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 Publications

 Volume 17/1, includes forum "Narrative Selves"
 January 2019

 Volume 16/2, includes forum on Monika Fludernik's Towards a 'Natural' Narratology
 June 2018

 Volume 16/1 includes forum "Modernity and Mobility: Victorian Women Traveling"
 January 2018

 Volume 15/2
 June 2017

 Volume 15/1: includes forum "Audionarratology"
 January 2017

 Volume 14/2: includes forum "Modern Jewish Spaces"
 June 2016

 Volume 14/1: includes forum "Saul Bellow as a Novelist of Ideas"
 January 2016

 Volume 13/2: includes forum "Comics and the Canon"
 June 2015

 Volume 13/1: includes forum "TheGhetto as a Victorian Text"
 January 2015

 Volume 12/2: includes forum "The Novel and Theories of Love"
 June 2014

 Volume 12/1
 January 2014

 Volume 11/2: includes forum "Translating Philip Roth"
 June 2013

 Volume 11/1
 January 2013

 Volume 10/2: includes forum "Bildung and the State"
 June 2012

 Volume 10/1: includes forum "Fernando Pessoa and the Issue of Heteronymy
 January 2012

 Volume 9/2: Dickens: Uneasy Pleasures
 June 2011

 Volume 9/1
 January 2011

 Volume 8/2: British Women Writers
 June 2010

 Volume 8/1 includes forum "The Ethics of Temporality"
 January 2010

 Volume 7/2: Eyewitness Narratives
 June 2009

 Volume 7/1
 January 2009

 Volume 6/2: Narrative Knowing, Living, Telling
 June 2008

 Volume 6/1
 January 2008

 Volume 5/2
 June 2007

 Volume 5/1
 January 2007

 Volume 4/2: Narrative as a Way of Thinking
 June 2006

 Volume 4/1
 January 2006

 Volume 3/2
 June 2005

 Volume 3/1
 January 2005

 Volume 2/2
 June 2004

 Volume 2/1
 January 2004

 Volume 1/2
 June 2003

 Volume 1/1
 January 2003

 Quick Article Search

   Newest Articles

 Railway Crossings
 Kathryn W. Powell

 Written in the Stars? Women Travellers and Forgers of Destinies in Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries
 Barbara Franchi

 Sea Travel and Femininity in Gail Jones’ Sixty Lights
 Daný van Dam

 Then and Now
 Murray Baumgarten

 Modernity and Mobility
 Murray Baumgarten and Barbara Franchi

 Samuel Beckett’s Invention of Nothing
 Jacob Hovind

 The Jewish Petenera
 Einat Davidi

 The Sound of Translation
 Alexander Ullman

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Updated Up To 23/01/2018
Volume 16, issue 2 (January 2018) : 125-143
Written in the Stars? Women Travellers and Forgers of Destinies in Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries

Barbara Franchi
Rubric A: Then and Now
Rubric B: Women Writers

Abstract

 

How do women travelling the colonial frontier create a feminine, and potentially less hierarchical type of modernity? And how does Neo-Victorian fiction explore gendered and racialized types of modernity through the use of travel? Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries (2013) represesnts the quest for a postcolonial and feminine modernity through the trope of the woman traveler, worker, storyteller and entrepreneur. In particular, protagonists Anna Whetherell and Lydia Wells oppose the highly racist and sexist societies of gold rush frontier towns of the 1860s New Zealand through solitary travel on foot, by sea and across textual layers. This paper argues that such independent solitary women travelers stand for a new representation of white women in colonial contexts and challenge traditional categories of Victorian femininity, such as the dichotomous opposition between the Angel in the House and the fallen woman. By shifting across white femininity and queer Chinese identities (in Anna’s case), and by embracing a masculine, capitalist model (for Lydia), Catton’s heroines survive, on their own, as members of a minority in the communities of white, male miners. The two women thus embody new types of femininity and, while placing themselves outside the colonial hierarchy, they question the social structure, the exploitation of the Other (the woman, the Chinese) and set an example for a more viable and more equal society born out of colonial settlement. Finally, while shaping modernity through their female gaze and a free way of travelling the peripheries, the two women also accomplish their own Bildung process and, forgers of their own fortunes, symbolize the shift from masculine, imperial modernity to a feminine, neo-Victorian, postcolonial paradigm.


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