This research aims to study and understand the link between European travel chronicles from the 19th century onwards, and how these texts were reproduced by the early Chilean press. The research project addresses the continuities and discontinuities, and the similarities and differences between both of them.
Chronicle has been traditionally analyzed and differentiated by identifying three essential periods: The chronicle of the Indias from the 15th to 18th century; The modernist chronicle from the second half (and especially the end) of the 19th century; And the contemporary chronicle from the 1960s and 1970s up today. Notwithstanding, some researchers have pointed to a lack of knowledge, especially with regard to the period between the chronicle of the Indias and the modernist chronicle.
In order to bridge this gap, my research investigates the relation between European travel chronicles and the early Chilean press in the ‘pre-modernist’ phase. The 19th century is characterized by a self-proclaimed global civilizing project, which is currently understood in direct continuity with 15th-century colonialism. This global project aimed to activate cultural and economic connections worldwide with imperialistic purposes. Global (post)colonialism, in a discursive and materialistic way, is the consequence of this process up to the present days.
Travel chronicles are a vehicle and an integral part of the expansionist-colonialist project known as the “colonial culture”. In particular, travel narratives are part of the “travel culture” inherent to the colonial project. Moreover, they are just one of many different cultural devices (such as popular songs, cabaret, human zoos, among others), which are related to the 19th century “colonial immersion”. In these circumstances, European travel literature represents Latin America in terms of exoticism and unexplored regions.
Therefore, the link between European travel chronicles and the way they appear in Chile’s early press seems to be a productive space of scholarly research and reflection.