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Title: The relevance of the ideology of separate spheres in nineteenth-century British travel literature
Author: Piatt, Patricia Angela
ISNI:       0000 0001 3489 7774
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2007
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The purpose of this thesis is to assess whether the ideology of separate spheres should continue to be used in the analysis of nineteenth-century travel literature, and to detennine whether there is any justification in assuming male travellers were primarily concerned with 'public' issues and female travellers were primarily concerned with 'private' issues. To answer these questions this thesis examines a number of areas traditionally associated with each gender, and analyzes how both sexes coped with a variety of discursive pressures. It incorporates travel literature produced by both genders covering the whole of the nineteenth century, and includes travel texts from a wide range of countries. The thesis is divided into two parts, each with two chapters. The first part focuses on areas traditionally associated with male expertise and 'public' issues. Chapter One investigates the inclusion of 'technical' subjects and finds, contrary to popular belief, that both sexes addressed these subjects in similar ways, and that there is a considerable weight of material to prove that women writers were interested in a much wider range of subjects than has been appreciated. Chapter Two explores the use of the 'Action Hero Narrator' and similarly finds that, rather than being modest and reserved, many women writers were also able to employ the use of a strong narrative voice in their travel texts. \Vhat is particularly striking regarding these 'masculine' issues is not that women were able to discuss a wide range of topics, and often do so in an authoritative manner, but that the work of many male writers was not dominated by 'technical' detail, and that they did not feel the need to portray themselves as dynamic and in control at all times. The second part of this investigation focuses on areas traditionally associated with female expertise and 'private' issues. Chapter Three examines how sexual relationships were dealt with in travel literature and finds, unlike female writers who were generally rather circumspect when they addressed matters of a sexual nature, male writers were able to be much more open and direct. Chapter Four investigates how other areas of relationships, such as children, family life and the position of women, were discussed by travel writers, and finds that male travel literature often demonstrated a greater interest in these issues than travel accounts produced by female writers. This thesis offers considerable evidence to prove that, in regard to male and female travel writing, there was much more commonality in subject matter than has been assumed. It demonstrates that there was a significant degree of movement between 'public' and 'private', and that assessing material primarily from the perspective of gender can be very misleading. It emphasises the importance of examining texts produced by both sexes before any assumptions are made about gender. Based on the evidence it concludes that it is difficult to justify the application of the ideology of separate spheres in the analysis of nineteenth-century travel literature. Supplied by The British Library - 'The world's knowledge'
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available