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Gamle Norge and Nineteenth-Century British Women Travellers in Norway


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232 Pages


A striking analysis of nineteenth-century British women’s travel writings about Norway.

‘Gamle Norge and Nineteenth-Century British Women Travellers in Norway’ presents an account of the development of tourism in nineteenth-century Norway and considers the ways in which women travellers depicted their travels to the region. Tracing the motivations of various groups of women travellers, such as sportswomen, tourists and aristocrats, this book argues that in their writing, Norway forms a counterpoint to Victorian Britain: a place of freedom and possibility.

Acknowledgements; Introduction: Gamle Norge; 1. Pioneers and Adventuresses; 2. Aristocrats and Socialites; 3. Tourists; 4. Sportswomen; 5. Norway in Fiction; Conclusions: ‘A Trunk of My Grandmother’s Clothes’; Notes; Bibliography; Index



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Published 01 December 2014
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EAN13 9781783083671
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Gamle Norge and Nineteenth-Century British Women Travellers in Norway
Anthem Studies in Travel
Anthem Studies in Travelpublishes new and pioneering work in the burgeoning field of travel studies. Titles in this series engage with questions of travel, travel writing, literature and history, and encompass some of the most exciting current scholarship in a variety of disciplines. Proposals for monographs and collections of essays may focus on research representing a broad range of geographical zones and historical contexts. All critical approaches are welcome, although a key feature of books published in the series will be their potential interest to a wide readership, as well as their originality and potential to break new ground in research.
Series Editor Charles Forsdick – University of Liverpool, UK
Editorial Board Mary Baine Campbell – Brandeis University, USA Steve Clark – University of Tokyo, Japan Claire Lindsay – University College London, UK Loredana Polezzi – University of Warwick, UK Paul Smethurst – University of Hong Kong, China
Gamle Norge and Nineteenth-Century British Women Travellers in Norway
Kathryn Walchester
Anthem Press An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company www.anthempress.com
This edition first published in UK and USA 2014 by ANTHEM PRESS 75–76 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HA, UK or PO Box 9779, London SW19 7ZG, UK and 244 Madison Ave #116, New York, NY 10016, USA
Copyright © 2014 Kathryn Walchester
The author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
British Library CataloguinginPublication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Library of Congress CataloginginPublication Data Walchester, Kathryn.  Gamle Norge and nineteenth-century British women travellers in Norway / Kathryn Walchester.  pages cm. – (Anthem studies in travel)  Includes bibliographical references and index.  ISBN 978-1-78308-365-7 (hardcover : alk. paper) – ISBN 1-78308-365-4  1. Women travelers–Norway–History–19th century. 2. Women travelers–Great Britain–History–19th century. 3. Travel writing–Norway–History–19th century. 4. Travel writing–Great Britain–History–19th century. 5. British–Norway–History–19th century. 6. Tourism–Social aspects–Norway–History–19th century. I. Title.  DL417.W35 2014  914.8104’3092520941–dc23 2014041944
ISBN-13: 978 1 78308 365 7 (Hbk) ISBN-10: 1 78308 365 4 (Hbk)
Cover image:Moldoenby Nico Jungman, from the bookNorwayby Nico and Beatrix Jungman (London: A and C Black, 1905). From the personal collection of the author.
This title is also available as an ebook.
Introduction: Gamle Norge
Chapter 1: Pioneers and Adventuresses
Chapter 2: Aristocrats and Socialites
Chapter 3: Tourists
Chapter 4: Sportswomen
Chapter 5: Norway in Fiction Conclusions: ‘A Trunk of My Grandmother’s Clothes’ Notes Bibliography Index
vii 1 17 47 83 111 141 171 189 209 217
I am grateful for the advice and encouragement of my colleagues and friends in the English and Cultural History Programme at Liverpool John Moores University during the writing of this book, in particular Bella Adams, Jo Croft, Elspeth Graham, Alice Ferrebe, Joe Moran, Glenda Norquay, Joanna Price and Gerry Smith. Colleagues from the Liverpool Travel Seminar, Charles Forsdick from the University of Liverpool and Zoë Kinsley from Liverpool Hope University, have been especially generous with their time, expertise and encouragement. In the field of travel writing studies, Clare Broome-Saunders, Betty Hagglund, Carl Thompson and Tim Youngs have, at various stages, offered invaluable suggestions. From further afield, Anka Ryall and Peter Fjågesund have also made important contributions to this project. Parts of the research for this project were undertaken at the British Library in the Rare Books Reading Room and at St. Deiniol’s Library, Hawarden and I am grateful for the patience, expertise and enthusiasm of staff in both institutions. The editorial team at Anthem have been a delight to work with and I have appreciated their professionalism and sensitivity throughout the publication process. Finally, love and thanks to family and friends for their continuous support, direct and indirect, especially to my parents and to Phil and George.
‘I ask you to come to the Northern Land, toGamle Norge(Old Norway)’, appeals Reverend Thomas B. Willson to the readers of theGirl’s Own Paper1 in his 1887 article ‘Some Norwegian Characteristics’. In this piece and another titled ‘The Art of Travelling’ published the previous year, Willson emphasises the charm of Norway for young female travellers. He outlines what he sees are Norway’s attractions for female tourists: the people and their folk culture, the scenery, the aurora borealis, the midnight sun and the country’s honesty and authenticity. What is perhaps most interesting about Willson’s article is that he makes very little of its Viking heritage, which in late nineteenth-century Britain was the dominant mode of understanding Norway. At the beginning of his bookThe Vikings and the Victorians: Inventing the Old North in NineteenthCentury Britain, Andrew Wawn draws attention to the ubiquity of Viking references by the time of Willson’s article in 1887. Wawn notes that ‘the word “Viking” was to be found on dozens of title-pages [...]. After a slow start the floodgates opened during the last two decades 2 [of the nineteenth century]’. Yet, in theGirl’s Own PaperWillson mentions the Vikings only once in his article and this is to deny their relevance. He writes:
It is true that they have changed more or less since the days of their forefathers. There is not now, perhaps, the same spirit of unrest and desire for adventure which marked the Norsemen of the eighth and ninth centuries, whose fierceness sent up in the churches of Northern France the piteous prayer:A furore Normannorum 3 libera nos, Domine. Those wild days have come to an end.
Willson seems at pains to establish the difference between the former inhabitants of the region and those who the female tourist would be likely to encounter in the 1880s. He instead emphasises an alternative version of Norway, that of ‘Gamle Norge’ or ‘Old Norway’. Whilst other imagined constructions of the region are evident in texts by men and women, that of ‘Old Norway’ pervades women’s writing. This version of the nation as ‘Gamle Norge’ had,
I suggest, particular resonance for women writers and was reworked in their travel writing and fiction about Norway throughout the nineteenth century. In recent years the proliferation of academic interest in travel to the far north of Europe, demonstrated in collections such asArctic DiscoursesandWhite Horizon: The Arctic in the NineteenthCentury British Imagination,has drawn attention 4 to the representation of what had been a blank space in literary criticism. Despite these discussions, which are largely centred on writings about the Arctic, and other studies which have focussed more generally on images of ice, cold and northerliness, scholarly consideration of travel writing about Scandinavia 5 from the nineteenth century is still in its early stages. In the last two decades several texts have considered accounts of Norway and Scandinavia in works by British authors and approach them from a largely historical perspective. They include Andrew Wawn’sThe Vikings and the Victorians;AngloScandinavian CrossCurrents, edited by Inga-Stina Ewbank, Olav Lausund and Bjørn Tysdahl; and H. Arnold Barton’sNorthern Arcadia: Foreign Travelers in Scandinavia, 6 1765–1815. Others, such as Pia Sillanpää’sThe Scandinavian Sporting Tour:A Case Study in Geographical Imagology, and the comprehensiveThe Northern Utopia: British Perceptions of Norway in the Nineteenth Centuryby Peter Fjågesund and Ruth Symes, have considered representations of Scandinavian countries 7 from the perspective of image studies. More recently there has been a move by a number of scholars to consider the relationship between representations 8 of landscape, travel and gender. In the context of this recent interest in travel to and representations of Norway,‘Gamle Norge’: NineteenthCentury British Women Travellers and Norwayis concerned with the engagement with and representation of Norway by British women writers during the nineteenth century and traces the development and wider cultural significance of certain imaginative constructions of Norway. In particular the book focusses on the formulation of ‘Gamle Norge’ and considers the ways in which this version of Norway is constructed and deployed by travellers and writers with a range of motivations and experiences. Whilst there is overlap in the images and ideas about Norway found in the writings of men and women, I suggest that women writers assimilated and deployed certain understandings of the region which drew specifically on their own lives and experiences. A fundamental premise of this book is that gender has an impact on ideas and understandings of nation. I suggest that women writers in the nineteenth century created and engaged with a number of imaginative versions of the region, some of which spoke to their feelings of dissatisfaction about their status in Britain. Since the work of Benedict Anderson inImagined Communities, it has been widely recognised that ideas of nationhood and nationalism are constructed through cultural practice, in which literature occupies a