Journeys in the Palimpsest: British women's travel to Greece,1840-1914

Mahn, Churnjeet Kaur (2007) Journeys in the Palimpsest: British women's travel to Greece,1840-1914. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Discussions of British travel to Greece in the nineteenth century have been dominated by the work of Lord Byron. Byron’s contemporary Greeks were Orientalised, while antique Greece was personified as a captive Greek woman on the brink of compromise by the Ottomans, or a cadaver. Throughout the nineteenth century this antique vista was employed by the tourist industry. This thesis offers a consideration of the visions and vistas of Greece encountered by British women who travelled to Greece in the subsequent years, especially in the light of how commercial tourism limited or constructed their access to Greece.

Commercial tourist structures were in place in Athens and other major sites of antiquity, but the majority of the women considered here travelled through a terrain that went beyond a narrow and museum staged experience of Greece. Three paradigms have been established for women travelling in Greece: the professional archaeologist, the ethnographer, and the tourist. The women archaeologist combated the patriarchal domination of the classics, not only to posit a female intellectual who could master Greece, but also reveal how antique Greece was used to underwrite patriarchal British ideologies. The ethnographers in Greece are a mixed collection of semi-professional and professional ethnographers, considered alongside more conventional travel narratives, all of which offer discussions of the modern Greek psyche trapped at a series of liminal fissures (East/West, antique/modern). Concentrating on women and geography, they subtly conflate the two to read nation in gender. However, without the sexualised aspect of their male counterparts, they read Greek women through a series of diverse practices that they identify through a close contact that could only be established between women. The modern tourist in Greece offers the most enduring and lasting type of traveller in Greece. Travelling with and against guidebooks, the discussion considers the visual technologies that helped to codify the way Greece is still seen as a tourist destination. In conjunction with this, the popular discourses denigrating women’s travel are also discussed, which offers a key reason for the dismissal of their literary output.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Kolocotroni, Vassiliki
Date of Award: 2007
Depositing User: Elaine Ballantyne
Unique ID: glathesis:2007-1317
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2009
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:37

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