Chinese travel writing between (print) tradition and (digital) novelty : a transmedial approach to contemporary travel books and blogs

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Stefano Calzati

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-222
Journal / PublicationChinese Journal of Communication
Issue number2
Online published2 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


This article advances a transmedial comparison between several contemporary travelogues and travel blogs written by Chinese writers about China. The grounding assumption is that travel books and blogs are two mediated forms that realize the same generic matrix: travel writing. Building on research about classic Chinese travel writing and contemporary Internet Chinese literature, the article proposes a close reading of the texts with the aim, on the one hand, to understand how contemporary travel accounts – in print and online – follow and/or reinvent the genre, and, on the other hand, to bridge the gap between analogue and digital realms beyond their often over-accentuated differences. Findings suggest that contemporary Chinese travel books are much politicized. Contrary to traditional authors, who resorted to the genre in order to celebrate the status quo within the Middle Kingdom, today’s authors write about their travels in order to criticize the current political situation in China. Travel bloggers, instead, largely privilege a contemplative attitude towards their experiences; one that kindles a visually based and depoliticized writing that is very much in the spirit of classic texts.

Research Area(s)

  • blogs, China, Chinese blogosphere, political texts, travel books, travel writing

Bibliographic Note

Full text of this publication does not contain sufficient affiliation information. With consent from the author(s) concerned, the Research Unit(s) information for this record is based on the existing academic department affiliation of the author(s).