal example. The kind of writing and reading Butor is concerned with involves, particularly, the writing and reading of narratives. Butors multiblend travel metaphor, and his proposed study of displacements, eshes out for us the cognitive assumption of conceptual blending in the metaphorical concept narrative is travel. The idea of a conceptual blend, unlike a simple analogy, may help us better investigate the function of the travel metaphor, since in a conceptual blend there is always the possibility of emergent structure and new meanings to be found in the blending of the units. This is to say that the blend includes not only the types of possible comparison between the two conceptual domains, but also the motivation for the metaphor (what is included in and suggested by the set of matches that the conceptual blending makes possible for us). In what follows I will concentrate on a specic question about conceptual blending in the travel/narrative link: how does the travel concept organize the notion of narrative in terms of temporality and causality, or more precisely, how does this concept help us think about the relation between narrative consecutiveness and consequence?


A closer look at certain specic features of travel writing as a narrative genre can offer us a more comprehensive and precise understanding of the cognitive foundations and communicative functions of the narrative is travel metaphor. In narrative theory, already the Russian formalists and some early structuralists like Roman Jakobson realized the signicance of what they saw as the transitional extraliterary genre of travel writing for the development of the novel, and mapped out some specic temporal and causal features of travel narratives. Their work can serve as our second point of departure for investigating the motivation of the metaphor. In more recent narrative theory, however, where the narrative is travel concept is much used, there has been relatively little work on the shared structural and experiential features of travel stories. The Russian formalist Boris Tomashevskys 1925 article, Thematics/ Sjuz etnoe postrojenije, was among the rst to point out the links between temporal order, narrative causality and travel narrative. Tomashevsky argued that all narratives require causality in their organization, in addition to the temporal sequencing. Tomashevsky justied the claim with reference to travel accounts: if the account is only about the sights and not about the personal adventures of the travelers, we have exposition without story. The weaker the causal connection, the stronger the purely chronological connection (66). Without causal connection, therefore, there is no story but a mere exposition, a list or a chronicle.

The Metaphor of Narrative as Travel


In Tomashevskys formalist denition of narrative, the travel account functions as both the model narrative and as a kind of non-narrative text or narration without a story, where causality is the distinguishing factor. On the one hand, as sheer chronicle or the simple listing of times, places and events, the travel account can do without causal organization. As such, however, it may no longer, or not yet, be a narrative. On the other hand, a travel account is a narrative, or becomes one, insofar as it relates the travelers personal adventures to the places moved through and the sights seen. In this respect, as Tomashevsky sees it, travel writing demonstrates the importance of indications of cause for any narrativethough it is not clear from his argument how the travelers personal experience is necessarily causal in nature.6 Brian Richardson uses Tomashevskys insights in his powerful argument for causality in Unlikely Stories (92, 106 107), insisting that the ability to infer causal relations between events is a necessary condition of narrativity. For Richardson, Tomashevsky carefully isolates a fundamental factor: human interaction and mediation, however multiform (92). This means for Richardson that for any set of events to be a narrative, there must be some mediation of time at work, more precisely, (human) mediation of the temporal order of events in terms of indications of cause. Richardson also points out that temporal succession may not always be required of narratives as, he argues, we may imagine many simultaneous events that create a narrative once they are causally related (106). In this respect, however, Richardson admits that such cases may only present a theoretical possibility (without, however, explicating why this would be so). It may be possible to imagine pure causality and logical order even in fundamentally time-structured media like the short story and lm, and the suspension of the sense of time in descriptive literary genres or in a lawyers teleological discourse (see also Todorov 42), but in these cases we may not be talking about narratives any more. In the formalist vein of narrative theory, then, where much of the effort has been to think the minimum story, the travel concept has tended to function as a model for the organization of a narrative, for the ordering of narrated events. The Russian formalist conception of the genre of travel writing, and the journey plot in structuralist theory of plot functions, point out the importance of both temporal and causal dimensions in narrative. At the same time, they reveal that the constitutive forces of consecution and cause are often difcult to separate. These two overlap easily, also because the reader/hearer is inclined to experience causality in temporal order.7 Ultimately, these investigations of travel writing and the journey plot also reveal that the causal organization of the elements of a story may not be separated from the mediating perspective of the travelers personal experience, whether in the form of a narrator or character, through which the sequence of the events is seen. In this theoretical tradition, travel writing, occupying both the role of the episodic tale that fails to possess a sense of causality, and so lacks narrativity, and the role of the simple story proper, a prototype of storytelling, plays out the rival conceptions of temporal succession and causal connection and has helped to establish the approximate point of demarcation between the narrative and the non-narrative. This ambivalent positioning of travel writing in between narratives proper and their outside, the not yet narrative or the non-narrative, is related to two basic assump-


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tions concerning the travel genre. On the one hand, a travel story is believed to possess clear temporal order: the travelers itinerary and his or her physical journey through some space structures the experience of time, be it the rst person narrative of an eccentric journey around ones room (Xavier de Maistres Voyage autour de ma chambre [Voyage around My Room]) or a third-person narrative on a Trans-Antarctic expedition (Alfred Lansings Endurance). In travel writing, consecutiveness and change over time relate directly to a place or a geographic space; time can be, so to say, compressed into space, into synchronous spatial representation, while space is also translated into the temporality of writing and possibly also that of narrative. On the other hand, the causal connection between places, events and their meanings in travel, that is, the translation of space into the time of writing, may remain profoundly open and manipulable and, thus, so to say, non-narrative. Therefore, one reason why the travel story, or travel writing in general, so easily lends itself to be considered both the border and the nascent case of narratives is that it foregrounds tension between consecutiveness and consequence. This is due to the fact that despite the assumed clarity and concreteness of the temporal (and even physical) order of the story, which is one of the identifying traits of the genre, the order of telling may be quite different from the order of travel experience. Anachronies, as Grard Genette understands them, can be found in all literary narratives8 but in the case of travel writing the discrepancies between the two orders become particularly palpable. This potential for differences between order of events and the order of telling is also often in quite conventional narrative accounts of journeys such as Lansings Endurance which starts in the middle of the Antarctic expedition as Sir Ernest Shackletons men are leaving their boat. The cultivated tension or confusion between sequence and consequence, further, is an indication of narrativity. Roland Barthes observed in his groundbreaking essay Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narratives that Everything suggests, indeed, that the mainspring of narrative is precisely the confusion of consecution and consequence, what comes after being read in narrative as what is caused by; in which case narrative would be a systematic application of the logical fallacy denounced by Scholasticism in the formula post hoc, ergo propter hoca good motto for Destiny (94). Barthess scheme of narrative units is based on the sharp distinction between the purely chronological functionality of catalysers on the one hand and the cardinal functions (or nuclei) on the other hand. The cardinal functions, the hinge-points of the narrative, are both consecutive and consequential functions that can be recognized as such when the action to which they refer open (or continue, or close) an alternative that is of direct consequence for the subsequent development of the story (94). Within the conventions of travel writing there are various potential, often foregrounded conceptual matches for the cardinal narrative units: the telescoping of logic and temporality in travel experience is accomplished by the travelers moving perspective and points of attention; the direction of movement and the choices at the crossroads open alternatives and close them; chance encounters involve risks that move the narrative forward and structure it; and the landmarks and the description of places can be used to gauge progress in movement but also the unfolding of the travel narrative. All these conventions combine consecution with consequence, and can confuse them, and thus are potential nuclei of travel narratives.

The Metaphor of Narrative as Travel


At the same time, there is a sense of profound openness in travel writing as to the causal mechanisms that motivate a traveling character or a narrator to issue reports about the aspects of his or her movement through space. This means that what comes after in the temporally ordered events in travel is not necessarily triggered by what went before. Xavier de Maistres famous mock travel story, the 42-day movement around his own room described in Voyage around My Room makes this evident as the journey described in this book follows a clearly limited physical path around a room while the narrators observations and the thematic structure of the text follow this movement only loosely, if at all. On the one hand, then, there is a clearly marked itinerary and a path around the room that has causal effects of its own (the narrator cannot leave this space; he has only a limited number of directions available for his movements, etc.). On the other hand, the travelers observations, descriptions, and meditations have their own causal mechanisms (motivated, for instance, by memories). Only causal mediation and interaction, as Richardson suggests, can give meaning to the experience of time. Yet, also for this meaning-giving function, travel writing serves as a model narrative, since it typically involves and draws attention to the travelers mediating perspective. In de Maistres example, paradoxically as it seems, the concrete physical limitations given to the space of travel become subordinated to the narrators mental operations. Contrary to what Richardson argues, even if we agree with him that causality is a central aspect in narrative experience, it is not always decisive for considering something a narrative. The very example of the travel story, due to its ambivalent position between temporal and causal order, suggests the contrary. We can think, for instance, of a travel, adventure or quest story that would include many events coming one after another without any other causal connection between the events than that they happen during the same journey, or that they happen to the same traveler(s). This is neither more nor less hypothetical than Richardsons idea of a narrative based on simultaneous events without a temporal structure. An adventure without causal connection might be extremely simple, even poor, but it would be difcult to argue that it is not a narrative at all. H. Porter Abbott gives one such example in the form of First the knight sinks into a bog, then he is set upon by wild rodents, then his pants catch on re (38). The presence of the same individual, the knight, in a series of events suggests to us that this is a narrative. A set of causally unrelated events not bound together by the presence of the same individual(s) would prove to be a more difcult challenge. This type of representation might not invite us to apply a narrative script at all but process the text in terms of some predominantly non-narrative genre like the chronicle, the journal or the diary. The same question of simple temporality is often discussed with regard to E. M. Forsters example, The king died and then the queen died, which Forster understands as a simple story, meaning by this a narrative of events arranged in their time-sequence, lacking however the causal arrangement of a plot (the counterexample is the more explicitly marked causal structure of The king died, and then the queen died of grief) (82). It must be kept in mind that the distinction Forster makes here is not between narrative and non-narrative forms of verbal expression, since he sees both of these sentences as constituting a story, but between different aspects of the novel and between low and high forms of literary art (8183). In the latter sentence, for Forster,


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the sense of causality overshadows the time-sequence, but temporality is still a seminal component of the plot. The generic perspective in Forsters argument should not be neglected since it appears that what counts as temporal or causal organization in a story varies from one genre to another. Travel narratives have their own identifying traits and generic expectations that evoke quite specic questions of sequence and consequence. To better illustrate the payoffs of thinking about the narrative through the travel metaphor, I turn now to discuss Graham Greenes travel book Journey Without Maps. My interest in Greenes West African travelogue is less in developing a detailed analysis of the text than in showing, in terms of the travel concept, how this text invites us to pose questions of the relation between narrative sequence and consequence. Following the lead of Greenes title, I start with some considerations about the role of maps and itineraries in travel narratives.


One obvious means through which travel writing builds on the relationship between consecutiveness and consequence are maps and itineraries. In considering them, however, we must move beyond narratology and narrative theory proper to questions of referentiality and generic expectations so as to better understand the cognitive functions of the travel metaphor. One feature of graphic maps in travel narratives is that they concreticize the fabula of a travel story; or at least the fabula can be conceived of, with the help of the map, in terms of actual space, of geography. In case the map is missing, travel stories often prompt their readers to provide a map: on the Web one can for instance nd various competing maps of Odysseuss travels. The fact that all these maps differ from each other, sometimes quite radically, is a proof of the seemingly inherent potential of, and impulse in, travel narrative to be thought as a concrete spatial conguration.9 Furthermore, the need to draw maps of a narrative may be an indication of the inherent potential in graphic maps as mental representations for any narrative text. In their function as potential narrative programs the map and the itinerary suggest further afnities between travel and narrative. In this analogy, the map indicates both the route followed and the trace that is interpreted as a story. Often the map, in its graphic form, also outlines possibilities of choice, possible lines of travel that are not chosen. The map, therefore, is not only a model of a reference world, afrming the referential pact of travel writing, but may presuppose a narrative. The itinerary, the succession of traversed spaces in the map, is already a part of the transformation of travel into narrative. The map indicates the literal space of places and events but it is also realized and practiced by the traveler.10 The itinerary, whether in graphic form on the map, a written list of places and times, or implied in the reported events, mediates between the possibilities of the space of the map and the transformation of the experience of space in writing. The itinerary traces the order and the direction of travel, its sequence. However, if the itinerary in travel writing may function as a potential index of narrative structure, there remains the difcult question of the relation of the itinerary

The Metaphor of Narrative as Travel


to the process of travel. This difculty is due to the fact that the order of a journey is often only created in traveling (in its open-ended temporal process) or can be known only after the journey (as a retrospect product of the experience). Travel narrative does not have to follow the organization of the map nor even the diachronic logic of movement through time and spaceeven if such features are central expectations of the genre. It is, likewise, a common experience to have travel shatter the travelers expectations and transgress his or her initial plans. The question of open-ended travel is particularly pertinent to the reading of many modern literary travel books such as Journey Without Maps, which chronicles Graham Greenes travel to West Africa, from January to April 1935. The itinerary of Greenes and his cousin Barbara Greenes travel serves as a basis for the books division into three parts and subchapters. The rst section of the travelogue describes the journey from England to Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, and the train ride to the Liberian border; the second part tells about events on the trek from the border to the Liberian village of Ganta, including a passage in French Guinea; and the last part relates the trip from Ganta to Grand Bassa on the coast and the return boat to Monrovia including a short note on the journey back from Freetown to Dover, England. The text, however, constantly diverts from the given chronological order of travel. The travel events, episodes and impressions are punctuated by descriptions of people and acts of reading; the text includes anticipatory passages, memories and reections on people and matters at home. The title of Greenes travel book is not literally true. It claims the absence of maps on a journey whose travelogue actually includes the route drawn on a small, sketchy map of Sierra Leone and Liberia.11 In fact, the bold but untrue title serves as a guide for multiple possible interpretations and calls for the readers response in terms of the relation between travel and narrative. One of its meanings is nearly true: in 1935 Greene and his cousin entered a relatively unmapped area of Liberia. The maps the Greenes were able to nd for Sierra Leone and Liberia before their trip showed whole areas left blank; they were inaccurate, useless and imaginary (see Green 4546; Sherry 512, 528529). For example, an American military map of the area included empty spaces with remarks of the whereabouts of cannibals. Another thing the title indicates is practical knowledge about the travel conditions. During his journey in Sierra Leone and Liberia Greene realized that travel by time-table was impossible and that the only way to plan the journey was to know the next town or village ahead and repeat it as you go (47). Therefore, instead of using maps and itineraries, he gradually became used to drifting with Africa (66). These practical meanings are inseparable from various metaphorical and ideological connotations in a mapless West Africa. They include, for instance, a writers search for new, unexpected material;12 a means of self-analysis; or the colonial notion of African space as void of history and culture.13 Here, however, I will leave such implications aside and concentrate on one specic meaning, that is, the question of Greenes cultivated resistance to maps and itinerary that bears signicance in terms of the problem of consecutiveness/consequence. Greenes growing determination to drift on unmapped paths reveals an excitement not only in unstructured adventure but also in travel writing that does not respect the structure given by maps and itineraries. This drifting involves, further, a hesitation to use the conventional


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life is a journey and life is a story metaphors, at least in the sense that there could be a neat analogy between the experience of life, the order of travel and the order of narratives. In this respect the books second epigraph, by the American physician and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, becomes important. In the beginning of the passage that Greene cites, Holmes claims that [t]he life of an individual is in many respects like a childs dissected map. If I could live a hundred years, keeping my intelligence to the last, I feel as if I could put the pieces together until they made a properly connected whole. As it is, I, like all others, nd a certain number of connected fragments, and a large number of disjointed pieces, which I might in time place in their natural connection. Many of these pieces seem fragmentary, but would in time show themselves as essential parts of the whole. What strikes me very forcibly is the arbitrary and as it were accidental way in which the lines of junction appear to run irregularly among the fragments. [] The central metaphors of this passage, the problem of the dissected map, the fragmentary pieces of life and the arbitrary lines of junction, link Greenes travel narrative to the metaphorical notion that life is a journey in the form of a question: in what sense, if at all, can life (and travel as a microcosm of life) be experienced as a connected whole like a narrative? Or can one, so to say, live out narratives? The metaphor of a childs dissected map in the Holmes epigraph evokes the dilemma that characterizes Greenes travel book and the meaning of travel as drifting: the contradiction between the promise of understanding ones life as a connected whole life has not only a spatialized temporal order like a map and an itinerary, but it is also causally organized like a narrativeand the distrust of that very same possibility (since life is an ongoing process without clear beginning or end). Greenes idea of a traveling that is not fully consciousit is not the fully conscious mind which chooses West Africa in preference to Switzerland (20)or that cannot be fully verbalized, and that no map can control, draws on the same ambiguous dynamic of plotting between a grasp of a connected whole and the sense of an open-ended process. Journey Without Maps suggests that there is always potential ambiguity in the status of the itinerary as there is in the concept of the fabula. Itinerary is, on the one hand, the map that the traveler follows (temporal and spatial order), but, on the other hand, it is also a history of travelsthe map as narrative (combining temporal and causal orders in the told story). In the same way the narrative sequence of the story may be thought to exist both before and after the discourse. For more theoretical insight about the relation of the map and the itinerary to temporal and causal narrative structure, we can turn to two important points of reference from the 1970s, Louis Marins study of utopian spaces and signifying practices, Utopiques. Jeux despace [Utopics: Spatial Play], and Michel de Certeaus Linvention du quotidian [The Practice of Everyday Life], a theory of everyday practices. Both Marin and de Certeau develop an analogy between the map-itinerary opposition on the one hand and the distinction between fabula and sjuzhet, or story and discourse, on the other. Moreover, their theories involve an interactional model of the

The Metaphor of Narrative as Travel


relation between the map and the itinerary, a sense of a meaning-making process between the two. Marin argues, for instance, that the itinerary of travel narrative also constitutes the map, which is, as representation, the product of the narrative (44). For de Certeau, similarly, the spatial reference of the map implies the structure of the narrative by pointing to the transformation of geographic inscription into discourse, space into time.14 In de Certeaus model, the narrative nature of walking in a city can be further distinguished as an interaction between place [lieu] and space [space]. Place, for de Certeau, is the order (of whatever kind) in accord with which elements are distributed in relationships of coexistence, while space is composed of intersections of mobile elements: space occurs as the effect produced by the operations that orient it. A sense of space, in other words, is a practiced place.15 The title of Greenes travel book, and the signicance of drifting, relies on the analogy between travel and narrative, but also on the dilemma between a conception of travel as a connected whole, in the form of a pre-understanding or retrospective knowledge, and the uncontrollable process of the disjointed experiences traveling often includes. The emphasis on the importance of going astray involves an interruption in the relation de Certeau describes as obtaining between place and space. Already the very beginning of Journey Without Maps, the rst subchapter, Harvest Festival, evolves around an experience of losing the sense of xed points of direction. The book starts with Greene entering, by accident, the harvest festival preparations in the vestry of St. Dunstans Church while trying to find the Liberian consulate. Travel is always to some extent threatening to be multidirectional and even non-narrative because too much can recounted, even the boring and the uninteresting. The travelers description can interrupt the fabula, break down the temporal frame of representation. Traditionally, travel narrative is organized by the cumulative, observational enterprise of documenting geography, landscape, flora, fauna, people, and customs. We can easily recall the ocular obsessions of sightseeing guidebooks. An important single event in this respect, building on this convention, is Greenes description of the Liberian forest as lacking any interesting detail. The writer focuses here on the difculty of description. Greene claims that the Liberian forest had a peculiar quality of deadness that was unknown to him from all previous descriptions of nature: The word forest to me had always conveyed a sense of wildness and beauty, of an active natural force, but this forest was simply a green wilderness, and not even so very green (156). What Greene registered in this forest was acute boredom, associated for him with the agonizing boredom of apartness (158) that he knew from his childhood. This boredom, furthermore, he saw in stark contrast with the happiness he had felt in Africa as he had been realizing his desire for an instinctive way of life, the primal memory or the racial source (ibid.). The fact that the itinerary can usually only be known after the end of travel exemplies not only the backward logic of causal relation but also the importance of the crucial experiences of unresolved direction and shattered expectations during travel. Digression and chronological deviation, typical to odyssey and nomadism, increase the sense of narrativity by upsetting expectations as to the agents goal. Most classical, episodic travel stories, from Homer to Joyce, capitalize on detouring,


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deterritorialisation and open time. They occlude causal relations, present examples of the discontinuous, the amorphous, and the surprising; the path of travel, while structuring the time and space of narrative, suggests contingency and chance meetings. In some cases, travel narratives can make it difcult to discern chronology or causal order at all, by emphasizing the travelers uncertainty, wandering or openness to multiple stories and memories. An open-ended journey or deterritorialisation is at one end of the spectrum of travel experiences. Another ultimate metaphor for digressing narration is the experience of being stuck in a labyrinth or a maze, a sense of journey in which all possible itineraries are predetermined. A labyrinth has only a single path but it is maximally circuitous. A maze is emblematic of narrative mechanisms that threaten reversible sequence with irreversible consequence and a closed up space. In a maze, every turn in direction is fatal not only since all sequences have different consequences but since all points in space are part of a closure and confusingly similar. In contrast, Greenes description of being stuck in dull, dead jungle not only breaks down the temporal frame of the travel story but also shatters his previous understanding based on a series of literary descriptions. Greene tries to match his experience with descriptions of forests and nature in Louis-Ferdinand Cline, A.E. Housman, and Wordsworth. In Henri Michauxs Ecuador (1929) and Un barbare en Asie (1945), similarly, travel is on the verge of ceasing to be an event. The exhausted, belated modern travelers immobility simultaneously questions the very idea of a narrative (event as the inspiration and justication of a narrative), suggesting that movement is nothing but closure or that there is no closure on the horizon of the already seen. After three days on the sea on the way to South America, Michaux asks in his journal where the sense of travel is: Mais o est-il donc, ce voyage? [But where is it now, the travel?] (16). Greenes and Michauxs literary devices reveal that any travel narrative presupposes the expectation that, at least upon return, the initial situation could be transgressed, mediated, and possibly solved. In Greenes Liberian forest, these expectations are shattered to the extent that it is hard for the writer to restore the sense of travel except through intertextual lters that also seem lacking in their descriptive force. The challenge to the order of travel is only provisional, however. In Greenes travel book, the sense of (nearly) directionless drifting, as well as the experience of acute boredom in the middle of it, are framed by the time of writing, the retrospective frame of the narration that connects the various events together. The moment of writing, as different from the time of traveling, provides the text with connections based on circularity between departure and return. Retrospective knowledge of the nal shape of the itinerary is clearly present right from the books rst lines: later sitting before a hut in French Guinea, where I never meant to nd myself, I remembered this rst going astray, the buses passing at the corner and the pale autumn sun (15). Different moments and memories of travel overlap and the time of writing constantly interrupts the time of travel. At the same time, a sense of consequence between places and events becomes apparent, wholly different from the temporal order of movement through space.

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This does not mean, however, that the circular hermeneutics between departure and return should be thought as a simple retrospective form-giving to a series of events and experiences. Jean-Didier Urbain has argued that the relationship between travel and story (rcit) in general is necessarily that of circularity, meaning that a story is a structure within travel and not merely an a posteriori frame of travel as in the sense of a literary translation of travel experience. It is therefore also possible to write about travel rst and experience it later, or to experience travel while writing about it, thus making the real journey a citation of the preceding narrative (la citation joue dun rcit antrieur, 370). In Greenes travel book the moments of travel and the perspective of the time of writing inform one another reciprocally. For instance, in the very beginning of the text the experience of sitting before a hut in French Guinea is superimposed on another moment of seeing busses pass at a London street corner. Over the course of the narrative, Journey Without Maps, wanderings without maps gradually make more room for contingency, chance encounter, and the risks of travel. The traveler begins to repeat the sense of the present (he could only know the name of the next village). At the same time, however, the hermeneutics of departure and return is always re-afrmed by the writers retrospective point of view, where the goal of remembrance is to integrate events into a narrative. Greenes travel book makes manifest to us the complexities and the rich possibilities in the relationship between narrative sequence and consequence by evoking (but also questioning) travel metaphors like life is a journey and narrative is travel.


As earlier work in narrative theory has suggested the personalized point of view of the traveler typically provides the time of travel with a globalizing and causally motivated grasp of the experience of travel. This is also to say that even if travel writing is very exible in its techniques of narration, it prefers a focalized narrative mode. In travel literature, typically, an individual or a group of people engage here and now in an act of movement and perception. The traversed spaces are unied in the travelers experience and recounting, which is punctuated by episodes, names of places and local descriptions. Similarly, I would like to suggest that the cognitive foundations and communicative functions of the narrative is travel metaphor are based, to a significant degree, on the representation of the human experience of space and movement. This involves, even when we are dealing with examples of pure description of the place of travel, the portrayal of human consciousness engaged in goal-oriented activity. The centrality of the travelers viewpoint can further be linked to recent cognitive-linguistic approaches in narratology that see the representation of experientiality (and embodiment) as an essential condition for narrative (see Fludernik 2829). Recent approaches to the cognitive and experiential features of ction have also shown how the understanding of ctional narratives is tied to the projection of a world. For Marie-Laure Ryan, ctional narrative is an imaginative recentering in another possible world (103105). In this regard, travel narratives are prototypical cases of all narratives.


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While travel literature conceptualizes space in terms of perpetual movement, travel is also an operational concept that elaborates a mental representation of a world, whether it is in rst-person or third-person discourse. As Tomashevsky suggested, travel writings personalizing, subjective point of view is a central means for creating causal links between events. In a travel journal, perhaps the genres most prototypical form, the speaker is expected to be constrained at some level to the immediate environment and to the objects available there for description. At the same time, the mental processing of a world is also a means of engrossing the reader in the storyworld. As with Journey Without Maps, the reader is witness to the mental process by which the writer forms the representation of a world (a place, a destination, home). The travelers movement and mental processing, therefore, realize the potential of space as a practiced place. Any travel story is a world-creating situation in itself and endowed with potential actionality. Such an effect is created through a certain aesthetic of spontaneity and presence, or an illusion of the immediacy of the past event. Travel writing achieves this illusion by combining events into a sequence of adventures, based on the displacement of one or more people. The traveler, according to Louis Marin, unavoidably anthropomorphizes the wanderings of the text, by traversing a geographic and textual network that is thus raised from anonymity (42 43).16 Therefore too, the journey pattern provides any story with what Adrien Pasquali calls the globalizing grasp of the tale (112). Travel narratives, both ctional and non-ctional, project worlds in this way, in a tension between the immediacy of perception and meaningful consequence, each crafting a self-enclosed universe according to which its propositions are read. All this adds up to create an effect of human-scale space and of a humanized experience of time. For Paul Ricoeur, famously, time becomes human time to the extent that it is organised after the manner of a narrative (3). Similarly, for Frank Kermode, the clocks tick-tock is a model of what we call a plot, an organization that humanizes time by giving it form (45). Travel narratives provide us with a basic model for viewing space and events within time. At the same time, they offer us a special advantage in understanding time by enacting in time something that seems like an inevitable pattern of events: a correlation between the structuring of the text and that of the world, or between the time of the text and the time of the world. Travel writing evokes and creates the world, a world as possibility, as in the robinsonads and utopias that are models of a microcosm and its temporal organization. In modern travel writing, the categories of time and space, of temporal succession and spatial conguration are superimposed on each other in an intensive, and often intensied, manner. Several generic aspects of travel writing contribute to this effect. First of all, because the operations of the mental representation of a world are foregrounded in travel narrativesplaces are seen in relation to their perception the reading mind is objectied within the text as its visible reecting surface. Therefore too, the travel story enables a double reading of the same world: the world as it is seen and the world as it is narrated. The world as narrated involves the idea that the retelling of a journey is always a travelers translation of a space that could be revisited or of an experience that could be relived. It is a basic presupposition in travel lit-

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erature that one is able to transfer through writing, with no loss of persuasive power, the force of experience, time and space. In more theoretical terms, Pasquali has argued that the personalized point of view of travel writing is dependent on a double determination between the perspectives of the travel process and the order of a nalized text. This creates quite specic effects in between the prospective determination of the unfolding experience of travel with its virtual dimension, that is, the sense of travel in process, and the retrograde determination of a nalized story that orients the narration (112). A travel narrative such as Greenes provides us with a basic model for negotiating the relationship between the process of experience and narrative order, the difference between the shape of experience and the shape of narrative. What adds to this capacity is that to write about travel usually means to re-enact earlier journeys and to succumb to pre-existing literary models. Other travel accounts often function as the incitement and favorite companion to a voyage, and thus play a considerable role in the making and mediation of an itinerary in the rst place. Greene, for instance, uses pre-existing texts as an intertextual lter to mediate the gap between the open order of traveling experience and the order of writing. Quotations from books and descriptions of reading experiences punctuate the travel throughout Journey Without Maps and, as in the disturbing case of going through a dull, dead forest, the writer is engaged in re-evaluating earlier readings in regard to the travel experience. The experience of distance and the foreignness of the described world also increase narrativity. The exhausted discourse of certain modern and postmodern travel writing, even if it challenges the possibility of evoking a foreign world, is based on the premise of constructing a world through negation (as a reaction against the others experience of the exotic, the strange and the marvelous). Greenes mapless Africa is, at least partly, a personal and imaginary construct rather than a strictly real, geographic space. The literary references, the interspersed memories, and the juxtaposition of the time of travel and the time of writing help to impose a spatial-temporal method on the static, map-like structuring of space. Writing thus resists the notion of space as a static entity.

I have managed to take only a few tentative steps toward a theory of travel in narrative and narrative in travel, or toward what Michel Butor has playfully called itrologie. I have investigated the motivation of the narrative is travel metaphor from the perspective of the relationship between consecutiveness and consequence. To summarize, the argument I have developed here is that the narrative is travel metaphor functions basically in two ways, by giving identity to a series of events and spaces, and by increasing narrativity. These effects are based, to a signicant degree, on the experiential features that the travel metaphor activates (and blends together). For instance, the travel metaphor helps to raise the question of the process-versusproduct aspect of narrative in a palpable way: how to represent freedom and contingency in a structure? Travel writing shows explicitly how causality and chronology,


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narrative consequence and temporal sequence can fuse. But typically travel stories also tend to break this conjunction, at least provisionally, during the course of the narrative. As regards the increase of narrativity, the travel metaphor suggests a way to make sense of experience, relying on narrative competence and the culturally enforced necessity to tell a story. The very suggestion of travel produces narrative, or increases narrativity, since the idea of travel personalizes the experience of time and space through the subjective perspective of movement and of perceiving a world. Greenes travel narrative explores the ways in which time can be personalized as a narrative and how the travelers viewpoint introduces a sense of consequence to the sequence of places and events. As we look ahead to future work, we can already anticipate that a better understanding of the identifying traits and generic expectations of travel narratives can help us see certain narratological premises in somewhat different light, particularly the importance of temporal sequence and causality as essential conditions for narrative. It is signicant to note, furthermore, that many identifying markers of the modern novel, such as detailed scenes and descriptions, the presentation of speech verbatim, shifts between observation and inner reection, or metadiegetic interruptions between different narrative levels, are characteristics of much modern nonctional travel writing. The referential nature of travel writing, however, requires modications to the narratological analysis of such devices in narrative ction. The approach that I have outlined here hopes to pave way for a more systematic understanding of the specic narrative logic and experience of narrative in travel stories.

1. For Adams, both the literary travel story and the modern novel are based on an imaginative reshaping of reality (134) by which he means that the two genres were produced through a conict and an alliance between realism and romance, between truth claims and imagination (108109). On the historical relation between the novel and travel writing see also Chupeau. 2. In some literary theories the travel concept even functions as the precondition of all metaphorical meaning. For instance, Georges Van Den Abbeele argues in his Travel as Metaphor (1992) that travel is a mastertrope, the metaphor of a metaphor in the sense that any metaphor involves a transferal of meaning, a transportation of literal meaning out of its context. Thus the structure of the metaphor becomes the metaphor for the travel of meaning (xxiii). 3. Narrativity is understood here in the way Gerald Prince and Monika Fludernik dene the term: as a set of properties characterising narrative, or as the formal and contextual features that make a narrative more or less narrative. See Fludernik 20. 4. In his essay Lespace du roman [The Space of the Novel], Butor also emphasizes the thematic afnity between the experience of distant places in travel and the literary imagination: Toute ction sinscrit donc en notre espace comme voyage, et lon peut dire cet gard que cest l le thme fondamental de toute littrature romanesque; tout roman qui nous raconte un voyage est donc plus clair, plus explicite que celui qui nest pas capable dexprimer mtaphoriquement cette distance entre le lieu de la lecture et celui o nous emmne le rcit [All ction thus inscribes itself in our space as travel, and we may say that this is the fundamental theme in all prose ction; any novel that tells us about a journey is clearer and more explicit than novels that cannot metaphorically express the distance between the place of reading and the place where the story takes us] (50).

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5. Similar insights can be found in some recent French research on the genre of travel writing. The analogies between reading, writing, and travel literature are investigated for instance in Montalbetti (100120). 6. Elsewhere also, the Russian formalists emphasized the importance of non-literary forms like travel narratives in the evolution of the novel. Roman Jakobson argued, for instance, that travelogues, as a kind of transitional genre, served an important function in the development of the modern novel (45). The travelogue for instance contributed to the novel the intimate point of view of a contemporary individual that was absent in earlier conventional literary forms (as in Russian literature before the early nineteenth century). 7. Todorov, for instance, sees that temporal order and causality are closely linked and easily confused and further that the logical series is in the readers eyes a much stronger relation than the temporal series; if the two go together, he sees only the rst (42). For Rimmon-Kenan, in turn, temporal succession is a sufcient condition for a narrative since causality can often (always?) be projected onto temporality (18). 8. See Genette 80. 9. Gibsons insights that the various spaces in The Odyssey are rigorously separated but cannot be reduced to any homogeneous or global whole, or that the mythical adventure of Odysseus is nothing more or less than the connecting up of these incommensurable spaces, are in line with the idea of the incomparable maps (17). On the complexities involved in charting a map of a ctional world, see Ryan 2003. 10. There are, naturally, great differences between maps in what comes to the way a map can be incorporated in the verbal narrative, how text and image interact within the map, or how visible the maps enunciation as narrative discourse may be. Such differences are discussed, for instance, by Jacob 247251. 11. See Thacker for an analysis on the symbolic differences in the maps of the various editions of the book (the editions of 1936, 1953 and 1978) (1316). 12. This involves a desire to ll out the names and places on the map and a reversible equivalence between the two processes: to travel is to write and to write is to travelboth are the objective and effects of the other. Similarly, Philippe Dubois has suggested that for Michel Butor the map, as a form of an inscribed world, or the world as an open catalogue/dictionary, is an inexhaustible reserve of readable signs in which one can invest interest and meaning (151). 13. By self-analysis I mean that West Africa serves Greene in Journey Without Maps as scenery for posing moral questions about oneself and ones culture. In the beginning of the book, the writer evokes the image of an unconscious Africa that represents more than I could say (20). Further, the lack of maps is also a religious-philosophical allegoryinvolving the intention to know ones place in time (19)for searching what has been lost in European culture (sense of seediness, brutality, childhood, primitive virtue). Among the cultural and ideological maps evoked by Greenes commentary in the book is the lop-sided information about West Africa by British newspapers and Government sources. In the same category we can count Greenes own Africanism, meaning the frequent superimposition of notions of childhood and primitive virtue on African spacesa quality of darkness is needed, of the inexplicable (20)that recalls colonialist notions of Africa as void of history and advanced human culture. The notion of the colonial discourse of Africanism is critically examined and developed by Christopher L. Miller. For more on Greenes anti-cartographic discourse and its relationship with imperialist views of Africas achronicity, see Thacker 1920. 14. Franco Moretti is also principally in line with this argument as he suggests that the literary map enjoys a position between the pattern of experience, or chronotope, which is described in the story and that may also structure the story, and narrative discourse (or narrative ow as he calls it). Moretti argues, more precisely, that even if the literary map may not be an explanation itself of the spatial and temporal pattern of the story, it is a specic form of knowledge that shows to the reader that there is something that needs to be explained (84). For a more extended application of de Certeaus concepts to Greenes book, see Thacker 2125.


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15. The idea equals Mieke Bals distinction between frame-space and thematized space, the rst meaning the place of action and the latter meaning acting place or space transformed into a story (136). 16. For Germaine Bre, similarly, the protagonist of a travel narrative moves as a focal point for actions and ideas thus realizing narrative as an index of digression. The episodes of travel become unied only through the voyagers journeying, when seen by him in the light of his progress: it is the panorama, in the last analysis, that acquires signicance, and the voyager as such only through his passage as traveller. Yet the panorama is only present in so far as the traveler moved through it and recorded his experience (89).

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