A woman’s travel adventure, 1893-95


Last night I started reading Mary Kingsley’s Travels in West Africa. Kingsley was a spinster homebody who had spent most of her life tending to her family and doing tedious domestic tasks around the house. When her parents died in 1892, she planned her first trip to what would have been considered to her and her circle to be the ends of the earth.

On a personal level–that is to say, leaving aside for a moment the colonial context– I’m amazed at how someone whose world had been so narrow could decide, with little support and even active resistance from the people she knew, to undertake such an adventure.

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Filed under Africa, feminism, Travel

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