British Women's Travel to Greece, 1840–1914

Travels in the Palimpsest

British Women's Travel to Greece, 1840–1914
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  • Churnjeet Mahn, University of Surrey, UK
  • Series: The Nineteenth Century Series
  • Beginning with the publication of the first Murray guidebook to Greece in 1840 and ending with Virginia Woolf's journey to Athens, this book offers a genealogy of British women's travel literature about Greece. Churnjeet Mahn recounts the women's first-hand experiences of the sites and sights of antiquity, analyzing travel accounts by archaeologists, ethnographers, journalists, and tourists to chart women's renderings of Modern Greece through a series of discursive lenses. Mahn's offers insights into the importance of the Murray and Baedeker guidebooks; how knowledge of Greece and Classical Studies were used to justify colonial rule of India at the same time that Agnes Smith Lewis and Jane Ellen Harrison used Greece as a symbol of women's emancipation; British women's production of the first anthropological accounts of Modern Greece; and fin-de-siècle women who asserted their right to see and claim antiquity at the same time that the safety of the independent lady traveler was being called into question by the media.
  • Contents: Introduction; Greek panoramas: Murray and Baedeker's guidebooks to Greece, 1840–1909; 'Hellas at Cambridge': Agnes Smith Lewis and Jane Ellen Harrison; Ethnography and British women's travel writing about Greece, 1847–1914; Image conscious: the new lady traveller at the fin de siècle; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
  • About the Author: Churnjeet Mahn is lecturer in English Literature, University of Surrey, UK.
  • Reviews: 'This thorough, nuanced, and elegantly written account of women travelers to Greece between 1840 and 1914 functions both as a genealogy of the diverse group of British women travelers to Greece and as an astute intervention into wider debates about the historical and contemporary role of women in the public sphere'.
    Reina Lewis, London College of Fashion, UK and author of Rethinking Orientalism: Women, Travel and the Ottoman Harem

    ‘…Mahn’s book is a treasure trove; through the lens British Women’s Travel to Greece we can more clearly see the contexts informing Woolf’s own scholarly, ethnographic, and touristic perspectives. […] Her book is both thorough and stimulating, and, I hope, will further open up areas of study, especially on modernist women’s travels to Greece.’ Virginia Woolf Miscellany

    ‘Churnjeet Mahn provides a valuable and much-needed exploration of women’s travel to Greece in the period 1840-1914 …[reveals] the important contributions to knowledge that these women made through their writings on Greece, but also unfolding a narrative of Greece as a rich site in which women entered into unique engagements with wider social, political and cultural debates about women’s role in the nineteenth century.’ Feminist and Women’s Studies Association

    '… it is undeniable that Mahn’s work makes an important contribution to the field of classical reception studies, both for its insights and its anticipation of future explorations into the complex intersections of Hellenism and Orientalism.' English Literature in Transition 1800–1920