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Title:Discovering the Balkans: British Travellers in Southeastern Europe, 1861--1911
Author(s):Larson, Todd E.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Arnstein, Walter L.
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, English
Abstract:This study analyzes the ways that the Balkans were conceptualized and depicted, in other words "discovered," by British travel writers. It concentrates on both traditional visits to the Balkans as well as non-traditional, imaginary ones---those found in fiction and poetry---and takes an innovative and integrated thematic approach that categorizes British visitors and their experiences into themes and motifs. It is divided into five parts. Section I covers the geographical and historical background to Balkan travel. Section II emphasizes the history of British travellers in the region up to 1861, William Gladstone and the politicization of Balkan travel literature, and the influence of the 1870s Balkan crisis on the nature of travel to the Balkans. Section III investigates the background and influence of ethnography in British travel literature, the ethnographic depiction of the Balkan nationalities, and the representation of Balkan Outsiders---including Morlachs, Gypsies, and Jews---in British travel accounts. Section IV explores the historiography and history of British women travellers in the Balkans, a discussion of women as objects of desire, case studies of important female travel writers (Paulina Irby, Georgina Muir Mackenzie, and Mary Edith Durham), and an overview of other female travellers in the region. Section V deals with symbolism in Balkan travel literature, including death and history as major motifs, Balkan customs and culture as characterized in British travel literature, the vampire motif in British travel accounts, imaginary journeys and the origins of the Balkan vampire myth in Britain, and the image of the Balkans in Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Issue Date:2004
Description:1243 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3130965
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2004

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