Romance in ruins : ethnography and the problem of modern Greeks

Mahn, Churnjeet Kaur (2009) Romance in ruins : ethnography and the problem of modern Greeks. Victorian Studies, 52 (1). pp. 9-19. ISSN 0042-5222 (

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As an increasing number of British women traveled to Greece in the nineteenth century to witness the sites of antiquity, a small group of women turned their gaze to the local population, beginning lifelong studies of what it meant to be Greek. Using classical statues as benchmarks, Fanny Blunt and Lucy Garnett produced ethnographical accounts of Greek women that demonstrated their failure to live up to classical ideals at a physical, as well as intellectual, level. With archaeological metaphors pervading their work, Blunt and Garnett rehearsed a very different kind of archaeological impulse, identifying survivals of classical types in the skeletal structure of contemporary Greek women while maintaining that their flesh belonged to the Orient.


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