Antonio Garcia Espada

European University Institute

Dante, Sanudo and Marco Polo: romance, crusade and the perpetuation of travel literature as a genre


Antonio Garcia Espada graduated at the Complutense University of Madrid with a degree in Medieval History. His research about the Medieval Travellers to the Indies started at the Jawaharlal Nehru University of Delhi under an anthropological methodology that proved useful to elucidate some of the most puzzling episodes of the narratives of the 14th century travellers. At the European University Institute of Florence his research entered a new stage deeply influenced by the main concerns of the Modern European Expansion. The relation of the first European travel literature to Asia with commerce and the aggressive ideology of the Church against the Muslims became the centre of his dissertation, which was awarded with the Ph. D degree in May 2006. At the Italian Academy he will continue his exploration of the links between the travel literature and romance, and how the symbiosis between these two genres empowered the transmission to the Modern era of a particular idea of otherness and conquest, born at the end of the 13th century. His main areas of interest are travelogue, crusade, mendicant orders, Mongol expansion, cartography, origins of individualism and comparative literature.