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Durham e-Theses
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‘Voyages aux pays du passé’:
classical receptions in nineteenth-century French travel narratives to the ‘Orient’

BUDASZ, SARAH,BARBARA (2021) ‘Voyages aux pays du passé’:
classical receptions in nineteenth-century French travel narratives to the ‘Orient’.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 19 October 2024.


This thesis focuses on the reception of classical antiquity in nineteenth-century French travel writing to the ‘Orient’. It demonstrates how these travel narratives sought to establish continuities and discontinuities between the ancient world and the contemporary ‘Orient’. After defining how classical culture shaped travellers’ expectations and perspectives, it investigates the impact of a material experience (travel) on the essentially (inter)textual relationship between French travel writers and classical antiquity.
In the first chapter, I explore travellers’ confrontation with the layers of history between antiquity and the nineteenth century. This chapter shows how conceptions of modernity and decline are complicated by material experience of alterity in the ‘Orient’. The next chapters then focus on two material aspects of the ‘Orient’ as experienced by travellers: archaeological artefacts and natural environments. I contend that these complementary physical loci of classical reception evidence the tension between perceptions of the ancient past as both present and absent in the ‘Orient’. The fourth chapter looks at the racialisation process within classical reception practices. It demonstrates how writers, by endorsing (dis)continuity narratives in their orientalist discourses, constantly question the heredity of modern inhabitants of the ‘Orient’, and thus their claims to classical heritage. Finally, in the last chapter, I examine the way certain authors attempt to bypass the material aspects of antiquity in the Orient in favour of establishing intertextual relationships between the ancient world and modern travel narratives. As I highlight the inherently interpretative nature of classical reception, I draw study how its practice opens up space for literary invention within the presumed factual genre of travel writing.
As it demonstrates the central and complex role of classical culture, both familiar and alien, ever absent and present in nineteenth-century travel, this thesis thus offers new perspectives in the study of orientalist discourses and of French classical receptions.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Orientalism, Travel, nineteenth-century France, Classical Reception
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:19 Oct 2021 15:27

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