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DOI, Digital Objetc Identifier 10.4185/RLCS-2019-1360en | ISSN 1138 - 5820 | RLCS, 74-2019 | Audio-visual explanation of the author |

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E Gallegos Krause, J Otazo Hermosilla): “Travel logs and the formation of modern media around the categories of information and entertainment”. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 74, pp. 840 to 856.
DOI: 10.4185/RLCS-2019-1360-43en



From the "First trip around the Globe" (s.XVI) to "Le Tour du Monde" (s.XIX-XX)

Travel logs and the formation of modern media around the categories of information and entertainment

Eduardo Gallegos Krause [CV] [ oORCID] [ gGS]  Profesor del Departamento de Lenguas, Literatura y Comunicación, Universidad de La Frontera, Temuco, Chile.  Doctorando en Comunicación, Universidad de La Frontera-Universidad Austral, Chile – eduardo.gallegos@ufrontera.cl

Jaime Otazo Hermosilla [CV] [o ORCID] [ gGS]  Profesor del Departamento de Lenguas, Literatura y Comunicación, Universidad de La Frontera, Temuco, Chile – jaime.otazo@ufrontera.cl

Abstracts: Introduction. The present work considers some continuities present in the story of Antonio de Pigafetta where he recorded the first round the world (1519-1522) and the texts published in the French travel magazine "Le Tour du Monde" (1860-1914). The pertinence in the comparison of these texts lies in the fact that both are developed in a colonial context where they appear as premature forms of media, both having a central component that involves contact with non-European indigenous alterity. Methodology and results. Through a semiotic analysis methodology, we show how the notions of information and spectacle are linked to the meaning of otherness in these texts. Discussion and Conclusions. It is then discussed about the relevance of talking about "travel journalism" as a genre underestimated because it is not pure and hard information; more than a modern form of journalism, travel journalism is an antecedent of traditional journalism.

Keywords: travel logs; alterity; colonialism; information; entertainment; journalism

Contents: 1. Theoretical-contextual background. 1.1 The colonial continuity between the XV-XVI century and the XIX-XX century: (dis)connection with otherness. 1.2 Towards an extensive definition of cultural industries: travel literature, journalism, and the media. 2. Methodological framework. 2.1 Semio-discursive analysis model. 3. Results: between information/veracity and show/exoticism. 3.1 The information and truth dimension. 3.2 The spectacular and exotic aspect. 4. Final considerations


“…in order to be able to tell others about my trip, both to entertain them and to be useful to them…” Antonio de Pigafetta, 1522

“The aim of Le Tour du Monde is to announce the journeys (…) that manifest the biggest interest to the imagination, curiosity or the survey.” Edouard Charton, 1860

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1. Theoretical-contextual background: colonialism, alterity, travel literature and journalism
1.1. The colonial continuity between the XV-XVI century and the XIX-XX century: (dis) connection with otherness

The nineteenth century was characterized by the implementation of a global civilizational project that today is possible to understand as a continuation of the expansion processes of the XV century when the European powers sought the economic and cultural articulation of the globe for imperialist purposes. This civilizational project gives rise to global colonialism, whose discursive and material consequences are felt until today throughout the world (Wallerstein, 2007, Mignolo, 2007, Said, 1990 and 2005, Dussel, 1994).

Concerning the particularity of the 19th century in these processes, since 1852 the traditional European monarchical states began to decline and to give way to increasingly liberal political and economic systems (Bouvier, 1999). Besides, the second industrial revolution, which is usually located between 1870 and 1914 in the European space, completely changed the socio-economic and political order of the world. All the automation of processes that followed the industrial production brought as a consequence a colonial policy of annexation of new territories for the obtaining of raw materials and the positioning of manufactures. In the case of Latin America, the bourgeois elites, which consolidate after the wars of independence with the formation of nation-states, reproduced colonial dynamics (internal colonialism) subjecting indigenous populations to exclusion based on dichotomy civilization/barbarism already imposed by Europeans (Flores, 2000, Rabasa, 2009, Navarro, 2005, Salgado, 2016, Pinto, 2003, 2008)

In this context of colonial expansion, travel magazines and a series of travel stories are published, either contracted by the nascent republics that strengthen their independence, either by initiatives of colonial countries or by the pure enjoyment of the adventure. However, the globe is in the process of (re)discovery, expansion, and re-appropriation, where the journey and the travelers-explorers, constitute a central element of what will be the new articulation of territories and finally a new geopolitical conception of the globe. All this will lead to a process that in the particular case of South America has been called from Europe a "rediscovery of America" ​​(Huerta, 2002).

Then, the travel logs represent one of the dissemination’s mediums and propaganda for the expansionist-colonialist ideology and the basic civilizing function of the European nations in places far from the metropolis. Thus, the travel story is part of the "culture of travel" (Venayre, 2006), inserted in the "colonial culture" (Blanchard, et al. 2008) that floods the thinking of the nineteenth century, drives the dreams, desires, and fears of European society. The stories of travel associated with unknown and exotic spaces are what the new nations of America represent for Europeans (Salgado, 2016). Thus, Staszak (2006) has noted the dimension of exoticism in which alterity is constructed in the travel accounts that appear as an attraction for the difference and manifestation of the European-Western superiority.

Within this context the magazine Le Tour du Monde appears as the most important publishing journal dedicated to travel; although there was a large number of journals on travel literature at the time (Huerta, 2002), Le Tour du Monde undoubtedly has a preponderance over others. This relevance is given by the permanence in the time that the magazine had (1860-1914), by being associated with Hachette, one of the most prestigious publishers of the French publishing field, and by being directed by Edouard Charton, an important man of the time related to education and politics in France. Le Tour du Monde was not the first editorial adventure of Charton, who before the success of this magazine had already founded the Magasin pittoresque and L'illustration, imbued with the ideas of San Simónismo and with a deep interest in education (Grijalba, 2003). We consider that the three texts that make up the corpus of this work (Cordemoy, 1896, De la Vaulx, 1900 and Nordenskjoeld, 1902) are a faithful and reliable sample of all the other stories disclosed by Le Tour du Monde. These three texts were chosen, mainly, for having focused on the description of the southern territories of Chile and Argentina, which are the same ones for which the Magellan expedition and the Pigafetta story are also displayed.

For its part, the story produced by the Italian chronicler and scholar in the service of Magellan, is the most recognized and comprehensive source of the first round the world, although there are others such as Francisco Albo, Gines de Mafra, Herrera, and even the letters from Elcano. The Pigafetta exercise then achieves a closed or consensual discourse, where other voices of dissent have little to say inattention to the fact that the Italian chronicler managed to construct a truth not questioned (Varona & Herrero-Diz, 2018). This is the reason why for this analysis around the first circumnavigation of the globe the work of Pigafetta has been chosen as the most important and relevant to analyze.

Both the colonial expression of the fifteenth century and the nineteenth century then manifests a component of (dis)connection between two different worlds; the European society and the non-European (creole-indigenous), which translates into relations with otherness, or the other, but which at the same time forms part of the identity dimension itself: "Moreover, there is no identity without the dialogical relationship with the Other. The Other is not outside, but also within the self, of identity. "(Hall, 2010: 344).

It is enlightening to understand this relationship between identity and alterity in the case of the story of Pigafetta the fact that the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the fifteenth century and the beginning of the sixteenth had completed the process of expulsion of the Moors. This is a topic that some historians have considered key to understanding the spirit of discovery-conquest of routes and territories that characterizes the fifteenth and sixteenth century. Cardaillac (2015) refers to this by pointing out that the memory of Hispanic Islam forms a kind of imaginary that is present in the colonizers of America. This continuity is referred by the colonial sources themselves worked by the aforementioned author: "So the indigenous they are new infidels that must be mastered and evangelized "(p. 439). Added to this was the interest that was awakened in Europe by the unknown lands of the high seas (Martinic, 2017). Thus, modern historiography has noted the link between the projection made to indigenous people in America and what happened in Spain with the expulsion of the Arab communities. In Todorov's opinion (2003) it is not by chance that the Spanish victory over the Arabs, the exile of the Jews, the discovery of America and the first grammar of Spanish occur in the same year.

The problematic of identity and the colonial context that have been briefly described above are related to the granting of existential meanings that are expressed in dichotomy in the relationship I and Other, and it is a denial of the other as a non-ego (Dittus, 2011). Therefore, it is about the demarcation of a symbolic-significant territory where one distinguishes between “us and the others”; it is this process wich accounts for the distinction of friends and enemies (Baczko, 2005).

In its most basic meaning, identity includes associations with, on the one hand, the member’s characteristics of a community versus others that do not belong to it and, besides, the awareness that an individual has to be himself and, then, different from the others. Between the same and the other opens, thus, the material and symbolic territory of identity. (Solórzano-Thompson & Rivera-Garza, 2009, p.138)

1.2. Towards an extensive definition of cultural industries: travel literature, journalism, and the media

In addition to the above, and in terms of the configuration of colonial meanings, Spurr (2013) points out that within the imperial-colonial discourse, are intermingled elements of journalism, travel stories and other components associated with the imperialist bureaucratic administration. In the same way, Pratt (2011) gives an account of how the discourse of travelers, scientists, adventurers, politicians, among others, is interwoven in the imperial gaze. A similar idea is proposed by Blanchard (et al., 2008) who point out the process of colonial immersion in France ("bain coloniale"), as considering a series of cultural devices such as literature, popular song, cabaret, stories of trips, human zoos, etc. All of these devices shaped a kind of relationship with otherness, the others that France was founded along its colonial and civilizational outpost.

More than any other traveler, the explorer is who puts as a central theme the circulation of information, and who requests the attention of the press in the nineteenth century. Because he travels far away defined by being alien to the gaze of an expanding European world [...] (Surun, 2007, p.57)

Similarly, many authors have related travel stories with modern media and journalism. Thus, in the case of chronicles or relations of events typical of the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, especially in Spain, del Valle (2004) points out that they represent a form of memory where the indigenous Mapuche are described. Moreover, del Valle proposes the suggestive concept of "paleo-journalism" for the narratives of the relations of events. A similar perspective is the one developed by Bernal y Espejo (2003) when it gives an account of a series of conditions in terms of expression, content and editorial structure that allow them to speak of the relations of events of the 17th century as pre-journalistic texts.

On the other hand, from the field of literature in general, authors such as Chillon (2002) have pointed out the inherent link between the story of travel as an antecedent of the journalistic chronicle. This is not just related to the connection between literature and journalism but also with the claim of language as having an audio-visual nature where concepts are constructed from mental images. Also in terms of the link between journalism and literature, Albuquerque (2006) points out that in the light of pragmatics the travel story corresponds to a hybrid genre between journalism and literature.

The link we propose between journalism, media and travel literature is part of a critical-narrative approach. This definition incorporates all these elements within the concept of cultural industry, and that has enabled authors such as del Valle (2018) to see the continuities in the production of what he calls "intimate enemy" that allows excluding ethnic groups like the Mapuche, which is the case that del Valle has studied. In this sense, it is pointed out that during the 19th and 20th centuries, there are ways of thinking in wich alterity is an enemy, and that is the convergent discourse of the press, literature, chronicles, memoirs and political, economic and justice court: "(...) form part of a structure of a cultural industry type that has acted systematically and historically (...) (del Valle, 2018, p.51) ".

Similarly, it is coherent to think in the early nineteenth-century travel narratives as premature forms of media. This is also true for the even older event relationships of the fifteenth-sixteenth centuries and later centuries. This coherence is given by the definition that theorists like Thompson (1998) have made of mediated or mediated communication: "(...) the institutionalized production and generalized diffusion of symbolic goods through the fixation and transmission of information or symbolic content." (Thompson, 1998, p.47).

Thus, it is considered for the purposes of this work that both the relations of colonial travels as Pigafetta and many others, along with travel magazines that emerge four centuries away, such as the French Le Tour du Monde, are prototypical forms of media that make up a cultural industry within the framework of a colonial situation in one case (XV-XVI century) and of a (pos)colonial in the other case (XIX-XX century).

2. Methodological framework
2.1. Semio-discursive analysis model

The semio-discursive model we proposed here takes up elements of narrative semiotics developed in France since the middle of the last century with the works of Greimas (1973, 1980), Bremond (1964, 1966), Todorov (1971), Barthes (1966) , and other authors who developed their research work mainly in France in what today has come to be called "Paris Semiotics School" where different currents, epistemes, and methods come together, although with a transversal concern for significant sets, narrativity and discursivity (Fontanille, 2009).






Qualifications and substitutions between concepts


Meaningful unit of semiotic universes


Narratives programs

Narrative programs are understood as the search for valuables in dispute, understanding them as a motor of meaning (Greimas, 1973) with which actants enter into relationship (Courtes, 1980). These objects generate a do what gives rise to narrative programs (GDE, 1979) modeled by a sanctioning or competent type (Idem.) In which assistants and opponents come into contact (ECE, 1980, Courtes, 1980, etc.).

Valuable objects in dispute

Modalization (power, want, duty, know)

Helpers and opponents


Structure and elementary values of significance

Dichotomous units that enter into logical relations of contrariety and contradiction including the possibility of intermediate elements through meta-terms

Although the mid-century development around semiotics emphasized the structural elements and the immanence of the text, today it is possible to visualize proposals where semiotics of discourse or semio-discursive analysis appears more like a method than it can be useful to visualize the narratives and meanings of a specific culture, understood as significant sets (Fontanille, 2004, April, 1999).

The analysis model used consists of three levels of analysis: figurative level, narrative/actantial level, and axiological level. These levels are described in figure 1 and are taken by Fontanille (2004) to account for the semiotics of texts and discourses as a method of qualitative analysis for social sciences.

3. Results: between information/veracity and spectacle/exoticism
3.1. The information and veracity dimension

Pigafetta begins by pointing out in the first pages of his story what motivates his embarkation in the Magellanic expedition and what moves him to leave the comfort offered by being in the service of Bishop Chieregato:

As for the books I had read and for the conversations I had held with the wise men who frequented the house of this prelate, I knew that while navigating the ocean admirable things were observed, I determined to make sure by my own eyes of the truth of everything that was I counted, in order to be able to tell others about my trip, both to entertain them and to be useful to them and to create, at the same time, a name that would reach posterity. (Pigafetta, 2012, p. 8)

A modality of verdict type then appears; a wanting to know that guides the narrative of the story, beyond that the object of the mission was to reach the Moluccan Islands by an alternative route to that available to the Portuguese. Pigafetta seeks to establish himself as the champion of the truth that can testify to the veracity of the overseas stories he heard in his privileged position as an ecclesiastical courtier; "To make sure of the truth" appears as the desire and the value in dispute that gives meaning to your trip. As soon as the journey begins, the tenor of the story that Pigafetta articulates around dismantling any fable that appears as a pure myth and that does not have real support that allows the information that in its terms should be useful. The search for truth then appears as an inescapable isotopy in the story:

"They told us of this island a singular phenomenon, which never rains in it, and that there is no source or river, but that a large tree grows whose leaves continually distill drops of excellent water, which is collected in a cavity at the foot of the tree, where the islanders go to catch the water, and the animals, both domestic and wild, to drink. A thick mist, which undoubtedly supplies water to the leaves, constantly surrounds this tree". (Pigafetta, 2012, p.13)

The story of the first trip around the globe is then positioned as a text that seeks to (re) found the knowledge and sustain it in the novelty of the information collected, discarding the old myths: "Here we experience contrary winds or calm chichas accompanied by rains, (...) having lasted this rainy time sixty days, despite the opinion of the ancients. "(Pigafetta, 2012, p.13)

However, within this ambitious narrative program, the prominence of religious figures understood as part of the significations sets of the period, and that appears as an isotopy throughout the story is appreciated. In this regard, in no case could Pigafetta's text be considered a "scientific" attempt when there are still three centuries to go before the modern sciences are formed: "In the midst of these islands we experienced a terrible storm, during which the fires from San Telmo, from San Nicolás and Santa Clara, were seen several times at the top of the masts; noticing how, when they disappeared, the fury of the storm instantly diminished "(Pigafetta, 2012, p.20)

The text as most of the relations of events and chronicles of travel relative to the "new world" of the XV-XVI century is halfway between a medieval conception of the world and modern one. The first centered on God and the community, and the second focused in the value of the merchandise and the individual effort, question to which Todorov (2007) has referred when characterizing the travel journals of Christopher Columbus.

"During the rainy hours, we often saw the Holy Body, that is, San Telmo. On a very dark night, he appeared to us like a beautiful torch at the end of the mainmast, where he stopped for two hours, which served as a great consolation in the middle of the storm. The moment he disappeared, he dismissed such great clarity that we were dazzled. We thought we were lost, but seeing stopped at that moment." (Pigafetta, 2012, p.14)

This miracle could be considered here as a part of the show -or an spectacle-, but that for Pigafetta was probably supernatural information. After that, the chronicler immediately takes on his naturalistic tone describing in detail birds of different species, and the geography surrounding the trip. In this way, he presents ethnographic details that allow him to relate the Indians of Brazil to whom he easily devotes four or five pages of informative description that fills the text: "Many other things I could say about their customs, which I omit for not making me too tedious. "(Pigafetta, 2012, p.18)

When the chronicler has no answer for the causes of what he consigns, he is content with the fact that having witnessed the event, that although without explanation, appears to him as a truth worthy of being told: "We were assured that every day a black bird, the size of a crow, came during the night to perch on the houses (...) We never wanted to tell the cause of this phenomenon that we all witnessed. "(Pigafetta, 2012, p.74)

Within this fact modality, Pigafetta relies not only on his eyewitness quality but on the testimony of other subjects, appearing as a kind of proto-reporter who uses his sources for the construction of the news. If the access to the events is forbidden to him, he uses assistants that appear as sources of real and accurate information: "I have not witnessed anything of what I have just told, and I write these details simply because of the relationship of a Moor who assured me that he had seen all that. "(Pigafetta, 2012, p.142)

It is said that the king of Burné has two pearls as big as chicken eggs and so perfectly round, that, placing them on a very smooth table, they are never standing still. When we brought our presents to him, I showed him by signs that he wanted to see them, and although he promised to show them to us, we did not deserve it, but some of the leaders told me that the fact was true. (Pigafetta, 2012, p.96)

However, the primacy of the experience itself appears as the preponderant validation of the Italian story. This experience allows Pigafetta to account, inform and be useful, with accurate information and first hand, which at the same time is shaping the ideal of Pigafetta to be created "(...) a name that will reach posterity." (Pigafetta, 2012, p.8):

"At once we ran two hundred leagues to the west; after which we change direction again, running to the fourth of southwest until we are by the degree 13º of northern latitude. We expected to arrive by this route to the end of Gatica, which the cosmographers have placed at this latitude; but they have been wrong because this line is 12th farther north. However, it is necessary to excuse the error, since they have not visited, like us, these places." (Pigafetta, 2012, p.38)

The same feature that has been proposed around the "First trip around the globe" as an exercise of (re) foundation of knowledge based on the novelty of a trip never before made and therefore the originality of the information collected appears in Le Tour du Monde magazine from the 19th century. In this regard the editor of the magazine, Edouard Charton in the preface to the first number in the series:
Our field is vast; We can say that it is unlimited. Not only is the land not entirely known, and every day it reveals important discoveries [...] if not even the most regions that we could believe are better explored, have been only imperfectly. (Charton, 1860, p.VII)

Thus, Edouard Charton, will vindicate the idea of ​​education that is behind the magazine, what has to do perhaps with its political facet and its connection with San Simónismo, and by extension, with positivism. In 1862 he created the scientific journal Cosmos and in 1864 the Popular Library of Versailles. He also participates in the department of popular education, finding himself before the creation of Le Tour du Monde always linked to the world of education. (Sirven, 1993, p.265, Grijalba, 2003, p.74).

The figurative dimension of the analysis shows the presence of figures that account for a scientific relevance for the time in question: "This Kupulué, very curious from the ethnographic point of view, deserves a brief description." (De la Vaulx, 1900: 234). The isotopy related to the (pseudo) scientific preponderance of the time is reiterated as a form of qualification of the travelers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries:

"(...) As I have already told you that my follies have an anthropological goal, he tells me that just two months ago he saw a Tehuelche buried, which the Indians considered a giant. He promises to tell me tomorrow the exact place of the burial." (De la Vaulx, 1900: 240)

The figures related to the scientism that floods the time and that forms a communicative ideal in terms of forms and content (Mattelart, 1995) and the construction of a racial paradigm with scientific bases (Reynaud, 2006). This scientistic zeal that floods the time of the nineteenth-twentieth century and is, therefore, a historical reference to analyze these stories, allows us to understand this factual dimension that is linked to the desire to report and present evidence around the truth of what is described in the stories.

Thus, the journey of the Swedish Otto Nordenskjoeld (Nordenskjoeld, 1902) begins by presenting itself as a scientific nature linked to an expedition in the land of fire issue that comes to justify the supposed scientific mission, educator and informative of Le Tour du Monde. In this sense, other aspects of the magazine include stories of other renowned scientists of the time. Highlights a travel log signed by Charles Darwin and another by Gustave LeBone.

Beyond the importance of the scientific claim and educational that some attribute to Le Tour du Monde, one thing is sure: the magazine moves between the limits of scientific description and adventure stories. Benize-Daoulas (2002) speaks in this sense of a "textual polyphony", where the stages of the journey are captured, under a narrative that follows the logic of the itinerary (beginning-end), and at the same time, the experiences are captured, as reflections and memories of the traveler. This is what respectively Benize-Daoulas calls the "syntagmatic axis" and the "vertical axis of fragmentation", and that they orient the story as a whole. (Benize-Daoulas, 2002, pp. 187-188). Thus, sometimes there are texts with a rather descriptive orientation and that they will renege on the novel and literature (Antoine, 2006), while others that will be oriented towards show writing (Weber, 2006, Martin, 2007).

3.2. The spectacular and exotic dimension

The position so far raised reveals that more than an absolute distinction between the informative and entertainment motive, the travel logs analyzed mix both dimensions. In this sense there is articulation of the description of distant lands and otherness. Territoriality itself in this sense appears as a figure of otherness; of the other, unknown and, therefore, exotic: “…everywhere we travel there are singular, curious, solemn, exciting spectacles!" (Charton, 1860, p.VIII). Thus, the informative dimension is mixed with the entertainment and show:

"Le Tour du Monde is not, furthermore, intended for any special class of readers. This would not respond to the intention of its founders, if it were not so varied and as universal as the object it pursues; the true and animated spectacle of nature and of human life over the entire surface of the earth." (Charton, 1860, p.V)

It is proposed here that in this spectacular dimension that the meaning of the exotic is configured. This is nothing else than the positioning of a colonial logic by which the other, alterity, is relegated to an anecdotal and curious level positioning a radical difference. In this configuration of alterity the other and its territory can appear in an idealized way, as representative of a pristine and uncontaminated humanity: "In this desert world where the hunter had never appeared, the guanacos in numerous groups came to view of the traveler without distrust and the steps followed him. An impression of Earthly Paradise! "(Nordenskjoeld, 1902, p.24). In parallel to this idealization operates a negativization where the other appears as the strange, misunderstood and incomprehensible: "Just on land, here I am in the streets, in the search for impressions without doubt strange that only can be inspiring by a city so far from Europe and the great routes of the globe"(Cordemoy, 1896, p.582).

It is proposed here that it is in this spectacular dimension that the meaning of the exotic is configured, which is nothing else than the positioning of a colonial logic by which the other, alterity, is relegated to an anecdotal, curious level and where position the fundamental difference. In this configuration of alterity, the other and its territory can appear in an idealized way, as representative of pristine and uncontaminated humanity: "In this desert world where the hunter had never appeared, the guanacos in numerous groups came to the view of the traveler without distrust, and the steps followed him. An impression of Earthly Paradise! "(Nordenskjoeld, 1902, p.24). In parallel to this idealization operates a negativization where the other appears as the strange, misunderstood and incomprehensible: "Just on land, here I am in the streets, in the search for impressions, without doubt, strange that can not help but inspire a city so far from Europe and the great routes of the globe "(Cordemoy, 1896, p.582).

Although always these exotic components are mixed with the encyclopedic pretension of information. Thus, the story published in Le Tour du Monde about the journey of the Swedish Nordenskjoeld, begins presenting the nature of the scientific expedition that he directs, but at the same time, it considers elements of adventure and entertainment that define polyphony textual of the journal to which reference has been made. Thus, detailed descriptions of the geographical features, of the flora, and the climate are present with force in large portions of the story (Nordenskjoeld, 1902, p.16, 22, e.g.) and then give way to quasi-shipwrecks, terrible storms, and other types of avatars (Ibid, p.24, 28, 48). In this way, the translator will point out on some occasion: "After this geological parenthesis, let us return to the story of the trip." (Ibid, p.49), thus maintaining the balance between education and entertainment. Although sometimes the education/entertainment divisions are canceled and the merger is remarkable, as demonstrated by a portion of De la Vaulx's text:

"This time, the search for skulls has been crowned with success. In a valley, in the middle of white bushes, the explorers will find three corpses of Indians. Without wasting time, the explorers begin to work and transform that small happy corner into a gloomy amphitheater of anatomy, beginning to cut the bodies with their knives. A true scene of anthropophagy in the name of science! If you want to experience the sensations of the murderer, transform yourself into collectors of skulls." (De la Vaulx, 1902, p.17)

Here we can see an aspect where information is directly linked to the spectacular and entertainment now in a morbid and coarse tone. It is a level of information similar to rumor or gossip; precisely in the border area of ​​information knowledge and speculative entertainment.

In this sense, the text of Pigafetta gives clear examples of this morbid information that tends more to entertainment. Thus, Pigafetta talks about how the natives cure their physical ailments: "However wild they may be, these Indians do have a certain medical science ..." (Pigafetta, 2012, p.26). In the following there is a profuse description of blood, vomiting, incisions and other morbid issues. In the same way, Pigafetta describes an opportunity in which an Indian woman placed a nail in her vagina, stating that he and the commander were at that time "witnesses of a unique adventure" (Pigafetta, 2012, p.19). This last picaresque anecdote linked to sexuality will be repeated on occasion regarding the nudity of the indigenous (Pigafetta, 2012, p 16, 17, 22, 39 and ss.). Other situation about issues with a morbid detail, describes homosexual behavior of a king before going to war (Pigafetta, 2012, pp. 125-126) or how the sexual preference of the indigenous people is more inclined toward Europeans than to indigenous people:

"I will consign another observation about their strange customs. I have already said that these natives walk entirely naked, with nothing more than a strip of palm tree that covers their genitals. All the men, both young and old, carry the foreskin closed with a small cylinder of gold or tin, the thickness of a goose feather, which crosses it from top to bottom, leaving the middle an opening for the passage of urine, and garrisoned on the two ends of heads similar to those of our large nails, which also, sometimes, are bristling with tips in the shape of stars. They assured me that they never removed this kind of adornment, even during intercourse; that it was their women who wanted that, being they who prepared this way from childhood to their children: but what is certain is that, despite such a strange device, all women preferred us to their husbands." (Pigafetta, 2012, p.74-75)

Thus, the dimension of the "colonizing phallic ego" emerges, a notion developed by Dussel (1994) regarding the attitude of the Spanish colonizers of the 15th-16th century in front of the indigenous women. According to Dussel, the relationship established between conquerors (Spanish) and conquered (indigenous) is a relationship of violence and domination where the other must be subdued. From there begins a process not of conquest but of "colonization of the world of life", where "Erotic violence came simply to show the colonization of the world of indigenous life" (Dussel, 1994, p.50).

Here we consider the story of Pigafetta as part of the colonizing advance, mainly for two reasons: the first refers to the fact that these stories form part of a colonial imaginary that is impossible not to link with colonizing elements. In this regard, Martinic (2017) has pointed to Magellas and his trip as a foundational element for the discovery of Chile, and in that sense, it is not less than typical and rightly speaking in historiographical terms of the inherent link between discovery and conquest. Secondly, in Pigafetta's account, expansionist and civilizing motives operate linked with a desire for conquest. It is about advance the borders of the Civilized-European and reduce the barbarian-indigenous, in an advance that has no end because it is not a physical border but associated with the meanings of Europeans (Otazo & Gallegos, 2011).

The nineteenth and twentieth century travel narrative also picks up this "phallic colonizing ego" at times through brief insertions, such as when they see women smearing a mud on their faces. They are consulted about the reason for this act, and they are told that is to protect the face of the wind: "This explanation leaves me stunned. How far coquetry can go! " (De la Vaulx, 1900, p.226-227). These figurative dimensions of sexuality associated with women account for exoticism as a form of entertainment and, of course, power and control. There appears a modalization of wanting in travelers, a deep desire to possess that is expressed in possession of the bodies of the otherness of the indigenous woman. Staszack (2008) referring to the staging of the bodies of otherness in the context of a geographical cultural analysis states: "The alterity of the indigenous will be added to that of the woman to structure a double heterosexuality that will articulate gender and "Race" to better fan the desire of the white man "(p 139).

"All women wear necklaces and arms necklaces made of small bird bones or shells [...] It is useless to point out that in Tierra del Fuego as everywhere, the objects of adornment exert the greatest attraction for the daughters of Eve [...]" (Nordenskjoeld, 1902, p.34)

Other meanings of this phallic ego, and therefore, of the picaresque and entertaining nature of these texts, are expressed in more extensive forms and with a somewhat more aggressive component:

"I thank her with a gesture, and mate begins to circulate. Losha, one of the daughters of the cacique [Saïhuéqué] prepares the beverage. She is a beautiful creature Losha; Her lips are a little thick, but his eyes are so sweet, so languid. She has such lovely, so gentle gestures. A charm emanates from her person; she feels that she is a woman, a real woman and she uses all the devices of seduction that an India can be capable." (De la Vaulx, 1900, p.222)

Pigafetta, has already been noted, also takes elements of this characterization focused on sexuality to entertain its audience, by giving an account of the consequences of what is called here "phallic ego" as an expression of coloniality: "In all the islands of the archipelago that we had visited, the disease of Holy Job [venereal] reigns, and here much more than anywhere, where they call it for franchi, that is, Portuguese disease. " (Pigafetta, 2012, p.137)

However, the erotic-sexual dimension is not the only figure of entertainment and exoticism that the Italian develops in the relationship of his trip. The fact that the veracity dimension appears with centrality in the story has already been established. Nevertheless, and especially towards the end of the trip's relationship, Pigafetta is systematically positioning descriptions that respond more to the entertainment/exoticism dimension than to the information/veracity dimension:

"On the way, our old Moluccan pilot told us that in these places there is an island called Amcheto, whose inhabitants, both men and women, do not pass a cubit high and have ears as long as the whole body, so that when they lie down, one serves them as a mattress and the other as a blanket. (...) We would have gladly gone to this island if the low and the currents had not prevented us." (Pigafetta, 2012, p.135)

It is true that the investigative and veracity nature is still appreciated above all at the end of the quotation, but it is also remarkable that the same subject who, at the beginning of the story, was able to question the myth of land where it never rains is so magnanimous, which this fable story, obviously an old fable.

"They also told us that on an island called Ocoloro, more here than Java, there are only women, who are fertilized by the wind. If a boy is born, they kill him on the spot, and if is a daughter, they raise her; and if any man dares to visit the island, they kill him." (Pigafetta, 2012, p.138)

Interesting is the fact that Pigafetta has total clarity that what he is reporting are rather funny stories to entertain his audience, an issue that otherwise states at the beginning of his work. This awareness that the narrative responds to a form of entertainment is revealed by pointing out in this final stage of his story: "We still referred to other pulp stories." (Pigafetta, 2012, p.139), later telling the story of a giant tree in China where birds were gathered capable of raising an elephant, and other "curious things" (Pigafetta, 2012, p.145).

It was noted above regarding the veracity modalization that Pigafetta acts as a kind of proto-reporter since not only relies on his status as a witness but in the case of those things that he has not been able to witness, he uses other sources. This same situation is now possible to appreciate as part of a story focused on the information of truth, but as a form of entertainment through "pulp stories" that reach their ears by third parties; there may be a kind of justification here to evade the responsibility for the truth or not of these clearly unbelievable stories. In this sense, these fabulous stories would not have the same truth/veracity dimension of what their own Pigafetta has seen and counted.

4. Final considerations

In axiological terms and according to what has been stated in the previous results, it is considered that the fundamental dichotomy that articulates both the Pigafetta story and the travel stories of Le Tour du Monde are the categories of Truth and Lie (figure 2). These concepts are articulated in conjunction with information and entertainment, where the truth (not lie) would inevitably be linked to an informative dimension and conversely the lie (not true) would be linked to entertainment. The designation of "pulp stories..." by Pigafetta to the narratives that evidence mythical issues but that entertain is evident in this regard.


However, and according to what is expressed as the information/spectacle distinction constitutes a textual polyphony, it is possible to articulate these apparently dichotomous concepts that finally account for the complexity of the texts analyzed. Thus, the information and the spectacle are confused in the exoticism with which it symbolizes both the unknown land and its inhabitants as an expression of alterity different from the European, and in the same way, the truth with the lie does not appear as absolute categories but as a thin border between the plausible.

In theoretical terms, and if in the light of the foregoing, we have spoken of pre-journalism or paleo-journalism for the relations of events (Bernal and Espejo, 2003, Del Valle, 2004), it is reasonable to think of a category for the travel accounts no longer from the fifteenth-sixteenth century but for those published in journals of the 19th century. In this sense, it is proposed to talk about proto-journalism for those stories about distant places published in the travel magazines that are published about the colonial period of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.

The traditional investigations about journalism have positioned the existence of limits which makes a diferences around the informative dimension and the entertainment of the media (Fursich, 2002). In this sense the contemporary "travel journalism" has been underestimated by not being true and hard information (Cocking, 2009).

Well, in light of the above, it is possible to have a position that is reasonably contrary to these ideas; travel journalism, far from being a modern form of journalism, is positioned as an antecedent of traditional journalism where entertainment and information are mixed. Rethink then modern media considering its prototypical ways would allow us to have a broader understanding not only in preterite terms but to explain or understand current situations (fake-news, for example) in a context of post-truths where the boundaries between the truth/lie and the information/show (re) appears completely fuzzy.

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How to cite this article in bibliographies / References

E Gallegos Krause, J Otazo Hermosilla): “Travel logs and the formation of modern media around the categories of information and entertainment”. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 74, pp. 840 to 856.
DOI: 10.4185/RLCS-2019-1360-43en

Paper received on 30 September. Acepted on 27 April.
Published on 2 May.