Stories of wonder and adventure in distant lands were much loved by medieval readers. For those who stayed at home, travelers’ tales shaped their understanding of the wider world and their own place within it. For those who were able to travel themselves, favorite tales shaped their own lived experiences. In this class, we examine some of the most popular medieval European travel narratives using the tools of both literary and historical analysis. We follow merchants, pilgrims, spies, and diplomats as they made their way to destinations such as Spain, Russia, China, Ethiopia, America, and the Holy Land.
Prerequisite: Sophomore Status