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Kati Launis, Elisa Müller-Adams, Kerstin Wiedemann

Travelling Women Writers / Travelling Texts / Women's Travel Texts


Within the COST-WWIH project we have, in our case study on German women writers in the European literary market, so far focused on the reception of Ida Hahn-Hahn’s writings in England and France, in order to ask questions about gender as a factor in cross-cultural reception and processes of (non)canonization, as well as analyzed some of her travelogues as literary maps of Europe.

The presentation we propose for the final meeting of our COST Action Women Writers In History reflects on the results of the case study. More importantly, however, by including now the Finnish reception we aim to widen the focus from the Germany-France-Britain triangle which has been so far the focus of the study, in order to include more European countries or languages and thus explore possibilities for future co-operations.

For the presentation we have decided on a double perspective. First, we want to look at ‘travelling texts’, i.e. the European reception of Hahn-Hahn’s travel writing using reception sources from France, Britain and Finland. Second, we want to ask how Europe as a cultural (female) space is constructed in the travelogues.

With regard to the section’s title “Circulation of women and their writings” the presentation will discuss female travel writing as an important text corpus for the Action. As an “intercultural” genre that develops narratives of cultural contact and exchange, the travelogue and other travel writing offer insight into transcultural movements of both authors and texts. We will therefore place Ida Hahn-Hahn in the context of travel literature by women thereby linking the case study to the WomenWriters database and the wider objectives of the Action.

The presentation attempts to answer the following questions which are central to the Women Writers In History Action:

  • How does women’s literature move within Europe? How do genres travel?

  • How can we describe gender as a factor in cross-cultural reception and processes of (non)canonization?

  • What happens when “female” texts cross borders?

  • How is the cultural space of Europe constructed in the female travel writing? How do literary texts contribute to create - gendered - cultural spaces?

SvD, 24 May 2013

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