Jehan de Mandeville's "The Travels"

Jean de Mandeville

Why is it so much fun to read Medieval travel stories that we know are at least partly untrue?

in the 14th century, English knight Jean de Mandeville claims to have traveled around much of the known (and unknown) world, much like Marco Polo before him or Johann Schiltberger shortly after, or Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuda at the same time…

Fernão Mendes Pinto's "Pilgrimage"

Fernão Mendes Pinto

If this is a great classic in Portuguese literature, why is it such a slow read?

Shortly after the European discoveries in the Americas, young Fernão Mendes Pinto gets on a ship to the East. He meets pirates and emperors, missionaries and natives, gets to the Middle East, to India, Indonesia, China and Japan. After all this, he eventually returns to Portugal claiming…