Discourses of Difference: The Malaya of Isabella Bird, Emily Innes and Florence Caddy

Tay Eddie

in Asian Crossings

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9789622099142
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206632 | DOI:
Discourses of Difference: The Malaya of Isabella Bird, Emily Innes and Florence Caddy

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This chapter explores both resemblances and divergences within Isabella Bird's The Golden Chersonese and the Way Thither (1883), Emily Innes' The Chersonese with the Gilding Off (1885), and Florence Caddy's To Siam and Malaya in the Duke of Sutherland's Yacht “Sans Peur” (1889). These are narratives written by three very different women who were in Malaya under varied circumstances. It specifically analyzes the extent to which their works conform to the idea that women's travel writings might be considered as constituting “discourses of difference”. It also makes the point that, apart from gender, there are other internal distinctions to be made within the “discourses of difference”. These include differences in terms of class, marital status and the particular circumstances that brought these women to Malaya. In general, the three accounts of British presence in Malaya reveal the variety of ways in which colonialism is articulated by women writers who were in Malaya between 1879 and 1888.

Keywords: Malaya; Isabella Bird; Emily Innes; Florence Caddy; women writers; travel writings; colonialism

Chapter.  6012 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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