Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Media, Art, and Text

First Advisor

Catherine Ingrassia


This dissertation examines intersections of the development of maps from the Native American-European encounter to the establishment of the New Republic and transatlantic British and American narratives of women’s travel of the long eighteenth century. Early European and American maps that depict the Americas analyzed as parallel “texts” to canonical and lesser-known women’s narratives ranging from 1688 to 1801 reveal further insights into both maps and these narratives otherwise not apparent. I argue that as mapping of the New World developed, this mapping influenced representations of women’s geographic and social mobility and emergent “American” identity in transatlantic narratives. These narratives, like maps of the New World, reveal disjunctures in representation that disseminate deceptive portrayals of the New World. Such discrepancies open a rhetorical gap, or a thirdspace, of inquiry to analyze the gaze at work within these cartographic and women’s narratives. The representations of women’s geographic and social mobility remain constricted within the selected narratives of women’s travel. While the heroines do travel, in most cases they travel as captives or in some form of escape. These narratives include Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko (1688), Unca Eliza Winkfield’s The Female American (1767), Susanna Rowson’s Charlotte Temple (1794), and Tabitha Tenney’s Female Quixotism (1801), among others. However, these narratives do highlight similarities of an emergent “American” identity as Native American, hybrid, and fluid as represented in contemporaneous maps. Literary Landscapes also addresses the narrativity of maps as auto/biographical and even satirical expressions as related to the women’s narratives analyzed in this study. For, J. B. Harley discusses how a map conveys his own life and contains his memories in his essay “The Map as Biography,” while Roland Barthes argues that mapping is a sensorial experience in his brief essay “No Address.” Furthermore, allegorical maps like Jean de Gourmont’s The Fool’s Cap Map of the World (ca. 1590) and Madeleine de Scudéry’s Carte de tendre (1678) reflect aspects of the human condition such as folly and friendship.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2014

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