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Bayard Taylor and the Genders of the North
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Modern Languages. Engelska.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4960-3251
2006 (English)In: Edda: Nordisk tidskrift for litteraturforskning, ISSN 9 770013 08 1037, no 1, 18-33 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In nineteenth-century travelogues, representations of nature as feminine commonly serve to underscore constructions of masculinity as dominant, controlled and rational. Feminine language is more readily utilised to describe southern than northern spaces, however. Thus, southern landscapes are quite often seen as picturesque and coded as feminine, whereas northern landscapes are frequently described as awe-inspiring and sublime and given masculine properties. To some extent, the American travel writer Bayard Taylor’s Northern Travel: Summer and Winter Pictures of Sweden, Lapland and Norway (1858) conforms to a model which genders the land feminine and the traveller masculine. But a factor that seems to influence how a region is discursively gendered is to what degree the writer is presented as separated from or integrated with the environment. To some extent, Taylor’s representation of the North as a physically demanding region where the traveller is vulnerable works to undermine the conventionally masculine position of much nineteenth-century travel writing. As a result, the narrative vacillates between reinforcing and undermining essentialist gender polarities, highlighting the problem of gendering physical space.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. no 1, 18-33 p.
Keyword [en]
nortern travel, gender, male gaze, interaction with nature, mastery of nature
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-16453OAI: diva2:156126
Available from: 2009-10-14 Created: 2007-01-22 Last updated: 2016-05-10Bibliographically approved

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