Transatlantic Travel Writers from and to Spain at the Turn of the 19th Century

By:
Dr Mercedes Caballer
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Fortunately, there are more and more Travel Literature studies about Spain in the 19th century. Most of them examine travel accounts from French and British travelers. However, there are very few studies about American writers and even less about female writers. This comes as a surprise, considering that there were more than a hundred travel books written by North Americans about Spain published before 1900.

This study examines travel accounts from both American writers who traveled to Spain and Spanish writers who traveled to Europe and the Americas. All of them crossed the Atlantic in search of the picturesque, exotic and diverse on the other side of the ocean to find only a way of comparing them to their own. Common themes and narrative techniques arise in such endeavors from professional writers such as William D. Howells, Edith Wharton and the less known journalist Kate Field, among the Americans. From Spain, two women writers, Emilia Pardo Bazán and Eva Canel, traveled across Europe and the Americas, respectively. Despite their different origin, culture, and education, their accounts show a balance between fiction and information as well as the common use of literary resources such as the voice of the narrator, the use of digressions, and the recurrent emphasis in justifying their opinions due to the convention of decorum among women or humilitatis among men. All writers also agree in displaying a personal view of the visited country as opposed to the informative and impersonal guides already published about the visited countries. It is important to gauge their contributions to the literature of both countries through a genre that crosses the border between an essay, a cultural study and even a social and political critique.


Keywords: Travel genre, Transatlantic Travel Writers, 19th Century
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr Mercedes Caballer

Lecturer, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Colorado, Boulder
USA

Born in Madrid, Spain, she moved to the U.S. in 1993. B.A. Spanish Philology from UNED, 1997. Obtained Ph.D. degree in Spanish Literature from UNED, Spain in 2003. The dissertation title was The Spanish Narrative in the U.S. Press 1875-1900. She is interested in 19th. Century Narrative, Travel Writing, Journalism and Literature and Women Narrative. At the moment, she teaches Spanish and Spanish Literature at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Ref: H05P0237