A selection of books by women travelers, 1692 to 1850. Included are works by women of any nationality, but the travelers were predominately English. The places written about are as far flung as India, Africa, Brazil, Hawaii, North America, the Middle East, and as close to home as the English coast, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The purposes of the travel included culture, politics, adventure, alleged espionage, business, education and curiosity. Along with the standard narratives, tours, and guidebooks are imaginary travelogues for children, travel poems and travelogues that blend fact with fiction, sometimes simply to embellish and in other instances to deceive. Among the many reference works relied upon, two are cited most frequently in the following descriptions: Jane Robinson’s Wayward Women: A Guide to Women Travellers (Oxford, 1990) and the website-database Women’s Travel Writing, 1780-1840 (www4.wlv.ac.uk/btw) founded by Dr. Benjamin Colbert. Also of great use was Brian Dolan's Ladies of the Grand Tour (Harpercollins, 2001).
I confess, I am malicious enough to desire, that the world should see, to how much better purpose the LADIES travel than their LORDS; and that, whilst it is surfeited with Male-Travels,all in the same tone and stuft with the same trifles; a lady has the skill to strike out a new path, and to embellish a worn-out subject with a variety of fresh and elegant Entertainment – Mary Anstell, 1724.