Because travel narratives chronicle daily interactions between Europeans and Africans in the literal and figurative region Mary Louise Pratt calls the "contact zone," they provide a rich entry into the development of colonial rule in Africa during the second half of the nineteenth century. Drawing upon literary, historical, anthropological, and feminist approaches to travel writing, this book features analysis of the physical and verbal violence employed by legendary and prolific travelers including Henry M. Stanley, Samuel Baker, and Mary Kingsley, as they sought to gain and keep authority during their journeys. It also presents new perspectives on early Modernist authors Olive Schreiner and Joseph Conrad by linking the violence in their turn-of-the-century fictional travelogues - Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland (1897) and Heart of Darkness (1902) - with the rhetoric of humanitarian trusteeship that undergirded the perpetuation of European imperial rule through the 1950s.

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