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"Food for Curiosity": The Liberating Forces of Travel and Writing for Aristocratic Women in Late Eighteenth-Century England

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Title: "Food for Curiosity": The Liberating Forces of Travel and Writing for Aristocratic Women in Late Eighteenth-Century England
Author: Johnson, Kathryn
Advisor: Smith, Paul Jacov; Graham, Lisa Jane
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of History
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: An examination of English travelogues and anti-travel rhetoric from the end of the eighteenth century reveals a historical moment characterized by anxieties about sex, class, and the state of the nation. In response to these concerns, English women were relegated to the household and men claimed exclusive control of the public sphere. As moral virtue and the nuclear family unit became increasingly important elements of English identity, the practice of travel became anathema to a growing national agenda. Women who disengaged from the domestic sphere and elected to travel on the continent were seen as unpatriotic and antithetical to the new national project. Using widely read behavioral manuals geared towards women and the diaries of three aristocratic women traveling abroad during the last two decades of the century, this thesis explores the ways in which the combined acts of travel and writing allowed women to separate from the domestic sphere and establish historical agency in the face of oppressive social forces. The primary sources illustrate that nationalist rivalry, gender anxiety, and threats produced by unstable social categories resulted in a battle for the control of women's bodies, prompting many women to pursue alternative avenues of self-expression and define new modes of subjectivity.
Subject: Women authors, English -- 18th century
Subject: Aristocracy (Social class) -- England -- History -- 18th century
Subject: Travelers' writings, English -- 18th century
Terms of Use: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10066/9084

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Citation

Johnson, Kathryn. ""Food for Curiosity": The Liberating Forces of Travel and Writing for Aristocratic Women in Late Eighteenth-Century England". 2012. Available electronically from http://hdl.handle.net/10066/9084.

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http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/ Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/

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