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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Travel and Literature: The Liberian Narratives of Esther Warner and Graham Greene
Author:Blake, Susan Louise (American)(1946-2009)ISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic term:Liberia
English language
About persons:Esther Sietmann Warner (American)(1910-2002)ISNI
Graham Greene (1904-1991)ISNI
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3819833
Abstract:In February and early March 1935, Graham Greene trekked across Liberia in order to write a book. The narrative he published the following year, 'Journey without maps', has become the modern paradigm of the journey into Africa as a journey into self. Esther Warner, an American artist and writer who lived in Liberia during World War II, wrote three narratives about treks to interior villages. One of these, 'Seven days to Lomaland' (1954), is compared in this article with 'Journey without maps'. Although Warner's book was well received and several times reprinted, it remained a travel book of occasional interest for information, not of enduring value. 'Journey without maps' has remained in print since its original publication and achieved the status of literature. The opposite directions and fates of the two books raise the question of how to evaluate travel writing. Do we value the informative qualities or the inventive qualities of travel literature? The article examines some reviews of both books and the criteria for recognition as 'literature' applied by the reviewers. The conclusion is that none of these criteria of literary value can establish the artistic superiority of either Greene or Warner. Bibliogr.