Travels through text and image: Estella Canziani’s ‘Costumes, traditions and songs of Savoy’ (1911)

Carroll, Hannah Elizabeth (2013). Travels through text and image: Estella Canziani’s ‘Costumes, traditions and songs of Savoy’ (1911). University of Birmingham. M.Phil.

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This thesis examines Estella Canziani’s illustrated travelogue, ‘Costumes, Traditions and Songs of Savoy’ (1911). It establishes that the principal audience for this publication was female amateur ‘scholars’ who, unlike professional academics, were undeterred by its unsystematic and artistic format. It is argued that the book’s illustrative content and text-image interactions encouraged these reader-viewers to embark upon imaginative ‘anti-touristic’ travel. ‘Songs of Savoy’ is considered in the light of Canziani’s supposed ‘anthropological eye’, concluding that this term is applicable. An additional hypothesis is proposed that Canziani’s illustrations construct an ‘ethnographic gaze’ through characteristics traditionally assigned to a ‘female gaze’. The ‘anthropological eye’ and ‘ethnographic gaze’ present different modes of experience for reader-viewers, but are equally colonial in form. It is contended that Canziani’s vision of Savoy is based upon conventional rural place-myths, but is modified within the context of specific Savoisien traditions and Canziani’s own religious, social and gendered understandings. In Songs of Savoy, modernity assumes the status of place-myth, which is registered by some reader-viewers more than others. Overall, it is proposed that ‘Songs of Savoy’ opened up opportunities for women to ‘travel’ and study within gender-appropriate boundaries.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DC France
N Fine Arts > NE Print media


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