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Rethinking Orient

In Search of Sources and Inspirations


Edited By Adam Bednarczyk, Magdalena Kubarek and Maciej Szatkowski

The contributions in this book address a vast variety of questions concerning the sources and mutual inspirations in Oriental and European literatures. The authors discuss selected texts from both historical and synchronic perspectives. They reveal and scrutinise the sedimented layers in their search for the original as well as for the repetitive and universal. The book revolves around the creative reception of one’s own cultural heritage and of works which originated in other cultures.

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Self-Quoting and the Classics: Orientalist Suggestions in Carla Serena’s Travel Writing (Daniele Artoni)


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Daniele Artoni

University of Verona Italy

Self-Quoting and the Classics: Orientalist Suggestions in Carla Serena’s Travel Writing

Abstract: The writings of Carla Serena (Antwerp 1824–Greece 1884) offer a fascinating ground for sources investigation, in that they display a complex interplay between classical quotations, previous travelers’ works and personal memoirs. As a Belgian born woman based in London with Italian passport who traveled alone in the Ottoman Empire (1874–75), in the Russian Empire (1875–78, 1879–80, 1881) and in the Persian Empire (1879), Carla provides an interesting range of orientalist insights, varied according to the audience she addresses and to the place she describes. The paper aims at spotting differences and similarities in the set of sources quoted by Carla Serena. Moreover, it also answers the question how the literary creation of an oriental Russian Caucasus in Carla Seren’s works is ultimately inspired by her personal experience rather than by classical sources, which are introduced just as rhetoric and evocative means.

Key words: Carla Serena, travel writing, Russian Caucasus, Victorian Ladies travelers

Investigating sources in travel writing is a difficult task – if at all feasible. Travelogues, travel sketches, and any piece of writing produced after a journey are consistently filtered by the traveler’s knowledge, prejudices and experience, and thus tend to offer a “monodic” vision (i.e. the traveler’s) of complex phenomena and events, often shrunk up to fit the text. At the same time investigating...

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