Orientalism or Meridionism? British identity formation through travel writing on India and Italy, 1760-1850

Robinson, David (2020) Orientalism or Meridionism? British identity formation through travel writing on India and Italy, 1760-1850. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis compares two bodies of travel writing; the accounts of ‘middling types’ of British travellers to Italy and to India from the late eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. Rather than treat British engagement with these two travel destinations separately, as has tended to be the case, I consider the ways in which British travel to Italy and India contributed to and justified an emerging sense of British identity, which reflected the growing cultural and political authority of the middle-classes.

Travellers’ discourse on India has been, broadly, considered as part of Edward Said’s theory of Orientalism; the creation of an East-West binary of racial inferiority and superiority. However, the ‘superiority’ of the West is apparently disrupted by another division configured by travellers during the same period, that of a European North-South binary. Manfred Pfister has termed this binary ‘Meridionism’, noting that ‘there is an intra-European “Meridionism” as well as a global Orientalism.’ Rather than think about Orientalism and Meridionism separately or as two parallel but distinct processes, this thesis examines the relationship between Orientalism and Meridionism. I explore the ways in which Orientalism and Meridionism interact to and reinforce each other and, in the process, configure a sense of British identity based around bourgeois ‘virtue’.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Gust, Onni
Balzaretti, Ross
Ouditt, Sharon
Keywords: History, literature, travel literature, nineteenth century, eighteenth century, colonial India, Romantic, Italy, art, Rome, classical Rome, gender, women, class, race, Orientalism, Meridionism
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of History
UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 63687
Depositing User: Robinson, David
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2021 11:08
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2021 11:15
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/63687

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