A new book for the global Middle Ages
The medieval period - broadly conceived from the Fall of Rome to the Reformation, in a European setting - has laid the foundations for the long European and Middle Eastern history of voyaging, colonialism, and expansion: the Papal embassies that took over one year of overland travel to reach Mongolia, Ibn Battuta’s thirty years of voyaging to Africa and East Asia, or the arrival of European colonialism, through Christopher Columbus, in the Americas, to name a few momentous instances. Medieval travel writing, in particular, has contributed many of the most widely studied narratives in European literary history, including John Mandeville’s Travels, Boccaccio’s Decameron, Marco Polo’s voyage account, or Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
A Global History of Medieval Travel Writing: European Perspectives, edited by Sebastian Sobecki and contracted by Cambridge University Press, will be published in 2024. This will be the first pan-European, Middle Eastern, and global guide through the bewildering maze of early travel narratives. Each chapter will be written by a leading specialist in their geographical area. At the same time, the geographical scope of this collection, with chapters on travel writing produced by Persian, Arabic, and Chinese writers, among others, will challenge Western periodisation and the term ‘medieval’. Using the dates 1200 and 1550 CE as boundaries for a global period of intercultural and intercontinental contact, the volume (despite its combined European and Middle Eastern centre) will not attempt to interpret ‘medieval’ beyond marking a chronological spectrum.
Individual chapters will pay particular attention to questions of gender, manuscript transmission, and language choice and multilingualism. 

The book will be prefaced by a substantial introduction to medieval travel writing, with maps of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the Atlantic. Next follows Part 1 - Contexts, a thematic section with 10 chapters that cut across periods and regions, covering such topics as geography in late Antiquity, women travellers, race, or manuscripts. 
The organising principle behind the 28 chapters in the book's central section, Part 2 - Traditions, is one of comprehensive geography, structured by 6 regions: the Nordic World and the British Isles; France, Italy, and Iberia; the Empire and Central Europe; Poland-Lithuania, Rus', and Byzantium; Africa and the Middle East; and Asia and the Americas. Each of the geographical chapters in the main body of the volume will have a primary focus on travel accounts produced by travellers from this region or texts that were commonly read and copied in this region and a secondary focus on voyages made to the region under discussion. Significant centres of pilgrimage, such as Rome, Jerusalem, and Mecca, will receive their own chapters. An Afterword will close the book.
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