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Women Writing Travel, 1890-1939

Emma Short

The rapid expansion of international travel networks toward the end of the nineteenth century resulted in a dramatic shift in women’s access to travel. As Sidonie Smith highlights in Moving Lives, her comprehensive study of women and the technologies of travel in modernity, “large numbers of women began to leave home for the lure of the road as a result of the emergence of faster, safer, cleaner, and more comfortable machines of motion” (2001: xi). This shift in the availability of travel to a much broader spectrum of the general public—and crucially to women—coincided with the impact of first wave feminism as the women’s suffrage movement gathered momentum, 1 and the figure of the New Woman appeared across literature and culture. 2 The subsequent surge in women’s written representations of travel was highlighted by Sara Mills in her seminal Discourses of Difference: An Analysis of Women’s Travel Writing and Colonialism, in which she observed “the sheer volume of writing” by women on travel during this period (1991: 1), and asserted the importance of further research on these accounts. Following Mills’s call, feminist scholarship has since worked to understand the complexities of women’s travel writing. Like Mills, many of these critics—including Nupur Chaudhuri and Margaret Strobel (1992), and Mary Louise Pratt (1992)—explore the ways in which such travel accounts were involved in colonialism and implicated in the discourses of imperialism. Others, such as Smith (2001), Avril Maddrell (2009), and Alexandra Peat (2010), have focused particularly on women’s written representations of travel published in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Central to much of this scholarship are questions concerning the difference between travel writing by men and that produced by women—whether or not such difference exists and, if it does, how this difference manifests in women’s written representations of travel. Susan Bassnett notes that these “basic questions … continue to occupy feminist scholars” (2002: 227), and indeed, they underpin many of the articles included in this special issue. However, the articles collected here in this special issue also move beyond these questions significantly in their consideration of the ways in which women’s written representations of travel can reshape our understandings of the gendered experience of the spaces of modernity, and thus make a vital contribution to both the cultural and literary history of the period.

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Book Reviews

Stacy Burton, Travel Narrative and the Ends of Modernity Reviewed by Nicklas Hållén

Chloe Chard, A Critical Reader of the Romantic Grand Tour: Tristes Plaisirs Reviewed by David G. Farley

Hazel Andrews and Les Roberts, Liminal Landscapes: Travel, Experiences and Spaces In-between Reviewed by Eduardo Chemin

Sharon Ouditt, Impressions of Southern Italy: British Travel Writing from Henry Winburne to Norman Douglas Reviewed by Nathalie Hester

David Picard and Mike Robinson, eds., Emotion in Motion: Tourism, Affect and Transformation Reviewed by Hazel Tucker

Noel Salazar, Envisioning Eden: Mobilising Imaginaries in Tourism and Beyond Reviewed by Jonathan Skinner

Anna Fedele, Looking for Mary Magdalene: Alternative Pilgrimages and Ritual Creativity at Catholic Shrines in France Reviewed by Ellen Badone

Antón M. Pazos, ed., Pilgrims and Politics: Rediscovering the Power of the Pilgrimage Reviewed by Mariano Barbato

Denys Pringle, Pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, 1187–1291 Reviewed by Guy Galazka

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The Cultural Heritage of Pilgrim Itineraries

The Camino de Santiago

Michael Murray

The Camino de Santiago comprises a lattice of European pilgrimage itineraries that converge at Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. This article introduces the historical and contemporary representation of these routes as a heritage complex that is imagined and codified within varied cultural meanings of a journey undertaken. Particular attention is given to the Camino Frances and the Via de la Plata, which contrast as mature and formative pilgrimage settings. Within this spatial sphere, the analysis deals with the Camino de Santiago as official heritage, as development instrument, as civil society, and as personal experience. The article concludes by offering a contemporary conceptualization of the evolving Camino de Santiago cultural heritage complex.

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A Fold in the Road

Kerouac and the Temporal-Spatial Construction of Street Corner as Place in On the Road

Tara Chittenden

Jack Kerouac's On the Road is both a travel story and a cultural event. Although road narratives have been critically examined from numerous angles, few studies have addressed how time and space are arranged in the written representation of lives encountered on the road. The individuals who populate street corners are an integral part of American culture and can offer a colorful snapshot of local lives to those traveling through. This article discusses examples of street corners in On the Road to question how this “folded” time and space can be used to explain the folding together of lives in the writing of a journey. In so doing the article draws on Bakhtin's theory of the chronotope and Deleuze's description of the fold to help explain Kerouac's arrangements of time and space as the “chronotope of the street corner.”

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John Carmichael's Journey from Aleppo to Basra (1754)

A Pluralized View of the Enlightenment Discourse of Improvement

Mohammad Sakhnini

This article shows how the Enlightenment notion of improvement in a cross-cultural context cannot be one of constant polarization. Without ever travelling to the Middle East, the Scottish Enlightenment literati proposed that the Middle East is backward and primitive in its economic and material infrastructure. Europe is progressing while the Middle East remained stuck in ancient times. John Carmichael could not escape the European repository of knowledge about the Orient. In his “Journey from Aleppo to Basra” (1754), he sometimes considered Arabs are irrational, backward and primitive. Yet the conditions of traveling in an Arab caravan invited him to interact with the people he encountered. He socialized and exchanged services with the Arabs. At the same time he learned how modern progress needs not be looked at as one of complete banishment of ancient rituals and traditions from the past. The journey in the Middle East has its educational effects.

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“Okay, I am going to try this now”

An Interview with Caryl Phillips about The Atlantic Sounds and The European Tribe

Nicklas Hållén and Caryl Phillips

Born on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, Caryl Phillips grew up in the United Kingdom. For many years he has been living in the United States and currently teaches at Yale University. In addition to being an award-winning novelist, he is the author of two travelogues. In The European Tribe (1987), Phillips travels from Morocco, through Continental Europe, to Soviet Moscow. More than a report from a certain place and time, his travelogue is an indictment of the provincialism of Eurocentric discourses of whiteness in European societies. It describes a journey where Shakespeare, Anne Frank, and James Baldwin offer guidance through a landscape of racial tribalism and exclusion. The Atlantic Sound (2000) is a travel narrative that comprises a series of journeys across the Atlantic sphere, connecting places and stories that are central in the history of the transatlantic slave trade. It begins with Phillips repeating his family’s journey from the Caribbean to the United Kingdom aboard a banana boat. After an interlude of historical fiction that recreates the experiences of John Ocansey, a late nineteenth-century West African traveler in Liverpool, Phillips visits this monumental hub in the transatlantic slave trade and then goes to Ghana to participate in Panafest, a Pan-African festival held at a former slave fort. The next part of the book sees Phillips at another apex of the Atlantic triangle—Charleston, South Carolina. The book ends in the Negev desert where he visits a community of African-American settlers claiming Israeli ancestry.

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Traveling and Power

A Portuguese Viceroy's Account of a Voyage to India

João Vicente Melo

More than a mere travel diary the account written by Francisco Raimundo Moraes Pereira of the voyage of the Portuguese viceroy Francisco de Távora to India offers an interesting description of how the long journey between Lisbon and Goa was the first stage of a long process that transformed an aristocrat into an alter ego of the monarch. This article explores how Moraes Pereira combined a travel diary, with detailed notes on the daily life of the Carreira da India, and a panegyric concerned in fabricating an ideal image of a viceroy.

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“Adapted for Travellers in General”

En Route with the 1849 British Admiralty's Manual of Scientific Enquiry

Erika Behrisch Elce

Upon its publication in 1849, the British Admiralty's Manual of Scientific Enquiry: Prepared for the Use of Her Majesty's Navy and Adapted for Travellers in General appeared to represent a radical departure from the increasingly professionalized scientific societies. It invited travelers interested in scientific observation not only to practice the Admiralty's own methods for collecting scientific data, but also to send their results to Whitehall, contributing directly to the wealth of knowledge that represented Britons at the edges of the empire. Looking at the Manual within the context of its publication and marketing, this article examines how the Admiralty's popular guidebook legitimized its position as a popular scientific primer, and also how the Admiralty's reactions to the materials it received showed popular science as a site of cultural contention between institution and individual, ownership of and access to knowledge.

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A Beginning, Two Ends, and a Thickened Middle

Journeys in Afghanistan from Byron to Hosseini

Graham Huggan

This article looks at three disparate travel texts—Robert Byron's classic 1937 travelogue The Road to Oxiana, Khaled Hosseini's massively popular 2003 novel The Kite Runner, and Michael Winterbottom's emotionally wrenching 2002 fauxdocumentary In This World—which deal, either directly or indirectly, with Afghanistan. It argues that the geographical coordinates of Afghanistan have recently been confused with the “War on Terror,” and that one of the most notable results of this has been the ideological assimilation of a Central Asian nation to the post–9/11-inspired imaginative geography of a “Greater Middle East.” The article seeks to account for this latter-day history of geographical misprision, but also for the triangulated relationship between travel, empire, and colonial modernity that underlies it—a relationship in which the US-dominated “colonial present” (Gregory 2004) maps onto the British imperial past.

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Book Reviews

Carl Thompson, ed., Shipwreck in Art and Literature: Images and Interpretations from Antiquity to the Present Day (2014) Reviewed by Christopher L. Pastore

Guy Galazka, À la découverte de la Palestine: Voyageurs français en Terre sainte au XIXe siècle (2011) Reviewed by Roland Le Huenen

Patrick Young, Enacting Brittany: Tourism and Culture in Provincial France, 1871–1939 (2012) Reviewed by Ellen Badone

L. Kaifa Roland, Cuban Color in Tourism and La Lucha: An Ethnography of Racial Meaning (2011) Reviewed by Valerio Simoni

Wolfgang Koeppen, Journey through America (2012) Reviewed by Lina L. Tegtmeyer

Simon Cooke, Travellers' Tales of Wonder: Chatwin, Naipaul, Sebald (2013) Reviewed by John W. Presley