Women Wanderers and the Writing of Mobility, 1784-1814
23 Mar 2017
In the last days of the Scandinavian journey that would become the basis of her great post-Revolutionary travel book, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote, 'I am weary of travelling - yet seem to have no home - no resting place to look to - I am strangely cast off'. From this starting point, Ingrid Horrocks reveals the significance of representations of women wanderers in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, particularly in the work of women writers. She follows gendered, frequently reluctant wanderers beyond travel narratives into poetry, gothic romances, and sentimental novels, and places them within a long history of uses of the more traditional literary figure of the male wanderer. Drawing out the relationship between mobility and affect, and illuminating textual forms of wandering, Horrocks shows how paying attention to the figure of the woman wanderer sheds new light on women and travel, and alters assumptions about mobility's connection with freedom.