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Gender, Genre, and Identity in Women’s Travel Writing

Kristi Siegel

Women experience and portray travel differently: Gender matters – irreducibly and complexly. Building on recent scholarship in women’s travel writing, these provocative essays not only affirm the impact of gender, but also cast women’s journeys against coordinates such as race, class, culture, religion, economics, politics, and history. The book’s scope is unique: Women travelers extend in time from Victorian memsahibs to contemporary «road girls», and topics range from Anna Leonowens’s slanted portrayal of Siam – later popularized in the movie, The King and I, to current feminist «descripting» of the male-road-buddy genre. The extensive array of writers examined includes Nancy Prince, Frances Trollope, Cameron Tuttle, Lady Mary Montagu, Catherine Oddie, Kate Karko, Frances Calderón de la Barca, Rosamond Lawrence, Zilpha Elaw, Alexandra David-Néel, Amelia Edwards, Erica Lopez, Paule Marshall, Bharati Mukherjee, and Marilynne Robinson.
Contents: Kristi Siegel: Intersections: Women’s Travel and Theory – Ruth Y. Jenkins: The Gaze of the Victorian Woman Traveler: Spectacles and Phenomena – Sukanya Banerjee: Lady Mary Montagu and the «Boundaries» of Europe – Kristi Siegel: Women’s Travel and the Rhetoric of Peril: It Is Suicide to Be Abroad – Jessica Enevold: The Daughters of Thelma and Louise: New? Aesthetics of the Road – Rachel A. Jennings: Women Writers and the Internal Combustion Engine: Passing Penelope Pitstop – Chu-Chueh Cheng: Frances Trollope’s America and Anna Leonowens’s Siam: Questionable Travel and Problematic Writing – Sarah Brusky: Nancy Prince and Her Gothic Odyssey: A Veiled Lady – Rosetta R. Haynes: Zilpha Elaw’s Serial Domesticity: An Unsentimental Journey – Heidi Slettedahl Macpherson: Women’s Travel Writing and the Politics of Location: Somewhere In-Between – Corinne Fowler: The Problem of Narrative Authority: Catherine Oddie and Kate Karko – Linda Ledford-Miller: A Protestant Critique of Catholicism: Frances Calderón de la Barca in Nineteenth-Century Mexico – Terri A. Hasseler: Identity in Rosamond Lawrence’s Indian Embers: «I cannot somehow find myself» – Kristin Fitzpatrick: American National Identity Abroad: The Travels of Nancy Prince – Margaret McColley: Alexandra David-Néel’s Home in the Himalayas: Where the Heart Lies – Kathleen Scullin: A Feminist Lens for Binx Bolling’s Journey in The Moviegoer: Traveling Toward Wholeness.