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Round the World without a Man: Feminism and Decadence in Sara Jeannette Duncan's 'A Social Departure'

Hammill, Faye (2004) Round the World without a Man: Feminism and Decadence in Sara Jeannette Duncan's 'A Social Departure'. Yearbook of English Studies, 34, Ninet. pp. 112-126. ISSN 0306-2473

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Abstract

In 1888 the Canadian writer Sara Jeanette Duncan travelled around the world with only another single woman as a companion: an extremely unconventional proceeding. Her fictionalized account of her travels, "A Social Departure: How Orthodocia and I Went Round the World by Ourselves" (1890) is comic but also deliberately provocative. The book does not fit neatly into any of the available categories for discussion of "fin de siècle" texts, but can be usefully analysed in relation to two literary contexts: first, New Woman fiction and nineteenth century 'feminism'; and second, the literature of aestheticism and decadence.