“Pretty as a Picture”

The Aesthetics of the Picturesque in British Travel Accounts of Tunis (1835–1887)

in Journeys
Author:
Imene Gannouni Khemiri University of Manouba, Tunis, Tunisia imene.gannouni@flah.uma.tn

Search for other papers by Imene Gannouni Khemiri in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

Recently, there has been an upsurge of interest in travel writing, postcolonialism, and landscape politics. However, studies of travel writing addressing the notion of the picturesque have not yet explored the idea of aesthetic sensibility in British travel narratives in the Regency of Tunis. This article examines the aesthetics of the picturesque in three British travel accounts: Grenville Temple's Excursions in the Mediterranean: Algiers and Tunis (1835); Robert Lambert Playfair's Travels in the Footsteps of Bruce in Algeria and Tunis (1877); and Henry Spencer Ashbee and Alexander Graham's Travels in Tunisia (1887). These travelers used the picturesque in different but interlinked ways; they oscillated between finding the uncanny landscape an object of delight where it conformed to British aesthetic doctrine and an object of derision where they noted aesthetic deficiencies. By the turn of the nineteenth century, this picturesque way of seeing shifted into an Orientalist desire for “Otherness.”

Contributor Notes

Imene Gannouni Khemiri holds a doctoral degree in culture and civilization. She is currently an assistant professor in the English Department, Faculty of Arts, Letters and Humanities, University of Manouba, Tunis, Tunisia. Her PhD dissertation deals with the construction of Otherness in British travel writing taking Tunisia as a case study (1815–1910). She took part in many national and international conferences. Her fields of research comprise travel writing, cultural studies, nineteenth-century history, (post)colonialism, gender and media studies. E-mail: imene.gannouni@flah.uma.tn

  • Collapse
  • Expand

Journeys

The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing

  • Andrews, Malcolm. 1989. The Search for the Picturesque. Aldershot: Scholar.

  • Ashbee, Henry Spencer. 1889. A Bibliography of Tunisia from the Earliest Times to the End of 1888 Including Utica and Carthage, the Punic Wars, the Roman Occupation, the Arab Conquest, the Expeditions of Louis IX, and Charles V, and the French Protectorate. London: Royal Geographical Society.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ashbee, Henry Spencer, and Alexander Graham. 1887. Travels in Tunisia. London: Dulan.

  • Behdad, Ali. 1994. Belated Travelers: Orientalism in the Age of Colonial Dissolution. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Bohls, Elizabeth. 2015. “Picturesque Travel: The Aesthetics and Politics of Landscape.” In The Routledge Companion to Travel Writing, ed. Carl Thompson, 246257. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Buckingham, James, et al., eds. 1876. The Athenaeum: A Journal of Literature, Science, the Fine Arts 2551 (Sep.16): 371. https://books.google.com.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bruce, James. 1790. Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, in the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773. Edinburgh : James Ballantyne.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carlyle, Edward Irving, and Lynn Milne. 2004. “Playfair, Sir Robert Lambert (1828–1899).” In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/22369.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chard, Chloe. 2002. “From the Sublime to the Ridiculous: The Anxieties of Sightseeing.” In The Making of Modern Tourism: The Cultural History of the British Experience 1600–2000, eds. Hartmut Berghoff et al., 4756. New York: Palgrave.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Copley, Stephen, and Peter Garside. 1994. Introduction. In The Politics of the Picturesque: Literature, Landscape and Aesthetics since 1770, eds. Stephen Copley and Peter Garside, 112. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Djebar, Assia. 2001. Algerian White: A Narrative. New York: Seven Stories.

  • Duncan, James. 1999. “Dis-Orientation: On the Shock of the Familiar in a Far-away Place.” In Writes of Passage: Reading Travel Writing, eds. James Duncan and Derek Gregory, 151163. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Edney, Mathew. 1997. Mapping an Empire: The Geographical Construction of British India 1765–1843. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fabian, Johannes. 1983. Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object. New York: Columbia University Press.

  • Foucault, Michel. 1977. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans. Alan Shriedan. London: Penguin.

  • Foucault, Michel. 1978. The History of Sexuality. Trans. Robert Hurley. Vol. 2. London: Penguin.

  • Freud, Sigmund. 1919. “The Uncanny.” In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, XVII, ed. and trans. James Strachey et al., 218252. London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. https://uncanny.la.utexas.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/freud-uncanny_001.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gilpin, William. 1794. Three Essays on Picturesque Beauty: Essay II. On Picturesque Travel. http//www.ualberta.

  • Gregory, Derek. 1995. “Between the Book and the Lamp: Imaginative Geographies of Egypt, 1849–50.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 20 (1): 2957.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hughes-d'Aeth, Tony. 1997. “Pretty as a Picture: Australia and the Imperial Picturesque.” Journal of Australian Studies 21 (53): 99107.

  • Korte, Barbara. 2016. “Western Travel Writing 1750–1950.” In The Routledge Companion to Travel Writing, ed. Carl Thompson. 172184. London: Routledge,.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Manai, Adel. 2007. British Travellers in Tunisia, 1800–1930: A History of Encounters and Representations. Tunis: Centre de Publications Universitaires.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nayar, Pramod. 2015. “The Imperial Picturesque in Felicia Hemans, The Indian City.” Journal of Literary Studies 31 (1): 3450. doi: 10.1080/02564718.2015.1024418.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Oulebsir, Nabila. 2011. “From Ruins to Heritage: the Past Perfect and the Idealized Image of Antiquity in North Africa.” In Multiple Antiquities: Multiple Modernities: Ancient Histories in Nineteenth-Century European Cultures, eds. Gábor Klaniczay, Otto Gécser, and Michael Wener, 335366. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pemble, John. 1987. The Mediterranean Passion: Victorians and Edwardians in the South. London: Clarendon.

  • Playfair, Lambert. 1877. Travels in the Footsteps of Bruce in Algeria and Tunis. London: Kegan Paul.

  • Playfair, Robert Lambert. 1878. A Handbook for Travellers in Algeria and Tunis. London: John Murray.

  • Playfair, Robert Lambert. 1888. A Bibliography of Algeria from the Expedition of Charles V in 1541 to 1887. London: Royal Numismatic Society.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Playfair, Robert Lambert, and Robert Brown. 1892. A Bibliography of Morocco from the Earliest Times to 1891. London: Royal Geographical Society.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Playfair, Lambert, Sir. 1899. Obituary: Geographical Journal 13 (4): 439440. http://www.jstor.org.

  • Playfair, Lambert, Sir. 1899. Times. Feb 10. The Times Digital Archive. http://find.galegroup.com.

  • Pratt, Mary Louise. 1985. “Scratches on the Face of the Country or what Mr Barrow Saw in the Land of the Bushmen.” Race, Writing and Difference. Ed. Henry Louis Gates. 138162. Chicago: Chicago UP.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pratt, Mary Louise. 1992. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London: Routledge.

  • Rangel, Cecilia. 2010. Cities in Ruins: The Politics of Modern Poetics. Purdue University Press.

  • Said, Edward. 1978. Orientalism. London: Penguin.

  • Said, Edward. 1993. Culture and Imperialism. London: Penguin.

  • Spurr, David. 1993. The Rhetoric of Empire: Colonial Discourse in Journalism, Travel Writing and Imperial Administration. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Temple, Grenville. 1834a. “Copy of a Letter from Sir Grenville Temple, Bart, to Lieut.-General Benjamin Forbes, M.R.A.S., Relative to a Phoenician Tombstone Found at Maghráwah in Tunis, and Presented to the Royal Asiatic Society.” Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 3.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Temple, Grenville. 1834b. “Journal of Travels in the Beylik of Tunis.” Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 4: 255258. http://www.jstor.org.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Temple, Grenville. 1835. Excursions in the Mediterranean. Algiers and Tunis. V1. London: Darf.

  • Temple, Grenville. 1837. “On Phoenician Inscriptions in a Letter Addressed to the Secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 4: 135136. http://www.jstor.org.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Temple's Travels in Greece and Turkey.” 1835. The Monthly Review. London: G. Henderson, 149158. 18 Oct. 2008. http://www.google.books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 356 0 0
Full Text Views 506 416 1
PDF Downloads 152 59 2