Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Unknown Town Project

The title of this web journal or web-log is drawn from the work of Antoine Compagnon where he writes of the novel as being like an unknown town, in which he wanders:

Un roman est comme une ville inconnue dans laquelle je déambule. 
(Compagnon 2006, 798)

The postings to this Travel Journal, or Carnet de Voyage, are by Antonio Nobile acting as a case participant for the field research of Charlie Mansfield.  The Unknown Town Project has a whole range of aims: 

  • to develop travel writing and journal writing skills
  • to test the themes discovered in contemporary travel writing
  • to provide a corpus of textual data on which grounded theory coding can be applied
  • to ask 'what is tourism knowledge?' and see how it is created by writing
  • to explore how value is created for visitors 
  • to explore Concarneau (our ville inconnue) with the aid of the Georges Simenon detective novel, The Yellow Dog (Le Chien jaune).    
Each day through the planning, reading and travelling AN will take one of these 16 themes as a prompt for his diary or journal entry:

Thematic Anatomy of the Late Twentieth-Century French Travel Text

Mounting excitement at the prospect of the journey, but also see xéniteia below.
Preparatory reading
Identity shifts possible in new clothing at the destination.
Thomas 2003
Displacement and time are components of travel movement so verb tenses will provide inroad to textual practice.
The travel text will add to the stock of knowledge.
Foucault 1966
Food & Drink, meal-taking
Strange new foods.  Meals prepared by someone else.  A pause in the journey is invested with more.
Kostova 2003
Images, sights,
The travel writer will see new and beautiful things, like views of Paris as a picture postcard.
The strange language may not appear connected to the travel writer’s own world.  Writer may choose to incorporate found texts, spoken or written.
Rolin 1995
Printed page will use white space as part of structure of travel text, reminiscent of the map
Diderot 1796 Ernaux 1993 and 2000
Responsibility shift
Traveller is at ease, responsibility seems removed allowing traveller to behave outside home conventions.
Self-identity inscribed in the text as exote but entropy may be at work
Forsdick 2000 after Segalen
Mode of transport contributes to literariness of text.
Giard and Certeau 1990 after Verne
Sights and new people will recall previous literary or artistic readings.
Scott 2004
The travel writer will report the ‘truth’
Diderot 1796
Used to render simultaneously truthfulness and literariness.
Rolin 1995
Deciding what to take with you on the voyage and what to leave behind.  Putting affairs in order to live an organised life.
Barthes 1977 (edition 2002)

Reference to cite this table from page 75    (Mansfield 2012, 75)

Mansfield, C. (2012) Traversing Paris: French Travel Writing Practices in the Late Twentieth Century; an Analysis of the Work of Annie Ernaux, François Maspero and Jean Rolin, Saarbrücken, AV Akademikerverlag. ISBN 3639441281


Barthes, Roland (2002) Comment vivre ensemble Paris, Seuil & IMEC.

Diderot, Denis (1796) Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville, Paris, abbée Bourdet de Vauxcelles [Edition used and cited here is: Chinard, Gilbert (1935) Diderot – Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville Oxford, Oaris, London & Baltimore, John Hopkins Press and OUP.]

Ernaux, Annie (1993) Journal du dehors Paris, Gallimard.
— (2000) La Vie extérieure Paris, Gallimard.

Forsdick, Charles (2000) Victor Segalen and the Aesthetics of Diversity – Journeys between Cultures, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Foucault, Michel (1963) Naissance de la clinique Paris, PUF.
— (1966) Les mots et les choses – Une archéologie des sciences humaines Paris, Gallimard.
— (1969) L’Archéologie du savoir Paris, Gallimard NRF.
— (1970) The Order of Things London, Routledge.
               [English translation of Les mots et les choses with new Foreword]
— (1975) Surveiller et punir : naissance de la prison Paris, Gallimard.

Giard, Luce (ed) [Certeau, Michel de] (1990) L’invention du quotidien – 1. arts de faire Paris, Gallimard Folio Essais [new edition introduced and edited by Luce Giard]

Kostova, Ludmilla (2003) ‘Meals in Foreign Parts: Food in Writing by Nineteenth-Century British Travellers to the Balkans’ in Journeys: The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing Volume 4, Number 1, 2003, pp.21-44,  Oxford and New York, Berghahn Books.   

Mansfield, C. (2014) Research Methods in Tourism and Place-Making, Toureme [online] Available at: [Accessed 24.12.14].

Nobile, A. (2014) The Unknown Town Project, [online] Available at: [Accessed 24.12.14].

Rolin, Jean (1995) Zones Paris, Gallimard.
— (1996) L’Organisation Paris, Gallimard.
— (2005) Terminal Frigo Paris, POL.

Scott, D. (2004) Semiologies of Travel from Gautier to Baudrillard Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Thomas, D. (2003) ‘Fashion Matters: La Sape and Vestimentary Codes in Transnational Contexts and Urban Diasporas.’ in Francophone Studies: New Landscapes, Modern Language Notes, (118)4, pp.947-973. Edited by Françoise Lionnet and Dominic Thomas.

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