English 2041Vivid Voyages:  Travel Writing Theory and Practice

Dr. Karyn Hollis, Spring 2005 

Professor:  Dr. Karyn Hollis   
Class Meets:  MW 1:30-2:45
Location: E-Media room, Old Falvey
Phone: 610-519-7872 
My Homepage:  www.homepage.villanova.edu/karyn.hollis
2041 Homepage -- Click Here
The course syllabus, writing assignments, class handouts, and other course related materials are on the class web page

Office Hours- MW 10:00-11:00
           Or By Appointment
Office Location:  SAC 458 
Email: karyn.hollis@villanova.edu 

This course is Writing Intensive.
It fulfills a "practical writing requirement" for the Concentration in Writing and Rhetoric

This course does NOT fulfill the upper level English literature requirement for the Core.  But it can serve as an English or general elective.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness"

               Mark Twain

Course Description:
   Have you recently returned from a breathtaking beach in Jamaica, a mind-expanding European university, or even an R5 trip to South Street?  Are you eager to write about the experience for an audience beyond your own private journal?  Here’s your chance!  With the goal of actually publishing a piece of your writing, you will compose several travel narratives in this course, improving your descriptive and narrative techniques in the process.  In addition, we’ll read many contemporary travel tales and take on the criticism which accuses travel writers of assuming a privileged, patriarchal gaze of cultural superiority when describing the exotic “others” of Africa, Asia, Central and South America. Can we arrive at a better strategy in our own travel narratives, avoiding stereotypes and “essentializing” the subjects of our gaze, aiming instead for an informative transcultural discourse written from a perspective of self awareness and critique?  In this course we’ll try!

Course Objectives:


Students will learn
  • How to write travel articles for publication
  • How to improve techniques of description and narration 
  • A theoretical critique of travel writing as colonizing discourse of gendered, racial and class privilege
  • The ethics of travel writing
  • Investigation of print and electronic publication possibilities
  • Web-writing with FrontPage software


Texts Frances Mayes, Best American Travel Writing 2002
Hoffman & Hoffman, Adios Strunk & White*--Not in bookstore, Order immediately from Amazon.com
Diana Hacker, A Writer's Reference
O'Neill, Travel Writing
Thomas Swick (VU grad), A Way to See the World
Barbara Ras & Oscar Arias, Costa Rica:  A Traveler's Literary Companion
E-mail Pen Pals--Costa Rica = $6 for one month Click Here
E-Reserve Readings:  
Patrick Holland and Graham Huggan, "Introduction," Tourists with Typewriters:  Critical Reflections on Contemporary Travel Writing.  

Class Policy and Requirements:

Online Syllabus --You need to check the online syllabus daily.  Assignments may change, due dates get altered, class may even get cancelled.  Unless you frequently check the online syllabus, you will be missing important information.  I do not advise that you print out the syllabus.  Let's save trees!

Reading:  You will have a reading assignment for almost every class.  You are expected to have completed the reading before class time on the day it is assigned.  

Class Discussion and Participation:  Class discussion of the writing we read is a very important part of the course.  You will be graded on the effectiveness, frequency and usefulness of your class remarks. 

Travel Blogs--Students will be divided into groups for posting to a Group Travel Blog.  The posts provide a way to practice stylistic techniques recommended in Hoffman and Hoffman and other sources.   Remember to use some of the stylistic techniques in your articles for the course.  With a little planning, these posts can become polished paragraphs  in your travel narratives. 

Very soon you will receive an email invitation to join your group blog from blogger.com.  Follow the instructions in this invitation to join the blog and begin posting.  

When blogging, follow these guidelines

         1.  You should send your post to your group blog before class time—the day before class is best.

3.    Posts need be only about 5 sentences long, but can be longer if inspiration strikes.  Topics are up to you, but should be about travel, or observations made at interesting locations, or reactions to our readings.

4.    Be sure to read the posts from others in your group.  You should also add comments to others' posts from time to time.

5.   There will be a "stylistic requirement" for each post.  Work to follow these guidelines.
Circle these in your blog text when you turn in your blog posts over the semester. 

6.    In the Subject Line, put the Post # and the title of the Stylistic Requirement

7.   Grades:  You will print out and turn in hard copies of your blog postings two times over the semester. You will be graded on timeliness, how well they are written, and whether or not they illustrate the appropriate stylistic requirement.  Although grammar, punctuation and spelling are not the primary focus of my evaluation, they will count in your grade.  Before you post, proofread carefully and your use Spellcheck!   

Writing:  You will write 3 travel narratives (one of which is to be developed on a web page and presented to the class)  and one critical paper for the course.   Structured into the course will be opportunities for you to share drafts of these essays with classmates and/or Writing Center tutors and make revisions based on the feedback you receive from them.  Papers should be submitted electronically as a Word attachment to Dr. Hollis before class on the day they are due.  Students are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to go over drafts with a Writing Center tutor (x94604)

  • Travel Narratives

    • Topics -- Topics for the travel narratives 1 and 2 will be "open" so as not to destroy the "creative" aspect of your writing.  Nonetheless, if you need hints for subject matter, just Click Here. 

             Travel narrative #3 will be presented on the web using FrontPage software.
             Students may choose to do a sort of "composite web narrative" based on narratives
             #1 and #2 or an entirely new travel narrative.

    • Length -- 4-5 pages, but again if you are inspired or writing for a particular publication, more than 5 pages is fine.

  • Critical Paper

    • Topic -- Critique a travel article from perspectives presented in critical readings by Smith and 

    • Length -- 3 pages

Rainbow Review  I will frequently respond to your papers online, and I have developed an evaluation system based on highlighting colors.  Once I grade your assignment, I will send you an electronic copy of your writing assignment with a grade and many sentences highlighted, a "Rainbow Review."  You are required to revise all papers according to the highlighted colors. The revising process will be easier for you if you save a clean electronic copy of your original paper.  Otherwise you will have to go through a tedious process of removing highlighting in the paper I send you. 

Grammar Review  Students will complete an online grammar unit of 36 exercises. Students must achieve a score of 90% on each exercise.  Exercises may be redone until a score of 90% is attained.  Your scores are automatically reported to me. These exercises are keyed to Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference handbook.  Do these daily.  DO NOT wait until the
mid-term to do these exercises.  Points will be deducted from your mid-term if the exercises are not done on time.
Click here for more information. Don't sign on until you receive a notice from me.

Exams  There will be a mid-term and a final in the course.

Students with Disabilities  It is the policy of Villanova to make reasonable academic accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities.  If you are a person with a disability please contact me after class or during office hours and make arrangements to register with the Learning Support Office by contacting 610-519-5636 or at nancy.mott@villanova.edu as soon as possible.  Registration with the Learning Support Office is required in order to receive accommodations.

Gender Neutral Language.  Try to avoid inappropriate terminology in your speech and writing for this class and others at Villanova.  Please do not use the “generic he” to refer to all of humanity.  Eg.,  “A student should study.  If he doesn’t, he’ll fail.”  Also, please avoid the  well meaning but clunky “he/she” option.  There are many elegant alternatives.   For example, cast sentences in the plural, use “we,” etc., depending on the meaning of the sentence. (e.g., Students should study.  If they don't, they will fail.) See Hacker, Section W4-e, pp. 150-153 for more examples and advice.

Grade -- Your final grade will be based on your grades for writing assignments, mid-term, final, e-journal and class participation grade.  The class participation grade will be derived from attendance, participation, and editing sheet completion. 

Writing assignments--Average 60%
Mid-term Exam 10%
Final Exam 10%
Electronic journal 10%
Class participation 10%

Absences – Avoid if at all possible.  Too many and your grade will suffer. 

Syllabus – English 2041

Jan. 19

Two roads diverged in a woods, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost   

Jan. 24

Reading and Writing the Contemporary Travel Tale
What is rhetoric, the rhetoric of travel writing?
--Mayes, "Introduction, xvii-xxiii
--Mayes, Aciman, "Roman Hours," 1-10
--Blog#1 -  Stylistic Requirement:  Avoid all  “to be” verbs (is, are, was, were, am, be, being, been) 
"The journey is my home." -- Muriel Rukeyser

Jan. 26

--Mayes, Mueller, "Ancient Roads, Walled Cities" 220-228
--Mayes, Hennessy, "Slow Flying Stones" 145-162
Discussion:  Purpose, Unity, Style, Structure & Themes
--Blog#2 - Send post to Blog before class meets. Stylistic Requirement : Avoid beginning all sentences with nouns, pronouns, or article + noun or pronoun.   Use at least three different types of sentence beginnings.  See Hacker, p. 107 for more explanation, or go to the Guide to Grammar and Writing website  Scroll down the page to "Repeated Terms," and read on through "Variety in Modifier Placement."  Some excellent sentence models here.-
--Begin Online Grammar Exercises -- Complete 36 exercises (2 per day--they're short!!) Must achieve a score of 90% or better on each. Test over all grammar points on Feb. 25-- You may resubmit grammar quizzes until you receive a score of 90% or better.

"The journey not the arrival matters." -- T. S. Eliot
Jan 31
Discuss Hennessy, "Slow Flying Stones" pp 145-162 "Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions." –- Peter Hoeg
Feb 2
--Mayes, Lee, "The Scent of Two Cities" pp. 188-199. "Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else." – Lawrence Block
Feb 7
--Mayes, Wheeler, "The Fist of God," pp327-340
--Mayes, Perrottet, "Spain in a Minor Key," pp.282
Hi All--Just wanted to remind you to begin to read like a writer, i.e., underline your favorite sentences, words, similes, metaphors, etc.  I'll ask you to point these out in class. KLH
--Discussion:  Purpose, Unity, Style, Structure & Themes
--Blog#3 -Stylistic Requirement :  Read Hoffman, 7-13, and 31-35.  Vary sentence length.  Include one very short, three-word sentence

--Start thinking about a topic for Travel Narrative #1.  O'Neil has some good suggestions in her exercises, or click here if you need ideas.
--Online Grammar Exercises---Must achieve a score of 90% or better.  You may retake and resubmit grammar quizzes. 
Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel's immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and only way.

Ralph Crawshaw


--Introductions and Conclusions
--Mayes, O'Rourke, "Zion's Vital Signs" pp.263-281
--Mayes, Sedaris, "The Man Upstairs," pp. 310-315
--Mayes, Wilson, "Forward," pp. xi-xvi
--Mayes, Friedman, "Forty Years in Acapulco" pp 97-106 (This is Jason Wilson's favorite piece in the book and one of his all time favorite travel articles.)
--Jason also suggested we read this piece by Emily Maloney, a recent college grad. The piece was published on the WorldHum site and also in the 2003 BATW.

Register for Costa Rican pen pal at Language Exchange.com Then upgrade to Gold Membership, $6 for one month. Each student will write to the pen pals on a separate web page which will be assigned in class.  Here's your chance to get to know some real "Ticos."  Eventually you might want to ask them questions about stories in the Ras & Arias text.

Choose a topic and get started on Travel Narrative #1--Click Here for Ideas

--Blog#4 - Stylistic Requirement : Read Hoffman, pp.16-23. (Click on Hoffman link for reading pdf files.) Write a “flow” sentence using "freighting" technique.
--Online Grammar Exercises---Must achieve a score of 90% or better.  You may retake and resubmit grammar quizzes. 
Purpose, Unity & Structure

I have wandered all my life, and I have traveled; the difference between the two is this: we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.

Hilaire Belloc

Feb. 14

Happy Valentine's Day!
Jason Wilson,
series editor of Best American Travel Writing, speaks to the class.
*Click here to read an interview with Jason Wilson
*Click here for more articles by Wilson
--1st Version of Travel Narrative #1 Due for in-class editing
(Bring 1 hard copy)  Be sure your article has a good lead, strong purpose, unity, structure and has been well-researched.  Length:  1000 words.

Blog#5 -
Stylistic Requirement :  Read Hoffman, pp 23-30 and 35-48.  Write a "telescoping" sentence and use a "melted-together-word."
Online Grammar Exercises---Must achieve a score of 90% or better.  You may retake and resubmit grammar quizzes. 
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. the great affair is to move.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Travels with a Donkey,

Feb. 16

Read Ras and Arias, Costa Rica:  A Traveler's Literary Companion pp.
Return Travel Narratives and In-Class Editing Sheet to writers.  Have access to an e-copy of your narrative for in-class editing.

Discussion:  Purpose, Unity, Style and Structure & Themes
Online Grammar Exercises---Must achieve a score of 90% or better.  You may retake and resubmit grammar quizzes. 
- Stylistic Requirement :  Read Hoffman, pp. 38-45.  Write sentences with a semi-colon, a colon, a dash and a dash skewer.
Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

The Book of Daniel 12:4

Feb. 21    

--Read Ras and Arias, Costa Rica:  A Traveler's Literary Companion pp.
Final Version of Travel Narrative #1 Due
Email to Dr. Hollis as Word Attachment by 1:30
hard copies of 1st version and editing sheet to class.

Blog#7 - Stylistic Requirement :  Read Hoffman, pp 46-49.  Write a sentence using “super-literalism and one using "Netting" technique, p. 153-159.

Online Grammar Exercises---Must achieve a score of 90% or better.  You may retake and resubmit grammar quizzes. 
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain.

Feb.  23

--Read Ras and Arias, Costa Rica:  A Traveler's Literary Companion pp.

Blog#8 - Stylistic Requirement :  Read Hoffman, pp. 51-55.  Include techniques of "slang tang," "Piece (synecdoche) and "solder" in your post.
Market/Topic Research
Online Grammar Exercises---Must achieve a score of 90% or better.  You may retake and resubmit grammar quizzes. 
Lovers of air travel find it exhilarating to hang poised between the illusion of immortality and the fact of death.

Alexander Chase
, 1966

Feb. 28   

--Read Swick, A Way to See the World
Travel Narrative #2 -- Choose a topic and begin researching travel magazines that might publish your article.
--See "Getting Published" and "Travel Writing Links" on Class Home page for ideas. 
--Visit "Travel Writing" magazine section of Borders.  Obtain a copy of target publication if possible.

Begin Writing Query Letter:  One for Assn #1 and one for Assn #2.  Send each to two publications--can be online and print publications. 
         Although the requirement is to send queries and manuscripts (if emailing) to 4 publications, why not send to many more and increase your chances of
getting published? It's easy with cutting, pasting and emailing basically the same information over and over.
Query Letter/Email Format
out Magazine Market research sheet to characterize target publications.
- Stylistic Requirement : Read Hoffman, pp. 56-59.   Write a sentence with a “line-up metaphor.”  

Online Grammar Exercises---Must achieve a score of 90% or better.  You may retake and resubmit grammar quizzes. 
In travelling, a man must carry knowledge with him, if he would bring home knowledge.

Samuel Johnson
from Boswell, Life of Johnson, 1791

(No doubt this is true for women too!

Mar 2
Mid-Term Exam -- Grammar/Punctuation, Stylistic Techniques, Travel Writing Content/Structure/Style 

1st Version of Travel Narrative #2 (1000 words) Due for in-class editing    Be sure to write your narrative with your target publication in mind    --Bring two hard copies to class.
Electronic Journals Due (1-10)--Print out to turn in.
All Grammar Exercises Due Today
Mid-Term Exam --
Grammar/Punctuation, Stylistic Techniques, Travel Writing Content/Structure/Style  

Stylistic Requirement :  Read Hoffman, pp. 59-63.  Try using an extended metaphor or "break up" metaphor with "verbs" and "possessive" constructions too.

Mid-Term Study Guide
Online Grammar Exercises---Must achieve a score of 90% or better.  You may retake and resubmit grammar quizzes. 

Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it.

Eudora Welty

Mar 7 – 13   Spring Break  Enjoy!  
Read Swick, A Way to See the World
We must get beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.

John Hope Franklin




Read Swick, A Way to See the World We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world.

Marcel Proust

Mar 14



Read Swick, A Way to See the World If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Mar 16



Read Swick, A Way to See the World A traveller without observation is a bird without wings.

Moslih Eddin Saadi




Thomas Swick visits our class.  VU grad and Travel Editor, Florida Sun Sentinel

Without travel "I would have wound up a little ignorant white Southern female, which was not my idea of a good life." -- Lauren Hutton


Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves.

Carol Pearson



Critique of Tourism and Travel Writing
Final Version of Travel Narrative #2 Due.  Bring 1st version, editing sheet and target publication sheet to class to turn in.  Email narrative as Word attachment to Dr. Hollis.

Rhetorical Device #1
Revise and Resubmit Assn #1.  Send as Word attachment to Dr. Hollis.
Political Critique of Tourism

Blog#13 - Rhetorical Device #2 (Remember that these posts can become paragraphs in Assn #3--See Mar 24 below for topic) 

Class Canceled.  Dr. Hollis to Conference--San Francisco
Two Query Letters Due (One letter each for Assns #1 & 2-)-
Send to Dr. Hollis as Word Attachments
       Read Query Letters in O'Neill for suggestions: pp. 165-169
       Click here for Query Letter/Email Format--
       Be sure to use some language from your article to show what your style
       and substance will be like.

Political Critique of Tourism

Critical Reading, Electronic Reserve --
Blog#15 - Rhetorical device #3

Theoretical Critique of Travel Writing

Go to class WebCT page >  Electronic Reserves >  Holland & Huggan, "Preface" vii-xiv
, and "Introduction" 1-25
Bring Mayes, Best American Travel Writing 2002  to class.
Blog#16 -
Rhetorical Device #4
Revise and Resubmit Assn #2.  Send as Word attachment to Dr. Hollis.

Send out Query Emails and Travel Narratives Day 
          Must have revisions of assignments 1 & 2 completed and ready to send
          out during class.  Bring print outs of query letters and assignments 1 & 2
          if you intend to send them by snail mail.  Have e-copies of query letters
          and assignments accessible for class.  
         Also, bring or send yourself email addresses of several potential online
         and print publications for your pieces.
Send me an email letting me know where you sent your articles.
Mayes, "The Land of the White Rajahs" 200-210
Blog#17 - Rhetorical Device #5 

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." -- Helen Keller
Mar 24 – 28   Easter Vacation--  Enjoy!  
"Traveling is almost like talking with men of other centuries." -- René Descartes
Class Cancelled, Dr. Hollis to Seminar
Begin Assn#4--Critical Paper
Find a published (print or online) travel article for critique--look online or in magazines at Borders.  Copy of article to be turned in with paper.

Rhetorical Device #6
"One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." –- Henry Miller
April 4
1st Version of Critical Paper Due for in-class editing
Blog#19 - Rhetorical Device #7 
Mayes, "Spetses, Greece" 321-326
Sustainable Tourism--Skyros, Greece
"Long voyages, great lies." – Italian proverb
Apr 6

Return Critical Papers and In-Class Editing Sheet to writers
Blog#21 - Paragraph Imitation # 2
"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home." -- James Michener
Apr 11
Final Version of Critical Paper Due to Dr. Hollis as Word Attachment by 1:30.  Bring 1st version and editing sheet to class to turn in.
Review for class discussion:   
Mayes, "The Land of the White Rajahs" 200-210
Mayes, "Spetses, Greece" 321-326
Blog#22 - Paragraph Imitation # 3
Assn #4 - Web Writing -- Your Travel Page Composite--You will post 4 travel photos and write short evocative paragraphs for each.  You can use e-journal paragraph imitations or new writings.  Start collecting those photos now!
Using FrontPage 
"Let your memory be your travel bag." -- Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Apr 18
Blog#23 - Paragraph Imitation # 4
Picture Scanning and Collecting
"No matter where you go, there you are." – unknown
Apr 20
Blog#24 - Paragraph Imitation # 5
Bring 4 photos to class for scanning. If photos are already digital (Google, etc), email to yourself.  
2).  Finish 4 paragraphs which match photos -- Have available for class.

FrontPage Workshop:  Finish up Voyages web pages and begin to paste in  paragraphs.
"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen." – Benjamin Disraeli
Apr 25
Blog#25 - Paragraph Imitation # 6
1st Version Assn #3, Villanova Voyage, in FrontPage template Due for peer critique
We'll open these in FrontPage on the computers in class and have a "Musical Chairs Edit & Critique"
"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." -- Martin Buber
Apr 27
Blog#26 - Paragraph Imitation # 7
Assn #3, Villanova Voyage, Due--Convert to Word and email to Dr. Hollis
Presentations--Villanova Voyage
Turn in print out copy 
Blog#27 - Paragraph Imitation # 8
"Don't tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have traveled." -- Mohammed
Apr 28
Presentations--Villanova Voyage
Blog#28 - Paragraph Imitation # 9
Course Evaluations
Electronic Journals Due (13-28)
The longest journey is the journey inward.

Dag Hammarskjold

Final Exam -- TBA