Extramunde: a narrativa da viaxe e o paradoxo da alteridade

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Extramunde's narrative structure is organised around the idea of travel, both in the sense of mobility - in this case a forced mobility - and of the need to write about it. The novel does not only include constant spatial references that indicate the route taken by the ship in which the characters travel, but also explicit references to travel literature, through the incorporation of excerpts of the log book and the personal diary of the scribe himself, who narrates some of the events in the journey. As has been extensively discussed in postcolonial studies, the encounter with the 'other' is an essential feature of travel literature. In Extramunde, this encounter also becomes a key aspect of the narrative, which describes the interactions between the sailors and African and Asian populations. However, the changing position of some of the main characters leads to an illuminating reflection. On terra firma, part of the crew had been condemned by the Spanish Inquisition, accused of heresy and even demonic possession. Whereas before the journey they are seen as the 'other' (insane, heretics, possessed by the devil) by the religious authorities, in the open sea, freed from their sentence, they are transformed into seamen and explorers. Hence, a change of roles takes place: the 'other' is now the settler of the lands they find in their journey. This article will analyse firstly the construction of the travel narrative in the novel, and secondly, the challenge to the idea of alterity as an absolute concept, through the transformation undergone by the characters in relation to what is seen as otherness.


  • Xavier Queipo, Literatura de viaxes, Novela de aventuras, Alteridade, Poscolonialismo
Original languageOther
Pages (from-to)57-75
JournalGalicia 21. Journal of Contemporary Galician Studies
Issue numberE
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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