"What She Carries with Her": Investigating women's interwar travel narratives


December 2023

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In Cruises and Caravans (1942), Ella Malliart notes that “The intense curiosity so many of us feel, springs out of our deepest need: we have to understand, we are not meant to remain forever ignorant” (Robinson 459-460). This dissertation investigates women’s travel narratives from the Interwar Period in order to understand the intersections of writing, photography, travel, and identity. In this study, I analyze the travel photography and writing of “Aloha” Wanderwell, Ella Maillart, and Ruth Gruber through the lenses of cultural rhetorics, visual rhetorics, feminist geography, and narratology. I also use arts-based critical inquiry to create my own travel narratives and photography to put in conversation with the works from these Interwar women–calling into question our rhetorical choices surrounding gender, privilege, power, class, and authenticity.Investigating women’s travel narratives in this way will give means for the public to delve deeper into the cultural and social restrictions made not only on women’s experience but also on memoir as a viable means of scholarly inquiry. These works, along with a firm grasp of space and place, can be used to reconstruct how we look at travel, women’s voices, and identity on a global scale.



Women's Interwar Travel Narratives, Rhetoric