Foreword

Travel Routes. On the Road to Be Free?

What fascinates us about travel routes, and how do works of literature influence and shape our perception of these routes? What do traditional travel routes symbolize, like the Silk Road, the Balkan Route, Route 66 or the Sahara Route, and what currently pressing problems do we associate them with? What is real about these routes, and what is imagined? What are the dreams, hopes as well as fears of those who travel along them? And how do travel routes invariably become associated with the male passion for adventure?
What other insights do we learn from literary texts that, since Homer’s Odyssey, were closely linked with the aspiration for free movement and the desire to deepen our knowledge? Why do travellers choose to follow a particular route? What do they learn from opening their horizon – be it geographically, temporally or getting to know themselves? How do travel routes invariably become associated with the male passion for adventure? Do any travel routes revolve around female travel, and which locations lead beyond the colonial exploration of the world?
These questions highlight an important and controversial policy debate today about freedom of movement and its related proposition of open and closed borders. The restrictions on our freedom to travel re-emerged in 2020 at the heart of the debate about the western conception of leading a free life. Suddenly, travel restrictions affected not just migrants and job seekers but also the affluent middle-classes. And everything coincided with the ecological disaster that was largely triggered by the international unlimited, widescale transportation of people and goods in recent decades.
Are closed and open borders an indication of our basic universal human propensity for ideas, sentiment and ambition? Is unrestricted travel per se an expression of the wish to experience unlimited freedom?
The European Literature Days 2021 ask international guest writers to engage with all of these questions in Writer Q&A discussions and to get together with an enthusiastic audience – to inspire and be inspired – at the Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche.
We warmly invite you to join in!


Walter Grond
Artistic Director Literaturhaus Europa

What fascinates us about travel routes, and how do works of literature influence and shape our perception of these routes? What do traditional travel routes symbolize, like the Silk Road, the Balkan Route, Route 66 or the Sahara Route, and what currently pressing problems do we associate them with? What is real about these routes, and what is imagined? What are the dreams, hopes as well as fears of those who travel along them? And how do travel routes invariably become associated with the male passion for adventure?

What other insights do we learn from literary texts that, since Homer’s Odyssey, were closely linked with the aspiration for free movement and the desire to deepen our knowledge? Why do travellers choose to follow a particular route? What do they learn from opening their horizon – be it geographically, temporally or getting to know themselves? How do travel routes invariably become associated with the male passion for adventure? Do any travel routes revolve around female travel, and which locations lead beyond the colonial exploration of the world?

These questions highlight an important and controversial policy debate today about freedom of movement and its related proposition of open and closed borders. The restrictions on our freedom to travel re-emerged in 2020 at the heart of the debate about the western conception of leading a free life. Suddenly, travel restrictions affected not just migrants and job seekers but also the affluent middle-classes. And everything coincided with the ecological disaster that was largely triggered by the international unlimited, widescale transportation of people and goods in recent decades.

Are closed and open borders an indication of our basic universal human propensity for ideas, sentiment and ambition? Is unrestricted travel per se an expression of the wish to experience unlimited freedom?

The European Literature Days 2021 ask international guest writers to engage with all of these questions in Writer Q&A discussions and to get together with an enthusiastic audience – to inspire and be inspired – at the Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche.

We warmly invite you to join in!

Walter Grond
Artistic Director Literaturhaus Europa

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