Class today (12/1) canceled

December 1, 2008 by


I’ve emailed you as well, but am posting here just in case. I’m canceling class today due to illness. Wednesday we will go ahead with the two articles about Mary Kingsley (Blunt and Kearns), and next Monday we’ll do Peter Brooks on narrative theory.


Mary Kingsley Vs. Alison Blunt

December 2, 2008 by

I will say that Mary Kingsley writes her piece in a fashion where it is more entertaining to the reader, but after reading her piece over and reading Mapping Authorship and Authority: Reading Mary Kingsley’s Landscape Description, I became aware of what mapping Authorship meant to Alison Blunt. In the first day of class we spoke about how we would define literacy and than went on to understanding why women had such a hard time writing in the past. But because literacy was a male dominated field in the past, women did not have anything to look back on and write in their own fashion. I believe Mary Kingsley wrote her adventure through her own eyes and in her own style of writing and because of that authorship and authority was hard to discover in her pieces. Mary Kingsley’s writing was ahead of her time and that’s the reason she has received so much recognition. Looking at something through a feminine perspective was something new during the late 1800s and this made me feel that we have changed our literary values in our present.

Reading King Solomon’s Mines you have a clear understanding that the style of writing was written by a man. H.R. Haggard uses many phallic notations and symbolizes beauty as for something a female should hold. Examples would be that he compares the beauty of landscapes with a female’s body, and goes more towards men as soldiers and heroes. Kingsley on the other hand views the world in Africa as nature itself. She explains to her reader about the enduring heat, the search for water, and the men around her. Her authorship lies in her perspectives and different views on what the world can be like. And in her story she was proved that a woman can endure just as much as man could. I believe that Alison Blunt would have written a different article if there were more women that wrote the way Alison Blunt has.

Feel better prof.

Repsonse to “Mapping Authorship and Authority” and “The Imperial Subject”

December 1, 2008 by

In “The imperial subject: geography and travel in the work of Mary Kinsley and Halford Mackinder”, Gerry Kearns gives a very systematic analyze of how imperialism embedded into their adventure to Africa, and in Mark Kinsley’s case, how imperialism interact with feminism in the late nineteenth century. Clearly their adventure to Africa was driven by the need of reestablish imperialism in the society. Under pressure of the new industrial revolution, imperialism needs new value and new discovery to reinforce itself. The Alpine club and mountain climbing soon became one of the frontier activities for upper middle class elite like Mary Kinsley, who had the ambition to become the first Englishmen to climb the highest mountain in Africa from the south face. As mentions in Allison Blunt’s “Mapping Ahthoriship and Authority: Reading Mary Kinglsey’s Landscape Descriptions”, Mary Kingsley wasn’t confident enough to show the map in her first book “Travels in West Africa” due to her uncertainty in her own identification. Yes she proved herself a capable and talented explorer to the male dominated explorers and geological experts after her first visit to Africa. But deep down she felts herself as a British travel woman, she needed something extra to establish her authority in Britain. I completely agree with Alison Blunt’s point of view: we should read Mary Kinglsey’s “Travels in West Africa” as a serious attempt to legitimate herself and her travels. It was dangerous to heavily focus her identification as a female in her first attempt, so her focus is on her discover and observation. And to break the gender barrier, she achieved the nationality and race importance by becoming the first Englishmen to ascend the peak from the most difficult south face. Although she tried hard to establish herself in a position that was free from the limit of her gender by emphasizing her ignorance of male in the travels, she still showed a belief in conventional feminist value by her comments on some interactions between male and female. Still, her imagination of landscape under the cover of darkness still offered a textual map with geographical facts which was different from all male explorers before her, and she successfully established her authority over her travel to West Africa.

Alison Blunt on Kingsley & “Reading for the Plot”

December 1, 2008 by

i felt that Alison Blunt on Mary Kingsley was a little contradictory. Blunt goes on and on to prove that Kingsley has authority and authorship to write about her travels in West Africa. Kingsley doesn’t map her trip.. “A map cold potentially undermine her authority.” it seems she felt that if she mapped her trip it would somehow take her authority away. Kingsley would rather tell you about where she was than just draw a map of it. Her books are what made her a public figure in Britain. According to Michael Foucault, individualism, knowledge, literature, philosophy, and the sciences show authroship and that is what Kingsley expressed in her books. What i didn’t understand was, in the reading it is mentioned that Kingsley has a “masculine voice” but then it discusses her femininity. “Kingsley was the first European to cross from the Ogowe to the Rembwe river by the route she followed and the first to ascend Mount Cameroon by it’s southeast face.” She wet through the swamps, not around them, which shows authority for her writings, she was there.

Growing up we learn that books have a beginning, middle, and an end, and of couse a plot. It wouldn’t be a book if it didn’t have a plot, right? well this reading proved that to be true but it got me thinking.  Did Mary Kingsley have a plot in her writings of Travels in West Africa? A story can change dramatically but as long as the plot is still somewhat in tact, we know what it is, for example, Romeo and Juliet or Cinderella. There are so many versions but we always know what it’s based on. A plot is whta keeps a reader reading, it organizes the story, and a story couldn’t be narrarated if ther was no plot.

Mary Kingsley

December 1, 2008 by

The many stories that have been writen of men or by men, going through adventures such as Mary Kingsley’s, have never been questioned or underminded or in details explained in order to be believed. In all it’s interest Mary Kingley wanted her adventures tp be told and taken seriously. when reading Mapping Authorship and Authority: Reading Mary Kingley’s Landscape Descriptions, I undertsnad how serious it is to be a woman writer and how it comes with it’s ups and drastic downs.

In the 1890’s is was rather weird to see women writers especially if they would write of adventures much like men did. It was not respected and more often than not it wasn;t even believed. As a woman Alison Blunt tried to reenstate the importnace of detail in women writers. She touches upon every angle of writing. How it is writen the metaphors and symbols and the very minute insinuence of the opposite sex having overpowered women. She very much explains everything she speaks about in her writing by quoting a piece of MK’s story:

Page 58 towards the end of the page, “The old male rose to his full height ( it struck me at the time this was a matter of ten feet at least , but for scientific purposes allowence must be made for a lady’s emotions)” In this two sentence quote she covered most of what gender and authority is when being a women writer. The males heights I would think resembles the authority and ntimidation along with the” ten feet tall ” comment that I think further explains the intimidation. The only thing that is said about women in that allowence must be made for a lady’s emotions , this too state, as a symbold of women, we are all fool of emotion so this should be taken into consideration when treating a character. It is interesting how Alison Blunt tries to explain her views through a male point of view.

the plot

December 1, 2008 by

I define a plot is the story what an author wants to tell reader. By the way, English is my second language. So to catch English story is sometimes hard to me. I do not have many problems to understand definition of principle, but I cannot catch English literature story well. For example, I read Hamlet, Life in the Iron Mill, and est. I read Hamlet with my language when I was young, so I already knew what story is. However, when I read other books, which are unfamiliar to me, it is confused to me, so I read it over and over. Even though I read many times, sometimes I still do not understand. In the literature, there exists a narrative who explains about the story. Most time, she/he is helps reader to understand about the story and explains about what situation is in the book. To catch the plot, readers try to find the storys outline, which is situation, characters, surrounding, weather, and est; for instance, even the surrounding is one of important thing the reader should concern because it has a key to understand the plot. Most times, readers should concern what the character say each other because readers can get the plot. I think readers can practice how to catch the plot fast and easily. I think this is the best way the reader can catch the plot well. Moreover, reader should concentrate what they talk, and surround, where they are in, and ect.

Post # 13- Mapping Authorship and Authority: Reading Mary Kingsley’s Landscape Descriptions by Alison Blunt and “The Imperial Subject: Geography and Travel in the Work of Mary Kingsley and Halford Mackinder” by Gerry Kearns

November 26, 2008 by

Alison Blunt thoroughly elaborates on Mary Kingsley’s “Travel to West Africa” in her composition of “Mapping Authorship and Authority: Reading Mary Kingsley’s Landscape Descriptions”. Kingsley’s journey is an inspiration to us as the audience, during her time period traveling was not possible for many people and they needed a means of wealth to go on such expeditions. Blunt explains “Travel and travel writing were influential in reproducing imperial ideologies of difference.” (Blunt, 52). However, since they lacked the means to discover other civilizations, they had the advantage to learn about them through others’ experiences which were expressed in their writings. Blunt particularly observes the authorship and authority; she states “Authority seems inseparable from authorship because where Mary Kingsley says she has been is more important than where she has been.” (Blunt, 51). Also on page 54, Blunt points out that “Mary Kingsley wrote at “home” and the many published reviews of her books suggest that her gender was the most significant element of her authorship.” We perceive that she emphasizes how one is incomplete with out the other. Kingsley has the authorship in her writing which gives her the kind of authority she demonstrates.

I recall the reading of Said’s “Orientalism” how it reminded me that Africa not seen as an Orient. The West has been engaged in the practice of Orientalism (the binaries we have created about the East and West). Authors are owners of their own works and we as the readers have to be aware of their viewpoints. Authors are in charge of their work, they have certain intentions to bring meaning to their texts and there is only “one” true meaning. However, the interpretation can be discovered. The audience as a whole can have multiple interpretations of a certain text which will allow them to express different point of views. In addition, Blunt clarifies at the very end of her article that “For Mary Kingsley, authorship was important at “home” and related most often to questions of gender identity.” (Blunt, 68).

Kingsley Again

November 26, 2008 by

“Kingsley!” I yelled. The author has gone walking by herself again into the dense foillage of the African Heartland. I have been searching for her over an hour and there was no sign of her yet. Little did I know that she would return to England to write one of the most distincitve travel books on Africa. I heard that she refused to draw a map, that showed her journey into this land but instead choose to narrate and describe her adventures in full detail.

Critics would try to critique her work over the decades to come, trying to establish what her motives were, and did she actually have all the adventures she described. Someone once read a bit of one of her books, it was quite an interesting tale that she told.

Kingsley perona is exlampified by her book, and in fact she is all that she describes. I met her while working on a coffee plantation, and she needed some men to escort her up a mountain. The other time I met her she was questioning herself, why did she ever come to Africa?

Kingsley represent a unique brand of women, one that took to travelling and used that to make a  living. She ventured into Africa of all places and wrote about it in such descriptive terms that one cannot help but feel the mist around you when you are reading her book. She makes Africa come alive, from the pages, with the pen trying to swat the bugs away.

Kingsley need not draw a map of the places that she visited, and I belive that the maps would not hold the wealth of information that she encountered in her travels. The description that she used in her books alone is enought to loose oneself in and I belive her critics need a map to find themselves and return to reality.

Mapping Authorship and Authority

November 25, 2008 by

Mapping Authorship and Authority: Reading Mary Kingsley’s Landscape Descriptions by Alison Blunt gave me a different perspective of Mary Kingsley’s Travel to West Africa. While I was reading about Mary Kingsley’s journey to Africa I never once thought that she didn’t actually write the piece. Alison explains to us that, “Travel writing can be seen as ordered in a dualistic way between narration and description” [55] and I believe that Mary Kingsley does that very well in her book. She’s very descriptive and her narration helps you feel her sense going through her body. Yes, I agree that Mary Kingsley does write in the fashion to dazzle the reader to keep their interest, but I believe she’s just doing a good job in her narration. I’m pretty sure in 1897 people did not have enough money to travel around the world, so reading about another culture, another world would have been an interesting read at the time. I understood why readers need to give authority and credential to the right writer, but I had the sense that it was wrong to take her authorship away because of the way Mary Kingsley wrote her piece.

After understanding what women writer have gone through for authorship and authority; I completely understood why they undermined Mary Kingsley’s work. I did not feel this was written in a masculine way or written in the King’s scripture, but rather people believing women can’t have that kind of power. 1897 is an early time period for someone like Mary Kingsley to be taking power from men in literature and knowledge. It is said in Scottish Geographical Magazine, “This book is quite a new departure in Africa literature, and, after reading it, one is not surprised at its popularity and extensive sale, for such a sprightly, interesting, vivid, and in some respects audacious, accounts of travels in Africa, It has never been out a lot to read – and the author is a lady!” [55] This just comes to show you that a women is just as equal as a man is even during the times women were looked down upon.

response to alison blunt’s writing

November 25, 2008 by

Alison Blunt’s essay, “mapping authorship and authority: reading Mary Kingsley’s landscape description” takes one through a detailed description of women travel studies. It is very critical on imperialism and gender barriers and differences. It clearly outlines the life and travel experience of Mary Kingsley. Mary Kingsley is a nineteenth centurytravel writer and what alison Blunt did in the excerpt was, persuasively examine the association amongst gender and travel. One aspect of the reading that I found particualarly interesting was when she made the link between authority and authorship. The described the two ideas as different in meaning and tasks but also noted that they were in each other’s pocket; meaning they are different ideas but that it was almost impossible to have one with out the other. To her, authorship and authority goes hand in hand. “Authority seems inseperable from authorship because where Mary Kingsley says she has been is more important than where she has been. For Mary Kingsley, the primary role of a map was to convey “the geographical facts.” These seem to acquire status beyond her authorship but both despite and because of this produce and reproduce her authoritattive status.” I think that authorship in a sense leads to authority. In any piece of writing, whether it be fiction or non-fiction, the author is the god who possess ultimate control. So in that sense I agree with Blunt when she stated that where Mary has been is not nearly half as important as where she claimed to have been. It is her writing that gives her the ultimate power. In those times, women travelers were more like tag alongs with their husbands and the fact that Mary was a woman who went to Africa without her husband or any protecting male head says a lot about the kind of authority that she has but in my opinion I think that her authorship was what essentially gave her authority. I liked Blunt’s essay especially because Instead of critiquing women travel writers during the colonial period specifically, she explores how the spatiality and gendering of travel are indivisible.