Discourses of difference : an analysis of women's travel writing and colonialism /
Sara Mills.
London ; New York : Routledge, 1991.
232 p. : ill.
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London ; New York : Routledge, 1991.
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Includes bibliographical references.
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Appeared in Choice on 1992-11:
Mills constructs a new theoretical framework for the analysis of women's travel writing. In the first section she investigates the limits of traditional approaches both the conventionally biographical and the more theoretical work of Edward Said. The second section analyzes the discussion of gender within the study of colonial discourse, arguing persuasively that theories of colonial discourse cannot simply add gender and stir, but "themselves need to be reconsidered in the light of feminist analyses." Michel Foucault's work influences the discussion of the numerous constraints upon the production and reception of women's travel writing. In the last section Mills explores three case studies: My Journey to Lhasa (1927) by Alexandra David-Neel, Travels in West Africa (1897) by Mary Kingsley, and The Indian Alps and How We Crossed Them (1876) by Nina Mazuchelli. Some of the painstaking negotiation of Foucault seems poignantly destined for a short shelf life. Too, in avoiding "more cohesive but partial readings," the study offers readings that are, as Mills acknowledges, unwieldy and constantly modified. But this often illuminating work resists easy generalizations and outlines significant areas for research. Appropriate for graduate students and faculty. B. Kalikoff; University of Puget Sound
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Choice, November 1992
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Main Description
How did women write in the colonial period? Is there a specifically female genre of travel writing? Discourses of Differenceunravels the complexities of writings by British women travellers of the "high colonial" period. Sara Mills' broad-based study draws on the work of Foucault and the ideas of colonialism of such cultural theorists as Edward Said, Louise Pratt, and Gayatri Spivak to produce a new thoeretical framework for the analysis of texts written during this period. Mills argues that critics have paid insufficient attention to issues of gender, and have failed to consider the context in which texts by women were written and received. Through case studies of three women travellers--Alexandra David-Neel, Mary Kingsley and Nina Mazuchelli--Mills charts both the variety and the shared features in women's travel writing, suggesting that, although these women wrote from within the colonial system, they produced alternative accounts of the imperial presence incolonial countries.
Main Description
Unravels the complexities of writings by British women of the 'high colonial' period. Sara Mills analyses the writings of three women travellers, extending recent post-colonial and cultural theory in an important and inspiring study.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgementsp. viii
Introductionp. 1
Critical Responses to Women's Travel Writingp. 25
Feminist Work on Women's Travel Writingp. 27
Gender and the Study of Colonial Discoursep. 47
Constraints on Production and Receptionp. 65
Foucault and Constraints on the Production of Textp. 67
Constraints on the Reception of Women's Travel Writingp. 108
Case Studiesp. 123
Alexandra David-Neel: My Journey to Lhasa (1927)p. 125
Mary Kingsley: Travels in West Africa (1897)p. 153
Nina Mazuchelli: the Indian Alps and How We Crossed Them (1876)p. 175
Conclusionp. 195
Notesp. 200
Bibliographyp. 213
Indexp. 228
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