Travelling Texts 1790-1914: The Transnational Reception of Women’s Writing at the Fringes of Europe
This project studies the role of women in nineteenth-century literary culture by exploring what texts written by women were read where and by whom. To avoid a projection of today’s literary preferences onto the past, the project is based on the systematic scrutiny of contemporaneous sources, such as library and bookseller catalogues and the periodical press.
The data gained through this process allowed the project to map, with the help of a virtual research environment, the transnational circulation of women’s writings throughout Europe. This mapping exercise opens a quantitative dimension that makes it possible to:
- identify broader patterns that shape the circulation of women’s writing
- determine which texts or authors occupied particularly significant positions
- analyse up to which point cases can be representative for wider phenomena
The main objective of this approach is to work towards an analysis of women’s participation in nineteenth-century European literary culture that goes beyond the accumulation of individual case studies, and therefore beyond a merely anecdotal understanding of the issues at stake.
This project set out to establish:
- to what extent and how women writers and their texts were received in the countries studied
- which roles women played in cultural exchanges
- what networks were created through reading and writing
- how the intersection of factors such as gender, nationality, class, religion or race influenced the outcomes of these cultural encounters
The project explored transnational exchanges from the perspective of five countries – none of which belongs to those parts of Europe that were the most important cultural hubs of the time:
- the Netherlands
By putting these fringes of Europe centre stage, the project also questions received knowledge about the relations between centres and peripheries and thus contributes to the development of new, transnational models of writing the history of European literary culture.
The use of shared digital research tools is central to this project. The project research results have been shared and discussed through:
- a conference
- peer-reviewed articles
- book publications
- workshops and seminars organised with the associated partners
- sessions at international literary festivals in Norway and Slovenia
- a travelling exhibition in the Netherlands
For further details, please visit the project website.