Sentiment and Scholarship: Hybrid Historiography and Historical Authority in Maria Graham’s South American Journals

Thompson, Carl (2017) Sentiment and Scholarship: Hybrid Historiography and Historical Authority in Maria Graham’s South American Journals. Women's Writing, 24 (2). pp. 1-22. ISSN 0969-9082

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As scholars have registered, many female-authored travel accounts of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries need to be recognized simultaneously as exercises in historical commentary and debate. This article extends our knowledge of this intersection of genres through analysis of two striking examples of women's travel writing operating as a mode of historiography: Maria Graham's Journal of a Voyage to Brazil (1824) and Journal of a Residence in Chile (1824). In the often overlooked prefatory material used to frame the central journal sections of these books, Graham undertook a more ambitious and original historiographical exercise than is generally appreciated. The journal portions also spoke to contemporary historical enquiries in ways not always recognized by modern critics—for example, in their occasional use of sentimental idioms and motifs. Although in these and other passages, Graham's writing may seem today more “literary” than historiographical, this was not how they were received by many contemporary readers, who accepted Graham's account as a useful contribution to the history of South America. This reception demonstrates the importance of not reading nineteenth-century travel writing solely as “life writing”, but rather as a multidisciplinary and generically hybrid form which women might use to assert and display authority across a range of discourses.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in 'Women's Writing' on 05/08/2016, available online:”
School/Department: School of Arts and Humanities
Depositing User: Carl Thompson
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2016 12:08
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2018 01:30


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