By Elizabeth A. Bohls
British readers of the eighteenth and early 19th centuries eagerly fed on books of commute in an age of imperial enlargement that used to be additionally the formative interval of contemporary aesthetics. attractiveness, sublimity, sensuous surfaces, and scenic perspectives turned conventions of shuttle writing as Britons utilized well-known phrases to strange areas all over the world. The social good judgment of aesthetics, argues Elizabeth Bohls, developed ladies, the labouring sessions, and non-Europeans as foils opposed to which to outline the 'man of flavor' as an informed, property-owning gentleman. girls writers from Mary Wortley Montagu to Mary Shelley resisted this exclusion from gentlemanly privilege, and their writings re-evaluate and query aesthetic conventions equivalent to the concept that of disinterested contemplation, subtly yet insistently exposing its vested pursuits. Bohls' examine expands our understanding of women's highbrow presence in Romantic literature, and indicates Romanticism's assets on the peripheries of empire instead of at its centre.
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Extra resources for Women Travel Writers and the Language of Aesthetics, 1716-1818
1:313-14) Likening the bathers to prestigious European works of art Milton's Eve, the nude paintings of Guido and Titian, and the frequently painted classical motif of the Three Graces - is the crux of Montagu's ingenious strategy. "14 They do so by invoking contemporary aesthetic thought, and in particular the developing concept of disinterested aesthetic contemplation, which we have glimpsed in Shaftesbury's rather eccentric explication. If aesthetic objects, especially works of art, are by definition not objects for prurient regard, then Montagu's aesthetic comparisons should have the effect of de-eroticizing her readers' imaginary gaze and thus blocking the crass fantasies of Withers and Dumont's lascivious crew.
These fabricated portrayals of Turkish women were a key element of early Orientalist discourse. Though Edward Said's study gives no detailed account of Orientalism before Napoleon, late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century British and French accounts of travel to the 28 Women travel writers and the language of aesthetics Ottoman Empire are consistent with later representations of the Middle East. 5 Oriental women carry a disproportionate symbolic burden in this discourse. Doubly other and doubly exotic, they become a synecdoche for the Orient itself.
CHAPTER 2 Janet Schaw and the aesthetics of colonialism Antigua is beautiful. Antigua is too beautiful. 1 Janet Schaw traveled and wrote more than half a century after Montagu's trip to Turkey, though just a decade after the publication of her letters. The circumstances of the two women's journeys were quite disparate. While Montagu went to Turkey as a member of a diplomatic mission between Occidental and Oriental world powers, Schaw paid a private visit to British colonists, her friends and fellow Scots, the owners of sugar plantations dependent on slave labor.