Following in the Footsteps of Isabella Bird? Alma Karlin and Her Representations of Japan

Asian Studies

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Field Value
 
Title Following in the Footsteps of Isabella Bird? Alma Karlin and Her Representations of Japan
Po stopinjah Isabelle Bird? Alma Karlin in njene podobe Japonske
 
Creator Senica, Klemen
 
Subject Alma Karlin
Japan
travel writing
Isabella Bird
representations
Orientalism
Alma Karlin
Japonska
potopisi
Isabella Bird
reprezentacije
orientalizem
 
Description Alma Karlin (1889–1950), a round-the-world traveller, intellectual, and writer from Celje, Slovenia, arrived in Japan and lived in Tokyo in the early 1920s, an era which historians consider to be an interim period between the initial expansion of the Japanese Empire to mainland Asia and its end in 1945. The writer’s fascination with the land can be inferred, among other things, from a 35-page description of Japan and the Japanese in her most famous book, Einsame Weltreise. Die Tragödie einer Frau (The Odyssey of a Lonely Woman), and passages in Reiseskizzen (Travel Sketches), an earlier work. The article aims to place these travel accounts in the historical and ideological contexts of their time while highlighting some similarities and differences between the representations of the land and its people by Karlin and those by Isabella Bird (1831–1904). Although Karlin makes no explicit reference to the famous British traveller in her writing on Japan, the article demonstrates that she must have known about Bird’s book Unbeaten Tracks in Japan. It is, above all, her decision to introduce her (German) readers to topoi that were typical of Victorian women’s travel writing which suggests that Karlin partly based her image of Japan, if not even the itinerary of her journey there, on Bird’s bestselling work. Nevertheless, Karlin does not seem to have conformed to the then dominant orientalist discourses on Japan, her representations generally showing none of the Western arrogance that was so typical of her fellow travellers of both sexes.
Celjska svetovna popotnica, intelektualka in pisateljica Alma Karlin (1889–1950) je japonsko otočje obiskala in v Tokiu prebivala v zgodnjih dvajsetih letih 20. stoletja, ki v zgodovinopisju veljajo za vmesno obdobje med začetkom širjenja japonskega imperija na azijsko celino in njegovim neslavnim koncem leta 1945. Pisateljičino fascinacijo nad deželo je mogoče razbrati tudi iz približno 35 strani dolgega opisa Japonske in Japoncev v njenem najbolj znanem delu Einsame Weltreise. Die Tragödie einer Frau (Samotno potovanje v daljne dežele: tragedija ženske) ter iz odlomkov iz predhodno objavljenih podlistkov z naslovom Reiseskizzen (Popotne skice). Avtor te opise postavi v zgodovinski in ideološki kontekst časa njihovega nastanka, hkrati pa opozori na nekaj vzporednic in nasprotij med reprezentacijami dežele ter njenih prebivalcev izpod peresa Alme Karlin in tistimi slovite britanske popotnice Isabelle Bird (1831–1904). Čeprav v japonskem delu svojega potopisa tega eksplicitno ne omenja, prispevek dokazuje, da je Alma Karlin nedvomno poznala knjižno uspešnico Isabelle Bird Unbeaten Tracks in Japan. Posledično lahko upravičeno sklepamo, da si je svoje podobe Japonske, mogoče celo itinerarij, ustvarila tudi na podlagi tega dela, kar je po avtorjevem mnenju najbolj razvidno iz izbire (klasičnih) tem ženskih potopisov iz viktorijanskega obdobja, ki jih je želela približati svojemu (nemškemu) bralstvu. Kljub temu se zdi, da se Alma Karlin ni podredila tedanjim orientalističnim diskurzom o Japonski, saj v njenih reprezentacijah praviloma ni mogoče zaznati tipične zahodnjaške oholosti, tako značilne za njene popotniške pendante obeh spolov.
 
Publisher Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakulte / Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts
 
Date 2021-09-10
 
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion
 
Format application/pdf
 
Identifier https://revije.ff.uni-lj.si/as/article/view/9662
10.4312/as.2021.9.3.225-257
 
Source Asian Studies; Vol. 9 No. 3 (2021): Special Issue: East Asia in Slovenia: Collecting Practices, Categorization and Representation; 225-257
Azijske študije; Letn. 9 Št. 3 (2021): Special Issue: East Asia in Slovenia: Collecting Practices, Categorization and Representation; 225-257
2350-4226
2232-5131
10.4312/as.2021.9.3
 
Language eng
 
Relation https://revije.ff.uni-lj.si/as/article/view/9662/9700
 
Rights Copyright (c) 2021 Klemen SENICA
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0
 

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