Heidi Liedke

W.H. Hudson and Bruce Chatwin in Patagonia: The Phantasy of Disappearance

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Keywords: Bruce Chatwin; W.H. Hudson; Idleness; Patagonia; Travel Writing.

Many writers have observed that Patagonia is a paradoxical space that has a fuelling effect on the human imagination. Jean Baudrillard writes of it as a "phantasy of disappearance" and links this observation to a general statement about travel, namely that it serves the purpose of a gentle deterritorialization. In "Idle Days in Patagonia" the ornithologist and writer W.H. Hudson observes that the Patagonian landscape lets him transcend his usual mindset of requiring an excuse for being inactive. Eighty-four years later, Bruce Chatwin finds Patagonia to be the ideal stage to enact his obsessively flighty engagement with landscape and people in "In Patagonia". What Hudson's and Chatwin's texts have in common is that they play with the idea of idleness and absence: influenced by the empty landscape, both texts enact the connection between empty space and idleness and textual fragmentation.

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