CFP: [Victorian] Nineteenth-Century British Travel Writers in the New World (8/15/08: Collection)

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CFP for proposed collection:

Seeing America: Nineteenth-Century British Travel Writers in the New World

Proposal deadline: August 15, 2008

Travel writingâ€"especially that of the nineteenth centuryâ€"has been of keen
interest to scholars in recent years, but most studies focus on the work of
those writers who traveled to exotic locales. While seemingly not so
exotic, the United States was an important destination for
nineteenth-century British travel writers. British travelers accounts of
their journeys to visit the new democracy helped to create for their
readers at home what has been called the mythological America, a concept of
America that reflected anxieties about their own nation.
     I invite proposals for contributions to a collection which will
examine the work of nineteenth-century British writers who traveled to the
New World. The proposed collection will take as its premise the idea that
by analyzing these writers travel accounts, one can explore a crucial
moment in the development of the British view of the U.S., a view that
hasâ€"in both its enthusiasm for and condemnation of Americaâ€"been
instrumental in creating a mythological America abroad. Study of these
texts can help to provide an understanding of how nineteenth-century
Britain viewed itself as part of the transatlantic world, and by focusing
on the ways in which these texts represent to their readers such issues as
slavery, gender roles, American Indians, nature, social class and so on,
the essays in this collection will examine how accounts of America were
mediated by the writers own class, gender and other anxieties. The mediated
nature of these accounts created a constructed view of America and helped
to shore up British identity by underscoring or subverting the
middle-class, Anglo-Saxon world-view.
     It is estimated that over 200 books were published by English
travelers to the US in the first half of the nineteenth century; clearly
readers were interested. Essays in “Seeing America: Nineteenth-Century
British Travel Writers in the New World” will study this important and
largely unexplored area of travel writing, bringing to the fore British
travel writers constructions of the mythological America, a mythological
America that not only influenced Britons in the nineteenth century, but
continues to impact the relationship between these nations today.

Send 2-page proposals for essays of approximately 6-8.000 words via email
[Word or RTF] by August 15, 2008. Please include one-page CV.

--Christine DeVine
Associate Professor and Mary E. Dichmann Endowed Professor of English
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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Received on Sun Jun 15 2008 - 12:47:12 EDT