Attilio Brilli is a renowned scholar of travel literature, a topic about which he has written many volumes devoted mostly to journeys in Italy. The European nobleman's Grand Tour, in which Italy was the main destination, was a trip taken for education and pleasure. This new book deals with another type of experience: voyages of exploration and conquest which Europeans undertook in the modern era, usually over the seas and beyond the frontiers of the known world, in order to discover new lands. These voyages were inspired by the desire to explore and achieve knowledge, but also by the will to conquer, exploit, and even plunder places like America, Australia, Africa, and India. The fascinating and simultaneously vile adventures of European dominion over the world is to be found in the accounts of conquistadores and merchants, men of letters and slave-traders, and in the ironic countermelody of literary invention (with Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver).
Attilio Brilli teaches English and American Literature at the University of Siena in Arezzo.