Chair: José Pablo Barragán (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Travel, travel writing, and the rise of mass tourism in the nineteenth century have received an impressively wide scholarly focus. In informing the willing sightseer, guidebooks like Baedeker’s or Murray’s constructed a particular approach to the foreign and the unknown. Obligatory rather than spontaneous, requisite rather than discretionary, the experience guidebooks delineated and that powerful tourist agencies like Thomas Cook regulated, produced an intrepid British traveler whose thirst for the new and the exotic challenged conventional notions of relaxation and knowledge, while, at the same time, remained a carefully governed cosmopolitan identity.
Even among the modernists with whom he is frequently grouped, Joseph Conrad, the Polish-born former mariner who, in his third language, reinvented himself as a British novelist, is a singularly resonant and deeply fraught figure. Conrad’s biography and work anticipate both the figure and the preoccupations of the transnational and transcultural artist. In a 1906 letter, Henry James wrote to Conrad, “No one has known – for intellectual use – the things you know.” How Conrad rendered what he “knew” is critical to literary developments of the last century. Much of the scholarship on Conrad, however, has focused on his impressionism or, more controversially, on his view of imperialism. Was he, in his partial sympathy for subjugated people, and his attack
In her groundbreaking book titled Women in the Nineteenth Century, Margaret Fuller suggests a remedy for the degradation of work for women stating, “Women are the best helpers of one another” (117). Fuller’s statement has reflections in many works written at the end of the nineteenth century such as Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, The Silent Partner (1871), Alcott’s Work (18739, and Blake’s Fettered for Life (1874) all of which focus on sisterhood, solidarity, and feminine bond among women across class, race, and nationality as a survival mechanism within capitalist economy.