South-East Europe has inspired a significant amount of British female travel literature, especially during periods of international conflict. Drawing on feminist studies of women's autobiographical writings, this article examines the complex discursive formations present in this understudied body of work. Moving from the Eastern Crisis of the mid-Victorian period to the First and Second World Wars, the article analyses such authors as Georgina Muir Mackenzie, Adeline Paulina Irby, Flora Sandes and Rebecca West. Of specific interest is the manner in which female travel writing can simultaneously challenge and endorse the patriarchal and imperialist assumptions of male counterparts. In this way, the article seeks to contribute to the burgeoning debate about British balkanism, defined here as that intricate, shifting, contradictory pattern of representational practices found in British commentary on South-East Europe.
- Balkans, balkanism, south-east Europe, women's travel writing, representation