Fashioning the frontispiece: the role of clothing in the travel narratives of Isabella Bird

Edward Armston-Sheret, Innes M. Keighren

Research output: Contribution to non-peer-reviewed publicationInternet publication


At first glance, Isabella Bird (1831–1904) was an unlikely candidate for the role of intrepid explorer. She stood just four feet eleven inches tall and, from a young age, suffered from a debilitating spinal condition that necessitated frequent periods of rest. Nevertheless, Bird travelled the globe, visiting - among other destinations - Hawaii, Japan, Korea and Tibet. In spanning the globe, and in challenging the physical limits of her body and societal expectations of her gender, Bird became one of the most celebrated 19th century women travellers and published numerous travel narratives with John Murray. While much has been written about Bird’s remarkable achievements as a traveller, comparatively less attention has been given to the role that dress played in how Bird chose to represent herself in her published accounts.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Editor’s Choice
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2020

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