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Amplifying women's intelligence through travel: Inna's tale in "The Booroom Slave" (1828) by Sarah Bowdich

Amplifying women's intelligence through travel: Inna's tale in "The Booroom Slave" (1828) by Sarah Bowdich
Amplifying women's intelligence through travel: Inna's tale in "The Booroom Slave" (1828) by Sarah Bowdich
Sarah Bowdich’s story 'The Booroom Slave' has elicited little critical attention except in recent studies mainly
investigating the black and white lithograph that accompanied its first publication in the 'Forget Me Not' Gift Book in 1828. This article, however, focuses specifically on the text as an important tale of travel enhanced by its various strategic retellings. In 'The Booroom Slave', Inna first recounts her traumatic capture, journey to coastal slave markets, and escape through a male African interpreter when she meets the tale's (English) narrator, who then retranslates Inna’s journey and its consequences for her literate readers. But this double telling of travel within the story is also matched by the two-fold iterations of the whole. It was similarly recast by male interpreters when reprinted in America in 1829 in 'The African Repository and Colonial Journal'. Sarah Bowdich then reshaped it in 1835 for her 'Stories from Strange Lands' by adding extensive footnotes elucidating its West African references from her own travel experience of 1816. By exploring these parallel, doubly reframed, female travel narrations, this article argues that 'The Booroom Slave' offers a critique of the limitations of the British/European civilising mission that was unusually far-seeing not only for the early nineteenth century, but also for the tale's postcolonial afterlives.
sarah bowdich, 'the booroom slave’, gift books, abolition of slavery, literatures of scientific travel, epistemologies of ignorance
0015-8518
1-18
Orr, Mary
3eec40eb-479c-4c9a-b2da-7388a27f9d5c
Orr, Mary
3eec40eb-479c-4c9a-b2da-7388a27f9d5c

Orr, Mary (2015) Amplifying women's intelligence through travel: Inna's tale in "The Booroom Slave" (1828) by Sarah Bowdich. Forum for Modern Language Studies, 1-18. (doi:10.1093/fmls/cqv029).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Sarah Bowdich’s story 'The Booroom Slave' has elicited little critical attention except in recent studies mainly
investigating the black and white lithograph that accompanied its first publication in the 'Forget Me Not' Gift Book in 1828. This article, however, focuses specifically on the text as an important tale of travel enhanced by its various strategic retellings. In 'The Booroom Slave', Inna first recounts her traumatic capture, journey to coastal slave markets, and escape through a male African interpreter when she meets the tale's (English) narrator, who then retranslates Inna’s journey and its consequences for her literate readers. But this double telling of travel within the story is also matched by the two-fold iterations of the whole. It was similarly recast by male interpreters when reprinted in America in 1829 in 'The African Repository and Colonial Journal'. Sarah Bowdich then reshaped it in 1835 for her 'Stories from Strange Lands' by adding extensive footnotes elucidating its West African references from her own travel experience of 1816. By exploring these parallel, doubly reframed, female travel narrations, this article argues that 'The Booroom Slave' offers a critique of the limitations of the British/European civilising mission that was unusually far-seeing not only for the early nineteenth century, but also for the tale's postcolonial afterlives.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 12 June 2015
Published date: 12 June 2015
Keywords: sarah bowdich, 'the booroom slave’, gift books, abolition of slavery, literatures of scientific travel, epistemologies of ignorance
Organisations: Modern Languages

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 378020
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/378020
ISSN: 0015-8518
PURE UUID: d95f0096-7817-4b68-a5ec-028e380ba317

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Date deposited: 15 Jun 2015 15:21
Last modified: 02 Dec 2019 20:35

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Author: Mary Orr

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