The Orient and three Victorian travellers : Kinglake, Burton and Palgrave
This thesis is concerned with the travel writings of three Victorian travellers to the Middle East, Alexander William Kinglake, Sir Richard Francis Burton and William Gifford Palgrave. Its main aim is to show how the three travellers viewed the Orient through their own ideology which was tainted by the idea of the Empire and the European feeling of racial superiority and how such ideology limited their actual observations to the extent that they expressed in their literary works on the Orient more of their own ideology than the reality of the Orient. The thesis will, therefore, show their works not so much as knowledge of the "reality" of the Orient, but as an expression of their ideology in relation to non-Europeans and of the writers themselves and their unique sensibility. It will also show how their writings reveal more of their inner conflicts and psychological reaction to certain happenings and become more literary to the extent that they wrote a species of "fiction'' ; how they did much to create a blurred image of the Orient in the nineteenth-century British mind; and how they added practically nothing to the European knowledge of Arabia, though certainly to the literature on Arabia. The thesis consists of two parts comprising in all five chapters and a conclusion. The first two chapters are introductory ones dealing with the Europeans' image of the Orient till the nineteenth century and the main factors which encouraged travel and exploration in the Victorian era. The three other chapters deal respectively with Kinglake's Eothen, Burton's Pilgrimage, and Palgrave's Central and Eastern Arabia. These chapters analyze the way the nineteenth-century European ideology directed and limited the three travellers' observations in relation to the Orient.