chapter  5
22 Pages

Strong-Minded Political Journalism

The nineteenth-century woman traveller could rewrite the domestic ideal by claiming, for example, that a woman's domesticity actually made her a better travel writer. Inderpal Grewal develops the idea of gendered roles being redefined through travel by claiming that in the nineteenth century narratives of exploration, science, discovery, and anthropology recoded gender formations in new forms of authority. Martineau ironically creates credibility for herself as a cultural mediator by confessing her potential to misunderstand and mislead. This potential was exacerbated by her deafness, with some critics her deafness as evidence of her inability to write accurately about America. The idea of the need for sympathy does complicate the matter, though, again situating the foreign culture in terms of inferiority. However, given Martineau's mitigating imperialist context, she does move toward cultural understanding. Significantly, this offended reviewer directly draws Martineau's text into the English context, thereby domesticating it, playing into Martineau's hands by affirming her cultural translation.