Traveling, Writing and Engagement in Robyn Davidson’s Tracks

Magali Sperling Beck


In 1980, Australian writer Robyn Davidson publishes her travel narrative Tracks, in which she describes her crossing of the central Australian deserts in the late 1970’s, on foot and by herself, being accompanied only by her dog and by four camels. The narrative became an immediate success after its publication, receiving the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, and been widely read both in Australia and worldwide. It has also become an emblematic example of contemporary travel narratives, mainly due to the fact that it is not only a book about survival or about a woman crossing a desert alone, rather elaborating on the implications between genre and gender; it is also a narrative that recuperates the political and ideological background of an important moment in Australian history. Thus, taking into consideration Davidson’s ambivalence in relation to writing about her travel experiences, in this paper, I argue that Tracks, more than celebrating the process of self-transformation in travel, lingers on the tension between its narrator’s search for freedom and her awareness regarding the responsibilities involved in engaging with cultural difference and in representing geographical crossings. 


Travel Writing; Australian Literature; Robyn Davidson; Tracks

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