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Colonial Geography and Masculinity in Eric Dutton's Kenya Mountain

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Eric Dutton's Kenya Mountain, (1929) tells the story of an unsuccessful attempt to climb Mount Kenya in the 1920s. In this article, the author concentrates on a close, contextualized reading of the book as a contribution to critical feminist geographical understanding of colonial discourse at a later point in the colonial timeline than has been commonly analyzed in studies of British colonial geographies and travel literature. Dutton's discursive tactics in the text reveal the inextricable relations between a gendered and enframed sense of landscape and colonial rule. The book also is a window onto the ambivalences and contradictions within British colonial ideology in Africa in the interwar years. In particular, Dutton's struggle with hegemonic masculinity and his complex relationships with the African men on the climb are interrogated as manifestations of broader ambiguities in Britain's African empire. These points of emphasis in this reading of the book emerge from recent feminist and progressive analyses of gender, colonial geography and adventure writing.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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