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New Zealand Through the Eyes of American Women


Robyn Handel

This book was awarded the Calliopean Prize of the Goethe University Frankfurt for the best thesis in American and British studies in 2007.
New Zealand appeared relatively late on the general tourist map of the 19 th century. Famous for its exotic flora and fauna, a visible native population, and women’s suffrage, it also drew American tourists to its shores: How did American travelers perceive New Zealand and its society? Did they connect in a special way to this country? What were their experiences and how did they write about it? Very few travel accounts by American women were published in this period, but these historical documents offer subjective accounts of the author’s time and present individual experiences and views on New Zealand: Abby Jane Morrell accompanied her husband on a sealing expedition in the South Seas (1833). Mrs. Woolley’s tour through the South Seas included New Zealand and she described the tourist highlights of that time (1906). And Carrie Francis Robertson’s unpublished travel journal gives a detailed account of her travels through New Zealand in 1912.
Contents: Travel literature (diary tradition, autobiographical writing, theories) – American travelers (national identity, status, tourists) – Gendered perspectives – North America and New Zealand, 1830-1915 (historical and social background) – Abby Jane Morrell, Mary Woolley, Carrie Francis Robertson – Text, Style, and Publication – Travel, Transition, and Transformation – Nature and Landscape, Māori and Civilization, Society and Suffrage, Identity.