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Where the trail goes cold

Travel literature has had three great periods, the last being the 1980s. Now it is finished. Edward Marriott examines his own part in the downfall of the romantic wanderer

By Edward Marriott   January 2003

In 1946, Evelyn Waugh, like so many others before and since, predicted the end of travel writing. “I do not expect to see many travel books in the near future,” he wrote. Shocked and embittered by a war that had laid waste to Europe and produced technological innovations such as the jet engine, he lamented the imminent demise of the “old” kind of travel. In the new world of “displaced persons,” light-hearted journeys now seemed anomalous. “Never again, I suppose, shall we land on foreign soil with a letter of credit and passport and feel the world wide open before…

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