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

Ed. Kristi Siegel. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2004, ISBN: 978-0-8204-4905-0, 320 pages. $32.95.

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Women experience and portray travel differently; gender matters—irreducibly and complexly. Building on recent scholarship in women’s travel writing, these provocative essays 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 range in time from Victorian memsahibs to contemporary “Road girls,” the topics presented are as diverse as Anna Leonowens’s slanted portrayal of Siam—later popularized in the movie, The King and I—and the rhetoric of peril long associated with women’s travel. The extensive array of writers examined includes Frances Trollope, Cameron Tuttle, Lady Mary Montagu, Catherine Oddie, Kate Karko, Nancy Prince , Frances Calderón de la Barca, Rosamond Lawrence, Zilpha Elaw, Alexandra David-Néel, Amelia Edwards, Erica Lopez, Paule Marshall, Bharati Mukherjee, and Marilynne Robinson.


From Sara Mills, Professor of Linguistics, Cultural Studies, Sheffield Hallam University:

“The contributors to this book are well aware of the complexity of gender and the way that gender operates in different ways in different contexts. The women travellers considered here do not have much in common, since they are divided by historical period, privilege, class, race and wealth, but it is perhaps the diversity of the women represented here which is the book's greatest strength, because although the women do not write in the same way as each other, gender nevertheless manifests itself clearly and makes its presence felt. In this way we are able to see the way that gender operates in particular contexts. This book enables us to move away from assuming that women travellers write in a particular way or in a particular style, with certain themes predominating and towards a type of contextualised analysis which is subtle enough to unpick the intricacies of the way gender operates."                                      

Table of Contents

Introduction: Women's Travel and Theory
Kristi Siegel

Part One - Gender

Chapter One
The Gaze of the Victorian Woman Traveler: Spectacle and Phenomena
Ruth Y. Jenkins - California State University-Fresno

Chapter Two
Lady Mary Montagu and the "Boundaries" of Europe 
Sukanya Banerjee - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Chapter Three
Woman's Travel and the Rhetoric of Peril: It's Suicide to Be Abroad
Kristi Siegel - Mount Mary College

Chapter Four
The Daughters of Thelma and Louise: New? Aesthetics of the Road
Jessica Enevold - Göteborg University

Chapter Five
Women Writers and the Internal Combustion Engine: Passing Penelope Pitstop
Rachel A. Jennings - Antelope Valley College

Part Two - Genre

Chapter Six
Frances Trollope's American and Anna Leonowens's Siam: Questionable Travel and Problematic Writing
Chu-chueh Cheng - National Chung-hsing University in Taiwan

Chapter Seven
Nancy Prince and her Gothic Odyssey: A Veiled Lady
Sarah Brusky -  University of Florida

Chapter Eight
Zilpha Elaw's Serial Domesticity: An Unsentimental Journey
Rosetta R. Haynes - Indiana State University

Chapter Nine
Women's Travel Writing and the Politics of Location: Somewhere In-Between
Heidi Slettedahl Macpherson - University of Central Lancashire

Chapter Ten
The Problem of Narrative and Authority: Catherine Oddie and Kate Karko
Corinne Fowler - 

Part Three - Identity

Chapter Eleven
A Protestant Critique of Catholicism: Frances Calderón de la Barca in Nineteenth-Century Mexico
Linda Ledford-Miller - University of Scranton

Chapter Twelve
Identity in Rosamond Lawrence's Indian Embers: "I Cannot Somehow Find Myself"
Terri A. Hasseler - Bryant College

Chapter Thirteen
American National Identity Abroad: The Travels of Nancy Prince
Kristin Fitzpatrick - Tunghai University

Chapter Fourteen
Alexandra David-Néel's Home in the Himalayas: Where the Heart Lies
Margaret McColley - University of Virginia

Chapter Fifteen
A Feminist Lens for Binx Bolling's Journey in The Moviegoer: Traveling Toward Wholeness
Kathleen Scullin - Mount Mary College



is Associate Professor and Chair of English (and the Languages, Literature, and Communication Division) at Mount Mary College in Wisconsin; she earned her Ph.D. in Modern Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is the author of Women's Autobiographies, Culture, Feminism (Peter Lang, 2001), and editor of  a collection of essays about travel writing, Issues in Travel Writing: Empire, Spectacle, and Displacement  (Peter Lang, 2002). She also serves as general editor for the book series Travel Writing Across the Disciplines (Peter Lang), and has published various articles on postmodern, feminist, cultural, and autobiographical theory.