She's Leaving Home: Women's Writing in English in a European Context

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This collection of essays, written by scholars from all over Europe, explores the cultural meanings of women leaving home. Although all the chapters analyse writings in English, the volume aims to put the narrative element of home-leaving into a European context by investigating travel in various directions: from England to somewhere abroad, from the (former) colonies to the (former) imperial centre or simply within a psychic space. The female figures discussed in the volume leave home for various reasons - to go into exile, to challenge orthodox conceptions of femininity, to travel for pleasure or out of curiosity - but ultimately each of them has to face questions of the definitions of home, belonging and otherness. Consequently, the essays in this collection focus on how the cross-cultural encounters implicated in discourses of race, gender, nation and religion affect female identity. The `protagonists' of these narratives range from mythical heroines to early modern Protestant refugees to fictitious and historical figures from the past 200 years. The discussion throughout is informed by contemporary theories of gender, literary and cultural studies.