This article considers the ways in which eighteenth-century womens travel
narratives function as autobiographical texts, examining the process by which a
travellers dislocation from home can enable exploration of the self through the
observation and description of place. It also, however, highlights the
complexity of the relationship between two forms of writing which a contemporary
readership viewed as in many ways distinctly different. The travel accounts
considered, composed (at least initially) in manuscript form, in many ways
contest the assumption that manuscript travelogues will somehow be more
self-revelatory than printed accounts. Focusing upon the travel writing of Lady
Mary Wortley Montagu, Katherine Plymley, Caroline Lybbe Powys and Dorothy
Richardson, the article argues for a more historically nuanced approach to the
reading of womens travel writing and demonstrates that the narration of travel
does not always equate to a desired or successful narration of the self.
This article offers a survey of the recently discovered scrapbooks collated over a number of decades by the Yorkshirewoman Dorothy Richardson (1748–1819). The large set of thirty-five volumes presents an important collection of press cuttings relating to the history and consequences of the French Revolution, and also contains ‘historical and miscellaneous’ material of a more eclectic nature. I argue that the texts significantly improve our understanding of Dorothy Richardson’s position as a reader, writer and researcher working in the North of England at the turn of the nineteenth century. Furthermore, her set of albums raises important questions about the relationship between commonplacing and scrapbooking practices, and the capacity of such textual curatorship to function as a form of both political engagement and autobiographical expression.