A tour on the Atlantic: Washington Irving's sketches of transatlantic womanhood.
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Via the lens of cultural studies and feminist thought, this dissertation targets Washington Irving’s considerations of the Atlantic world on the nineteenth-century American female. The study of twelve works demonstrates Irving’s perspective on women by providing analysis of his female characters with regard to how they value relationships, activity, and time. By chronologically surveying Irving’s literary accomplishments, from European tales to Western narratives, from Spanish folklore to detailed biographies, his value to a multidimensional readership becomes apparent. Irving works to unite the Old World with the New, men with women, Native-Americans with Europeans, Africans with Anglos, and Christians with Muslims. In a post-nine-eleven America, Irving particularly speaks to America’s relationship with the Islamic world, allowing for a detailed analysis of femininity. He wishes the American woman to benefit from her various cultures, molding a society beautifully textured like the heritage left by the melding of Europeans and Moors, a distinction Irving makes in The Alhambra. This study displays the tapestry that Irving envisions, encouraging scholars to reconsider this icon of American literature.