Graduation Year

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

English

Major Professor

Laura Runge, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Pat Rogers, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew Berish, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mona Narain, Ph.D.

Keywords

Delarivier Manley, Food History, Frances Burney, Janet Schaw, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Place Studies

Abstract

Traveling Women and Consuming Place in Eighteenth-Century Travel Letters and Journals considers how various women-authored travel narratives of the long eighteenth century employ food in the construction of place and identity. Chronologically charting the letters and journals of Delarivier Manley, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Janet Schaw, and Frances Burney, I argue that the “critical food moments” described in their letters and journals demonstrate material, cultural, and social implications about consumption. My interdisciplinary project is located at the intersection of three seemingly divergent topics: food studies, human geography, and women-authored travel narratives. Approaching “place” as a way of being-in-the-world, my project traces the connection between verbal constructions of place and issues of identity, national and gender, across the eighteenth century. Looking at what I term “critical food moments” during travel allows us particular insight into how food simultaneously serves a literal (intended for consumption) and a figurative (used as a literary topic and device) function, and how tropes of food—such as digestion—function as lexicons which offer women writers opportunities to better understand and criticize the nation and their own identities within the nation. I argue that food-centered moments allow us to better understand the lived experiences of women traveling in the eighteenth century, to analyze how material and sensory conditions influenced and shaped women’s understandings of themselves and their positions (places) in the world. Taken together, these four women authors represent a wide-range of perspectives from various social and economic backgrounds, and yet, what they have in common is crucial: a connection with the food, communities, and places they travel.

Available for download on Wednesday, May 09, 2018

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