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AC Grayling surveys the essential literature from Homer to Thubron

Travel writing is one of the largest literary genres; it pre-dates every other save poetry and religious writing. The Exodus of Moses and Homer’s Odyssey might count as the earliest specimens, but if the former is excluded on grounds of having too tenuous a link with fact, and the latter for having none, then with them would alas go-for the same respective reasons-the anonymous 14th century Voyage of Sir John Mandeville and Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726). This would make Description of Greece (2nd century AD) by Pausanias the earliest extant genuine travel book: it includes topographical descriptions, city guides and…

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