What was travel writing? A testament to the heroic curiosity of the Western spirit: its readiness to dance and drink with the remotest beings, its ability to teach others their own history – and, of course, its uniquely profound sensitivity to human tragedy.
Once upon a time, this meant something. There was actually some truth to the West’s universality: Western erudition could be a hard-won gift to the world, and the troubled conscience of Western travellers was sometimes more than just self-discovery.
But it is largely irrelevant today.