This article examines how American girls and young women in the early republic formed a new sense of a “corporeal” national identity while touring areas of the Hudson River valley and the Great Lakes. Based on a reading of the travel writings of fifteen white, middle and upper-middle class, American girls and young women travelling between 1802 and 1835, it demonstrates first that during the tours within the United States the girls underwent a multisensory familiarisation with the landscape, which both bolstered their confidence and concretised much of their theoretical knowledge gained during their studies. Second, when touring the Canadian shores of the Great Lakes their focus was on constructing both its landscape and its people as “other”. The article closes with a consideration of how these young women’s travel writings may offer a new perspective for the study of a gendered national identity formation in the early United States.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation [grant number 864/19].
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- American girls
- Hudson River
- National identity
- early republic
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory