As an explicitly transcultural genre premised on encounter and exchange, travel writing provides ample opportunities for the study of cultural transfer across the centuries. As diverse as the forms and purposes of travel writing are – covering reports of exploratory journeys, scientific expeditions, pilgrimages, educational tours, or leisure trips – they all involve the acquisition, processing and mediation of cultural knowledge. However, contemporary studies in the fields of intercultural transfer and exchange (Lüsebrink 2005, Greenblatt 2010) have pointed out the instability and contingency of any cultural transaction. In addition, discursive constructions of the self and the other are shaped by particular ideological, aesthetic, gendered, social and institutional contexts (Leerssen et al. 2007).