Travel: From Modernity to…?
Travel and the development of increasingly speedy means of transport seem indissociable from modernity. If travel inevitably alters the human sense of space, travelling at great speed changes the human understanding of geography and time altogether, Virilio argues. The rise of mass tourism in the late twentieth century, many suggest, has tended to erase spatial and local differences (Debord, Bauman, Augé, Virilio, Koolhaas). It also seems indissociable from the concept of “postmodernity”: the tourist is for Bauman a postmodern archetype. Augé’s term “super-modernity”, characterizing a world of “non-places”, made only for rapid transit, suggests contemporary experience can be understood as an intensification of long-standing trends within modernity. The second part of the chapter turns to the literary treatment of travel from the era of the “rise of the novel” to Houellebecq’s Platform.