Authoritative Structures of British Feminist Colonial Discourse: Emily Keen’s Travel Narrative My Life Story as a Case Study

Travel writing, East-West encounters, representation, colonial Morocco


  • Iman Raissouni
    Associate Professor, Abdelmalek Essaadi University, King Fahd School of Translation, Tangier, Morocco
June 29, 2021


This paper analyses the representation of Morocco by a British female traveller during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Emily Keen’s My Life Story attempts to set out the conditions in which women travelled and translated the reception of their experiences into autobiographies in their native countries, breaking down the boundaries of space and time to discover and interpret the discourse that traverses the writer’s narrative. The endeavour is to show how what was imagined about the country, what was a fantastic legend about Morocco, what started as an innocent story and literary entertainment for British readers, built up to make an authoritative discourse of colonisation. My intention and method go so far as to broaden the range of issues connected to travel writing. These issues include gender, race, identity, and personal experience, etc. Through this lens, I argue that such writers were conscious and unconscious informants preparing the way for the European colonisation of the country; they are the living witnesses of an evolution through which a culture was forced to open itself to foreign powers.