Self-location, self and location : migrant literature by women writers in Victorian New Zealand / by Stefanie Rudig
VerfasserRudig, Stefanie
Betreuer / BetreuerinnenRamsey-Kurz, Helga
Umfang266 Bl.
HochschulschriftInnsbruck, Univ., Diss., 2014
Datum der AbgabeSeptember 2014
Schlagwörter (DE)Migration / Victorian Literature / New Zealand / Women / Identity
Schlagwörter (GND)Kolonie Neuseeland / Frauenliteratur / Geschichte 1886-1904
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Zusammenfassung (Deutsch)

Settler migrants in the Victorian age, as key agents within the project of colonial expansion, inscribed their presence on the colonised land not only through settlement, but also through their different cultural productions. Early writing in New Zealand, or ‘the Britain of the South, meant staking a claim and putting a mark on a place that at once was and was not very much like ‘home. This thesis is interested in the ways nineteenth-century women migrants construct Victorian New Zealand in their creative writings. It studies the dynamics of place and identity by examining the characterisation of the colonial landscape, how selves are written into that landscape and rooted through writing. In seeking to bring to the fore neglected female novelists, it explores female interpretations of migration, displacement, and settlement. These have been marginalised by a tradition of masculinist nationalist literary criticism in New Zealand, which excluded womens views and concerns as well as the domestic perspective on colonial life. This study intends to redress the bias in New Zealand literary history towards male experiences and focuses on Victorian womens literature to provide a fuller understanding of early Pākehā culture. How do the women who migrated to the Antipodean ‘Greater Britain during the Victorian period locate their characters and narrators vis-à-vis the natural and social spaces of the colony? What is the self-perception of these characters and how are they being embedded by their authors in the landscape and plotted with reference to New Zealand? Strategies of (self-)positioning will be analysed in order to investigate the performance of cultural identities on the so-called 'periphery of empire'. The different genres adopted by the migrant writers will further be read as indicative of different stages in the development of Victorian New Zealand literature. In a close reading of selected texts of narrative fiction, the present thesis thus aims at shedding further light on colonial New Zealand (womens) literature and its importance to the culture of the growing nation.

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