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Nadezhda Alexandrova

The Ottoman women in the description of several women travelers to Istanbul.


My presentation explores the first Bulgarian women’s travelogue “A Journey to Istanbul” by Evgenia Mars (1909) from two critical perspectives. Firstly, I compare Mars’s text to those of several Bulgarian male authors who have written accounts of the Ottoman capital in the late 19th – the beginning of 20th century. Discussing the shared national strive for advancement and progress in all accounts, I will reflect on the influences that shaped Evgenia Mars’s writing in view of her strong emotional attachment to the distinguished Bulgarian poet Ivan Vazov.

Then, in contrast to the nationalistic distance projected towards the Ottoman capital, I will explore Mars’s appreciation of the lifestyle of the Turkish women in the light of earlier women’s travel writings about the Ottoman empire, such as the works of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Elizabeth Craven.

AsK, September 2012

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