Workshop with Bessie McAdams
Title: "Curious Inventions and Isabella Bird: Factual Accounts of Nineteenth Century Japan and the Japan of Pure Invention."
The acquisition, governance, and settlement of the new territories by the British Empire in the Nineteenth Century generated a prodigious amount of travel writing from merchants, explorers, missionaries, diplomats, and, for the first time, women. One of the most prominent of these intrepid Victorian travellers was Isabella Bird. While women’s travel writing has become a recognized field of study in the last few decades, scholars have paid little attention to Bird’s account of her 1878 trip to Japan, entitled Unbeaten Tracks, or its connection to the beginning of the craze for “all one sees that’s Japanese,” or Japonisme. This article examines the most common trends of Japonisme travel writing and the ways in which Bird's text conforms and confronts these expectations. In particular, this article investigates the tension between the "curious inventions" of Japonisme authors and the lived experience of its visitors.
Please contact Bessie McAdams if you are not able to download the article from the CTools website.