British Travel Writing about the Americas, 1820-1840: Different and Differentiating Views

Frank Lauterbach
2001 CLCWeb  
Volume 3 (2001) Issue 2 Article 3 B Br rit iti ish T sh Tr ra avel W vel Wr rit itin ing a g ab bout the A out the Ame mer ric ica as, 1820-1840: D s, 1820-1840: Di iffe ffer re en nt a t and D nd Di iffe ffer re en nt ti ia at tin ing V g View iews s F Fr ra ank L nk La aut ute erb rba ach ch University of Göttingen Follow this and additional works at: Part of the Comparative Literature Commons, and the Critical and Cultural Studies Commons Dedicated to the
more » ... ssemination of scholarly and professional information, Purdue University Press selects, develops, and distributes quality resources in several key subject areas for which its parent university is famous, including business, technology, health, veterinary medicine, and other selected disciplines in the humanities and sciences. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, the peer-reviewed, full-text, and open-access learned journal in the humanities and social sciences, publishes new scholarship following tenets of the discipline of comparative literature and the field of cultural studies designated as "comparative cultural studies.Abstract: In his article, "British Travel Writing about the Americas, 1820-1840: Different and Differentiating Views," Frank Lauterbach analyzes representations of the United States and South America in British travel writing of the post-Monroe years. His analysis rests on examples from two travelogues by Basil Hall, written in 1824 and 1829, respectively. Lauterbach discusses three related points: 1) Intent on overcoming the colonial affiliation with Anglo-American culture, British travelers try to establish a clear (romance of) difference between themselves and the United States, they employ a post-colonial rhetoric that stresses the strangeness rather than likeness of America; 2) Ironically, US-American responses to Basil Hall's work refute such claims of difference and, in turn, re-assert British hegemony through a colonial rhetoric designed to leave sameness between both countries virtually transparent; and 3) In contrast to their differentiating view of the United States, British writers approach South America with a different objective: Here a colonial rhetoric both enhances their self-identification and parallels neo-colonial interests by making the Other recognizable and easily penetrable despite its (thus neglected) differences. Lauterbach proposes to view colonial and post-colonial representations or narrations of alterity as a potentially neutral duality in discourse since both rhetorics can equally well emerge in writings from the (former) imperial metropolis and ex-colonial periphery.
doi:10.7771/1481-4374.1119 fatcat:fvbqvg5brnhfrawhayx7vmzasu