Volume 13, Issue 2, 2016
Cross-Cultural Intermediality: From Performance to Digitality
Representations of China by Western Travellers in the Blogsphere
This article adopts a transmedial perspective in order to investigate narrative similarities and differences between print and online travel writing. Texts, which are contemporary and Western-authored, are written either in English, French and Italian and they all focus on China as the travel destination. Drawing upon Gérard Genette and Mieke Bal's studies on the narrative discourse, it is contended that travel books and travel blogs, despite sharing basic generic features (i.e. first-person travel accounts), present substantial differences. In the former, readers are presented with a coherent and self-exhaustive narrative. This means that the representation of both China and the traveller results as a progressive (self)discovery. On the other hand, travel blogs provide fragmented and objectified accounts rich in touristic tips. As a consequence, the narrative loses its internal development and takes on an informative value in which the portrayal of China and the traveller recede to the background.