1. bookVolume 13 (2021): Issue 3 (December 2021)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2068-2956
First Published
16 Jul 2014
Publication timeframe
3 times per year
Languages
English, German
access type Open Access

Travel Writing, Literature, and Romance: Polixéna Wesselényi’s Travels in Italy and Switzerland

Published Online: 30 Dec 2021
Page range: 1 - 15
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2068-2956
First Published
16 Jul 2014
Publication timeframe
3 times per year
Languages
English, German
Abstract

Polixéna Wesselényi’s Travels in Italy and Switzerland, the first travel narrative that was written by a woman in Hungary and Transylvania, is a work little known to the wider international public, as it was published in Hungarian in 1842, seven years after her tour. There are few travel narratives written by East-Central European women in the first half of the nineteenth century. This essay attempts to reflect upon Wesselényi’s personal motives, her intellect and literary craftsmanship, as well as the cultural constraints she had to encounter. The romantic nature of the relationship between Wesselényi, a married woman, and the fellow travel writer John Paget, is also mirrored by the text. Travels in Italy and Switzerland not only offers an insight into the relatively favourable situation of Transylvanian women of the aristocracy in the 1830s but also shows that it had the power to inspire the works of celebrated Hungarian novelists after its publication. Although Wesselényi’s style conforms to the picturesque and sentimental travel writing published by European women in the period, it justly demands a place for itself on the list of distinguished nineteenth-century European travel writing by women.

Keywords

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