Author Archives: robmus14

Marco Polo: Tabloid Writer?

Posted by Rob.

Polo’s novel, whether it may go by the title Il Milione, Divisament Dou Monde, or simply Travels, is primarily a factual travel narrative, right? Or is it a handbook for merchants? Or perhaps it is a nothing more than a forum for interesting gossip—foreign “tabloids” for 13th century Europeans? As famous and widespread Polo’s tale is, it is interpreted by different people and cultures as remarkably different things. Upon its publication, it was seen by medieval scholars as “mere romance and fable” (Zhou 3), for Christopher Columbus it was a collection of useful facts, and for Polo himself, it simply could have been a way for him to remember his experiences in the East. However, these are all interpretations stemming from Western culture. Studying how an Eastern scholar interprets Polo’s novel, on the other hand, provides an interesting perspective.

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