As we gear up for the summer months, travel seems to be on everyone’s mind. The Los Angeles Times recently posted a list of exciting road novels by female writers, and we were happy to see that A Motor-Flight Through France by Edith Wharton was prominently featured—just in time for our new edition of the book, introduced by Lavinia Spalding.
In our Restless Women Travelers series, we will celebrate and (re)introduce you to some of the most important travelogues written by women, from Frances Trollope’s colonial voyage to America, to the modern-day jungle treks of Kira Salak. Check out our list of upcoming titles to find the travel tale that will inspire you to be restless this summer!
Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring some fascinating works from around the world that we’ve read, re-read, or unearthed during the editorial process. Follow our journey right here on the Restless Blog, and join the conversation in the comments.
by Edith Wharton
Introduction by Lavinia Spalding
A trailblazer among American women at the turn of the century, Edith Wharton set out in the newly invented "motor-car" to explore the cities and countryside of France. As the Whartons embark on three separate journeys through the country in 1906 and 1907, accompanied first by Edith’s brother, Harry Jones, and then by Henry James, Edith is enamored by the freedom that this new form of transport has given her. With a keen eye for architecture and art, and the engrossing style that would later earn her a Pulitzer Prize in fiction, Wharton writes about places that she previously “yearned for from the windows of the train."
by Kira Salak
Four Corners is Kira Salak's riveting account of her epic, solo jungle trek across the remote Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea—often called the last frontier of adventure travel. Traveling by dugout canoe and on foot, confronting the dangers and wonders of a largely untouched world, she became the first woman to traverse this remote country and write about it. A New York Times Notable Travel Book, Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papua New Guinea is a must-read for world travelers and adventurous spirits.
by Frances Trollope
Introduction by Sara Wheeler
In 1832, three years before Alexander de Tocqueville published Democracy in America, the English novelist Frances Trollope released Domestic Manners of the Americans, an eye-opening record of her travels in the young republic. Expecting a Utopia of “justice and liberty for all,” she is shocked to discover the contradictions at the heart of the American character. Funny and fearless, Trollope’s biting critique became an international sensation. Yet, as Mark Twain remarked, "She was merely telling the truth and this indignant nation knew it.”
by Mary Wollstonecraft
Introduction by Joanna Kavenna
The impetus behind Mary Wollstonecraft’s journey through Scandinavia couldn’t be more dramatic: Her relationship with her lover on rocky ground, Wollstonecraft sets out for Scandinavia in order to retrieve a stolen treasure ship for him. As she travels across the dramatic landscape, she writes vividly of the people she encounters, events she witnesses, and the sublime natural landscape. Yet the letters also reflect her anguish as she comes to realize that her love affair is fated to end. Letters Written from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark is an arresting travel book, a deeply personal memoir, and a provocative, philosophical exploration of identity and politics.