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4837 - Georg Forster, Johann Gottfried Seume, Alexander von Humboldt - representatives of authentic reportage - a comparison

My dissertation is addressed to so called travellers, in this case three travel writers: namely Georg Forster, Johann Gottfried Seume and Alexander von Humboldt. The point is to study these persons from that of the author’s field, the science of communication.

One work from each of the travellers: Forster’s “A voyage around the world” (1772-1775), Seume’s “Walk to Syracuse ” (1801-1802) and Humboldt’s “Travel to South America ” (1799-1804) has been taken into account and compared. Commonalities and differences between the travel reports are explored, while acknowledging both the unequal travel destinations and the different modes of travel.

The central question for this work is to ask if the travel writing manners of Forster, Seume and Humboldt could be seen as precursors of present-day journalism. Taking place by peering at how their regarding ways of travel influenced their style and content of writing, as well as how they sought to convey authenticity in the policy of their reportage.

A coding system of concepts and definitions was coined, to analyse and interpret selected contents of the given words. The results of the analysis were used to verify or falsify the study’s developed research questions and hypothesis concerning the travel writers and journalism.

The completing argument of the dissertation is that Georg Forster, Johann Gottfried Seume and Alexander von Humboldt did generate authentic reportages in the style of travel reports and that they could be seen as precursors of modern-day journalism.

Keywords: reportage;communication;comparison;travel

Author: Preischl, Christian (None, Austria / Österreich)

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