Travelers in Skirts: Gender, Literature, and Travel in the Lives and Writings of Nísia Floresta and Adèle Toussaint-Samson (Nineteenth-century Atlantic World)
De Souza Maia, Maia, Ludmila
Chalhoub, Sidney; Metcalf, Alida C
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation investigates the relationships between gender and writing in the personal and intellectual trajectories of the Brazilian woman writer Nísia Floresta (Papary, 1810 - Rouen, 1885) and the French woman writer Adèle Toussaint-Samson (Paris, 1820-1911), in nineteenth-century Brazil and Europe. The core question of this research is how being a woman influenced their experiences as women writers and as female travellers. This work proposes a dialogue between these two writers who lived their long lives through the nineteenth century, shared similar spaces, performed Atlantic journeys, and thought through their writings about what they called the “feminine condition”. The dissertation is divided in three parts according to the chronological order of the authors’ lives and publications. In the first part, I discuss the relationship between domesticity and writing in the beginning of their production of texts and their awakening as authors. In the second part, I deal with the influence of travel both on their lives and in their writings. In the third and last part, I discuss the later years of the writers, analyzing the ways they adressed the subject of aging, the self memories they would leave for posterity, as well as their proximity to death. Throughout their lives, both of them had to negotiate their “female condition” with their performance as writers. This work is also a contribution to the History of Feminism, for through the empirical analysis of the lives of these two women, it adds one more chapter.
Adèle Toussaint-Samson; Nísia Floresta; Women Writers; Gender; Nineteenth Century.