Travelling in Different Skins
This chapter discusses the role of the travelogue, both as a locus for the safely bound exotic Other, and as the potential conduit for hybrid constructions of identity. It introduces the central concept of vagabondage, the search for identity through motion in women’s travel writing from Olympe Audouard and Isabella Bird to Isabelle Eberhardt. The chapter establishes a composite basis of gender and postcolonial theory, creating a nuanced critique of Edward Said and Judith Butler. It gives a historical overview of the British and French colonial empires from 1850–1950 and their representations in popular culture. It also analyses the persistent structures of Orientalism and their impact on European gender roles and travel writing. A brief biography of the main women travel writers discussed and an outline of following chapters are also given.
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