Hi, I'm looking for some good recommendations...


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Hi, I'm looking for some good recommendations...

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Edited: Dec 30, 2006, 5:08am

...and this seems exactly the right group to ask (I hope)...

I'm looking for books on Victorian exploration and adventure, and specifically about women who've lived that kind of life... I'm not sure what sort of thing is out there, hence my asking here. So, if you can help me I'd appreciate it.

As I say, I'd like to hear recommendations of any good books about women in the field of exploration, sciences, adventure, and that sort of thing...

thank you :-)

Edited: Dec 30, 2006, 12:21pm

Well, there's Mary Kingsley's Travels in West Africa. That comes to mind right away.

I bought an interesting book recently called Love Among the Butterflies: The Travels and Adventures of a Victorian Lady by Margaret Fountaine. Fountaine traveled in India, Turkey, Africa, and other places, in her search for butterflies. This book is also nicely illustrated.

And I have a book called Hen Frigates: Wives of Merchant Captains Under Sail, by Joan Druett. Though it looks as though the women in this book were not primarily explorers, these women traveled during the 19th century and led adventurous lives. Maybe this book would be of interest to you also.

Dec 30, 2006, 2:37pm

Thank you MaggieO, I've made a note of these three, they all appear to be exactly what I'm looking for. As I'd hoped, there are quite a few women from the Victorian era that led adventurous lives, despite the incredibly male-centric attitudes of the time.

Jan 1, 2007, 4:08am

Ooooh, that's perfect! Thank you Sqdancer - both you and MaggieO have been very helpful.

Jan 1, 2007, 4:56pm

Oh no, I can't believe that I forgot the book I received as a Christmas gift! Lady Franklin's Revenge: a True Story of Ambition, Obsession and the Remaking of Arctic History by Ken McGoogan

"... Arguably the greatest woman traveller of the 19th century, Lady Franklin rode a donkey into Nazareth, sailed a rat-infested boat up the Nile, climbed mountains in Europe, Africa and the Holy Land, and beat her way through the Tasmanian bush - all at a time when few Victorian women ventured beyond the security of the home." (from the back cover blurb)

Jan 2, 2007, 3:12am

Thanks again Sqdancer! My amazon list is growing by the day :-)

Jan 7, 2007, 10:33pm

You might look into Isabella Bird if you're looking for a Victorian lady traveler who made most soldiers look like wimps!

Jan 7, 2007, 10:50pm

Look at Domestic manners of the Americans, if you don't mind seeing our ancestors described in this manner.

May 21, 2009, 12:38pm

I have one in my library about a woman who tried to cycle around the world, Around the World on Two Wheels by Peter Zheutlin.

May 21, 2009, 12:55pm

If you go to Amazon, just look for "Virago Travellers", you will find a good number of very interesting books on the subject you mention.
You can also look in my library, under the 'travel' tag, since most of my travel books are/were written by women, and many are from that specific period (including many aforementioned Virago Travellers).

Jun 2, 2009, 3:00pm

Maybe not quite what you're looking for, but Daughters of Britannia was a quite interesting read - the female side of diplomatic life, all those wives going with their husbands on their postings. Not confined to only Victorian times, but it might be interesting nonetheless!