Culture Bias in "The Travels of Marco Polo" Book Review by Nicky

Looks at strains of Orientalism and exoticism in "The Travels of Marco Polo".
# 145239 | 2,045 words | 1 source | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Oct 30, 2010 in English (Analysis) , Literature (Italian) , Asian Studies (General) , Sociology (Multiculturalism)

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This paper explains that, without question in "The Travels of Marco Polo", the assumed author Marco Polo's own Western and Christian cultural bias kept him from observing the other cultures he encountered in his travels and from writing about them in a fair and objective manner. Next, the author points out examples of Marco Polo's ethnocentric disposition towards Christianity such as time being measured from the Biblical creation of Adam by a Christian God. The paper concludes that, given the desire of the European readership of the day to exoticize the strangeness of the Orient, "The Travels of Marco Polo" would never have gained such popularity without having been written from this perspective.

From the Paper:

"During and after his time in the court of Kubla Khan, one notices an increased tone of rationality in the narrative. Less exoticized details of the life of people in the Orient begin to emerge, such as food and clothing habit, but the earlier sensationalism is not lost entirely--perhaps cannot be, as it is such an engrained part of the Western perspective when viewing the sights of Asia. He travels to a region he identifies as "Bengala," which according to Latham is likely Bengal but could possibly be Pegu, which was in the process of being conquered during the time of the Great Khan's court."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Polo, Marco (attributed). The Travels of Marco Polo, Ronald Latham. New York: Penguin, 1958.

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