Octavia Walton Le Vert: A Southern Belle in Nineteenth-Century Spain
This paper analyzes the chapters that Octavia Walton Le Vert devoted to Spain in her travel book Souvenirs of Travel (1857). It begins with a brief profile of the writer and then examines the contexts of production and reception of her book, followed by a summary of her journey across Spain in 1855. Using the theoretical contributions made by several critics and historians, the paper explores some rhetorical conventions, including the discourse of sentimentality, employed to accomplish the textual representation of Spain and the Spaniards. It will be argued that her representation of Spain manifests gender concerns and Protestant American views on otherness, class, and nation, setting her account somewhat apart from the dominant construction of Spain as a masculinized domain developed by other antebellum male American travelers.