Nineteenth-Century Visions of Race : British Travel Writing about America book cover
1st Edition

Nineteenth-Century Visions of Race
British Travel Writing about America

ISBN 9781032129327
Published November 30, 2021 by Routledge
158 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Nineteenth-Century Visions of Race: British Travel Writing about America concerns the depiction of racial Others in travel writing produced by British travelers coming to America between 1815 and 1861.The travelers’ discussions of slavery and of the situation of Native Americans constituted an inherent part of their interest in the country’s democratic system, but it also reflected numerous additional problems: 19th-century conceptions of race, the writers’ own political agendas, as well as their like or dislike of America in general, which impacted how they assessed the treatment of the subaltern groups by the young republic. While all British travelers were critical of American slavery and most of them expressed sympathy for Native Americans, their attitude towards non-whites was shaped by prejudices characteristic of the age. The book brings together descriptions of blacks and Native Americans, showing their similarities stemming from 19th-century views on race as well as their differences; it also focuses on the depiction of race in travel writing as part of Anglo-American relations of the period.

Table of Contents



The visitors

Transatlantic relations in the early 19th century

The discourse of travel writing

Chapter One: Nineteenth-Century Conceptions of Race

The beginnings of racial science

Attitudes towards blacks and Native Americans

Chapter Two: Touring the Land of the Unfree

The South, the North, and abolitionism

Objective observers

Essentialist views of race

Nineteenth-century racial hierarchies

Chapter Three: Children of the Forest, Noble and Ignoble Savages: Encounters with Native Americans

Sympathy for the oppressed

Savages noble and ignoble: the double image

Doomed to extinction

Extremes of contempt

Chapter Four: Gazing at Racialized Bodies

Seeking esthetic pleasure

The ugly, the grotesque, the animal

Performing race

Speaking for itself?



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Justyna Fruzińska holds an MA in American Literature and a PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of Lodz, Poland, where she holds the position of Assistant Professor and teaches American literature, culture, and history. Her publications include Emerson Goes to the Movies: Individualism in Walt Disney Company's Post-1989 Animated Films (2014), as well as numerous academic articles on American popular culture, travel writing, Transcendentalism, and Polish poetry.