Old Glory (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
Travel literature is a rich and varied literary form; in part this is because of the correspondences which exist between reading and traveling. When Emily Dickinson cast her famous metaphor comparing frigates to books she was more than a little bit accurate. If reading is a kind of journey then so is writing, and no other kind of writing points this up in quite the same way that travel writing does.
It is perhaps too much of a generalization to say that, at heart, all life and all literature are based in travel. The case could, however, be made for such an assertion. From the darkness of the birth canal to the narrow-walled grave, from the first page to the last, numerous journeys are started and ended. Oftentimes vicarious journeys must suffice, voyages only imagined, dreamed. Rarely do the journeys of literature cross over into the journeys of life. When they do, the event is likely to be momentous, with a significance both individual and universal. Such is the case of Old Glory: An American Voyage.
The Mississippi River has itself long been a kind of metaphor for America, coursing as it does the heartland of the country, receiving many other noble rivers in its own progress to the Gulf of Mexico. Minneapolis, St. Louis, Memphis, New Orleans, even such smaller cities as LaCrosse, Dubuque, Quincy, Natchez, Baton Rouge (not to mention countless other places)—all of these river towns (aside from the industry and commerce associated...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
Christian Science Monitor. LXXIII, November 9, 1981, p. B4.
The Economist. CLXXXI, October 24, 1981, p. 93.
Library Journal. CVI, September 15, 1981, p. 1733.
Nation. CCXXXIII, September 26, 1981, p. 280.
The New Republic. CLXXXV, October 28, 1981, p. 39.
The New York Review of Books. XXVIII, November 19, 1981, p. 10.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVI, September 6, 1981, p. 1.
Newsweek. XCVIII, October 5, 1981, p. 83.
Saturday Review. X, September, 1981, p. 57.
Times Literary Supplement. October 23, 1981, p. 1227.
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