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Sprong, Heather (2013) NAVIGATING IDENTITIES: WOMEN’S TRAVEL NARRATIVES IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation argues that diurnal travel narratives written and published in the nineteenth century participated in the discourse of imperialism by articulating empire’s influence in terms that readers outside of the realm of politics could understand: impact on daily life. Working primarily with texts written by women such as Emily Eden, Fanny Eden, and Emily Innes who traveled with governing members of the British colonial ruling class, this dissertation asserts that the minutiae included in their narratives—everything from the food writers ate and the people they met to worries about their inkstands and which furniture their pets favored—expose, but also act upon, the discourse of imperialism. Writing functions both as a product and as an activity in these journals, and I contend that its double role constitutes the crux of their power as agents of imperial discourse.

Scholars of travel writing such as Indira Ghose, Susan Morgan, and Susan Schoenbauer have introduced us to the notion that we need to consider genre, gender, and place when situating texts in a tradition of writing. In another vein, Dierdre David focuses on the rhetorical functions of epistolary travel writing. By combining those approaches, and identifying a sub-genre consisting of diurnal of travel writing, I illuminate the particular varieties of writing produced because of those contexts. Coupling contextual and rhetorical elements of creation as I do accomplishes two things. First, by noting traces of the discursive process in diurnal travel narratives, I expand the notion of what writing entails, and, thus, what constitutes writing (and defining) imperial discourse. Secondly, recognizing the diurnal nature of the texts calls our attention to two phases of invention: initial composition and editing for publication. Because the narratives I study were privately written, but published for public consumption, they straddle the line between private correspondence and public media, a location that creates a perception of intimacy with the author and ignores the influential practice of constructing colonial impressions that they carry out. Thus, I investigate the link between the shared personal experiences recorded in these journals and the greater political significances they both reflect and enact.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBoone, Troyboone@pitt.eduBOONE
Committee MemberMajumdar, Neepanmajumda@pitt.eduNMAJUMDA
Committee MemberSmith, Philippsmith@pitt.eduPSMITH
Committee MemberEllenbogen, Joshuajme23@pitt.eduJME23
Date: 17 October 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 23 July 2013
Approval Date: 17 October 2013
Submission Date: 16 August 2013
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 255
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Travel Writing; Women's Travel Writing; Travel Narratives; Diurnal Travel Narratives; English Identity;Postcards; Emily Eden; Fanny Eden; Emily Innes; Oscar Wilde;Anthony Trollope; Rudyard Kipling
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2013 18:47
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2018 05:15


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