A Woman’s Place

Dúnlaith Bird

in Travelling in Different Skins

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644162
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949984 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs

A Woman’s Place

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Chapter 8 This chapter discusses the complex strategies, from transposition of the home space to aesthetic discourse, used by women travel writers to access the Oriental space while avoiding censure. It begins with Isabella Bird’s depiction of ‘embryonic’ spaces in the American Wild West, precursors to the unbeaten tracks she pursues in her Oriental travelogues. It then analyses the overlaying of exotic with domestic space in the work of both Bird and Gertrude Bell. The second section examines how constructions of the female and native body disrupt the textual formulation of the Orient, from Bird’s feminisation of the Korean landscape, painting rather than planting her flag of conquest, to Isabelle Eberhardt’s conflation of the female body and colonial space in Algeria. The final section considers the lure of the desert, its opposition to the topos of the harem, and the potential it offers for a textual ‘third space’.

Keywords: feminist geography; Edward Said; Third Space; Gertrude Bell; domestic space; harem; desert; Orientalism; Isabella Bird; cartography; exploration

Chapter.  16588 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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