British Travel Writers in Europe 1750-1800: Authorship, Gender, and National Identity
Routledge, 1 de nov. 2017 - 284 pàgines
This title was first published in 2001: Hundreds of European travelogues produced by British travellers between 1750 and 1800 remain out of sight in most libraries and have generally been out of print since the 18th century. While many people with a working knowledge of the 18th century are familiar with works including Sterne's "A Sentimental Journey" and Smollett's "Travels through France and Italy", those produced by less "literary" travellers are largely unknown. This study aims to recreate the world of 18th-century travel writing in order to illuminate its central role in shaping Britain's emerging sense of national identity - an identity which proves to be more complex an less homogeneous than some cultural and historical studies would suggest. The author finds that the developing discourse of national character is bound up with questions of gender: national and authorial virtue are projected in terms of appropriately gendered behaviour, for male and female travel writers alike. In turn, gender intersects with class, most obviously in the tendency to denigrate aristocratic travellers as effeminate and celebrate the more manly activities of the middle-class traveller. These then - national identity, authorship and gender - are the central preoccupations of the study
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and partly to the 'occasional' nature of much of the writing: many important travelogues from the period are by writers active on the fringes of literary culture, or indeed represent the author's only foray into print.
... powerful literary rendering of travel is to be found in the prose travelogues of the period, which offer a wealth of insights into British identity and its discontents during the formative years with which this study is concerned.
... But although a handful of travelogues have entered the canon of eighteenth-century and Romantic literature, we lack a coherent picture of their context, and a proper sense of how representative or innovative they really are.
... her core group of travelogues and novels as 'eighteenth-century women's aesthetic writing' (10). Her critique is an illuminating one, but does not furnish a satisfactory account of travel writing as a cultural and political force.
And yet European travelogues published by Britons during this period are by no means straightforwardly nationalistic, or consistent in their attitudes to 'abroad'. Indeed, many of them are not even straightforwardly about 'abroad', ...
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