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Isabella Bird

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Chapter Summary

Isabella Bird, one of the foremost travellers of the latter half of the nineteenth century, was probably the most publicly recognized woman traveller to visit Meiji Japan. Between 1854 and 1901, her many journeys outside England included Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Japan, Malaya, Tibet, Persia, Turkey, Korea, China and Morocco. Both during her lifetime and after, there has been a significant amount of critical acclaim for her travel writing, with some of her books reprinted in the 1990s and 2000s. The narrative of her travels during seven months in Japan in 1878 marks both an important change in the focus and purpose of Isabella Bird's writing and an important period of change in Japanese politics. Attitudes of women towards their emancipation remained ambivalent until the end of the century. They were intent on presenting travel writing from an informed and educated perspective.

Keywords: England; Isabella Bird; Meiji Japan; woman traveller



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