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‘Our Own Fair Italy’

Nineteenth Century Women’s Travel Writing and Italy 1800-1844

Kathryn Walchester

This study proposes that in their writing about the region, women travel writers made a significant contribution to the changing representation of Italy and to their own changing reputation as professional writers. Between 1800 and 1844 there was a significant shift in the way in which Italy was both perceived and discussed as the tradition of the ‘Grand Tour’ waned and new types of travellers made trips to Europe. Encouraged by changes in the cost, ease and motivations for travel, unprecedented numbers of women travelled to Italy and published their accounts. Focussing on the pivotal works of five women writers – Mariana Starke, Mary Shelley, Charlotte Eaton, Anna Jameson and Lady Morgan – this book assesses the developments made by these women to a number of genres of travel writing and to the political and aesthetic representation of Italy.
Contents: ‘Cradle of Letters’: Literary Italy in women’s writing – Mariana Starke’s ‘Junket’; or Clotted Cream in Sorrento: Letters from Italy (1800) and Travels in Europe (1836) – Charlotte Eaton’s ‘Domestic Vision’: Rome in the Nineteenth Century (1820) – A ‘Manchegan Sally’: Lady Morgan’s Italy (1821) – ‘A real picture of natural and feminine feeling’? Anna Jameson’s Diary of an Ennuyée (1826) – ‘More than a mere gossiping companion’: Mary Shelley’s Rambles in Germany and Italy (1844).