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Lorena Bassi on Fahrten einer Paria
6 January, 2022
Escaping her violent husband and her life in France, Flora Tristan embarked on a journey to Peru in 1833 to find her estranged Peruvian family and seek her father’s inheritance to gain financial independence. Tristan returned to France in 1834 and published her travelogue of Peru under the name Pérégrinations d’une Paria 1833– 1834 in 1838.
Her position as a French woman visiting Peru and her family ties to Peruvian aristocrats allowed her to enter the world of the Peruvian upper-class and to travel around the country. The observations and critical reflections she made during this time are written in a novelesque style with her as the main protagonist. Her writing is characterized by a friction between her socialist and feminist views and her feelings of moral superiority stemming from her imperialist European background. Additionally, the image of the pariah that Tristan constructs for herself in Peru helps her to have a different gaze on the country.
The different layers of identities she takes on in her text and her shifting between them in different situations make for a travelogue which offers a distinctive view on Peru in the 1830s from the eyes of a female writer.