Pilgrimage Journeying in Matsuo Bashō and Alexander von Humboldt

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Thomas Heyd


In this paper I argue that the concept of pilgrimage provides a unifying trope for the otherwise seemingly unfocused travel accounts of Bashō’s Narrow Road to the Interior (2005) and Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland’s Voyage aux régions equinoxiales du Nouveau Continent (1807-1834). I begin with a brief description of debates regarding the notion of pilgrimage. After that I show how pilgrimage as trope may be applied to the texts of these authors. This is followed by an application of the classical stages of pilgrimage to particular phases of Bashō’s and Humboldt’s recounted experiences. I conclude that pilgrimage offers an illuminating new way to understand the travel accounts of these two writers.

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How to Cite
Heyd, T. (2019). Pilgrimage Journeying in Matsuo Bashō and Alexander von Humboldt. Journal of World Philosophies, 4(1), 23-35. Retrieved from https://scholarworks.iu.edu/iupjournals/index.php/jwp/article/view/2641
Author Biography

Thomas Heyd

Thomas Heyd teaches in the Department of Philosophy and in the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada. Presently, he is actively exploring the philosophy of science and scientific methodology of Alexander von Humboldt in the context of global climate change. He has widely published on environmental philosophy/ethics, aesthetics in relation to petroglyphs and pictographs, and history of philosophy, and has a long-standing interest in Japanese culture. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Environmental Ethics, of the Eco-Social Studies Centre of the University of La Laguna (Tenerife, Spain), of the Advisory Council of the Toda Institute for Global Policy and Peace Research, of the Business Group of the International Society for Philosophy and Architecture, and of the European Network for Environmental Ethics, as well as Canadian representative of the International Society for Environmental Ethics. He was Research Fellow (2015) at the University of Victoria Centre for Global Studies, and Research Fellow (2014, 2015) at Université de Troyes Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies and Sustainable Development (CREIDD). His books publications include Encountering Nature: Toward an Environmental Culture (Ashgate, 2007), Recognizing the Autonomy of Nature (Columbia University Press, 2005), and Aesthetics and Rock Art (Ashgate, 2005; with John Clegg).