A “Stranger” as a Sick Person in Yugoslav Travelogues of the First Half of the 20th Century
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Abstract: The paper deals with the connection between the figure of the ethnic “stranger” and the phenomenon of illness in Yugoslav travelogues in the second half of the 20th century. The author employs the methods of phenomenology, imagology and postcolonial and gender studies. The article analyzes travelogues of 4 authors: Alma Karlin, Jelena Dimitrijević, Isidora Sekulić, Rastko Petrović. Illnesses play an important role in Karlin’s travelogues. She writes about cholera, plague, smallpox, various skin diseases, malaria. Traveling in Africa, Petrović pays great attention to tropical diseases, leprosy, syphilis. Dimitriević breaks the stereotype of an oriental beauty bursting with health and talks about consumption as a typical illness in harems with their secluded mode of life. Traveling in Norway, Sekulić, who is fond of Norwegians, writes about cases of mental illness. The study explorers how the figure of the ethnic “stranger” is associated with the illness, and what lies at the basis of such association in the works of fiction under investigation. The recurrent motifs in the travelogues are both the own illness and those of the “stranger”. Other countries are represented as a space of illnesses that often have exotic flavor. The phenomenon of illness in the travelogues is also marked both geographically and ethnographically. The reasons for frequent depiction of illnesses in travelogues are different: heroization of the author’s own travels through the detailed descripton of dangers, and specifically illnesses, legitimation of female travels via indication of diseases that isolated and inactive lifestyle causes, and the creation of exotic atmosphere. It can be stated that the connection between the “stranger” and the illness indicates, first of all, the travelers’own fears of diseases, which appear to be attributes of the people of a different culture.
Key words: Illnesses; exoticism; travelogues; Yugoslav literature; Yugoslav writers; literary creative activity; literary genres; literary plots; literary characters.
Bodrova, A. G. A “Stranger” as a Sick Person in Yugoslav Travelogues of the First Half of the 20th Century / A. G. Bodrova. In Philological Class. 2021. Vol. 26 ⋅ №1. P. 264–272. DOI 10.51762/1FK-2021-26-01-22.