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Asian CrossingsTravel Writing on China, Japan and Southeast Asia$
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Steve Clark and Paul Smethurst

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9789622099142

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622099142.001.0001

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‘Chambres d’Asie, chambres d’ailleurs’: Nicole-Lise Bernheim's ‘Vertical Travels’ in Asia

‘Chambres d’Asie, chambres d’ailleurs’: Nicole-Lise Bernheim's ‘Vertical Travels’ in Asia

(p.179) 12‘Chambres d’Asie, chambres d’ailleurs’: Nicole-Lise Bernheim's ‘Vertical Travels’ in Asia
Asian Crossings

Hindson Katy

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter compares two of Nicole-Lise Bernheim's récits de voyage: Chambres d'ailleurs (1986), and Saisons japonaises (1999). Traveler, writer, novelist, and journalist, the late Nicole-Lise Bernheim (1942–2003) left a diverse body of work which reveals her passion for travel. Chambres d'ailleurs is the account of the author's six-month journey around a number of countries in Asia, in the company of her partner. The more recent Saisons japonaises is the account of the author's prolonged, lone, stay in Koyasan, a Japanese town, famous as a site of pilgrimage. In general, Bernheim's travel narratives illustrate the recurrence of self-performance and construction of role in contemporary travel writing, creating an illusory rhetoric of intimacy which is thinly disguised by the traveler's claims to vulnerability and naivety. Moreover, they provide an often problematic example of the possibilities of a differentiated female gaze in travel where gender appears, albeit briefly, as a potential point of access from which cross-cultural relations can progress.

Keywords:   Nicole-Lise Bernheim, cross-cultural relations, gender, Saisons japonaises, Asia, travel writing, travel narratives

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