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Victorian Women Travel Writers And The Positioning Of Japan In The Genre Of Travel

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Chapter Summary

Travel accounts, taken as one undifferentiated body of writings, form an immense international literary genre, thousands of years old. Contemporary accounts of women's travel writing were often very selective; they tended to omit, or gloss over, perceived negative attitudes such as arrogance, deceitfulness or cruelty, and emphasized the more 'feminine' aspects such as acts of kindness and charity. Histories are integral to all forms of travel writing, recounting journeys real and imagined, and forming a basis for understanding and referencing past cultures and events. Travel letters, journals, diaries and books are part of a wider tradition of recording personal experience. The letter/diary/journal was the structure of choice for the narratives of the majority of women travellers in Meiji Japan. These forms of travelogue offered the woman the possibility of laying claim to writing while allaying the anxieties of actual publication.

Keywords: international literary genre; Meiji Japan; women travellers

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