The Self and the Other in the Marchioness of Fronteira’s Diary

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The increasing literacy among 19th century elites, the writing of correspondence and diaries as elements of symbolic power and the valorization of the individual, lyricism, emotions and subjectivity brought by romanticism allowed the intimate writing trivialization. However, there are few diaries written by women in Portugal in that century. This may not be due to the lack of this documentation, but because gender studies and historiography about women have not invested in family archives as a primary source. The situation results from the low accessibility of these documentation collections to researchers, despite the advances made in recent years. One of these exceptions is the diary of the 7th Marchioness of Fronteira, D. Maria Constança da Câmara (1801-1860), whom wrote a diary between 1826 and 1842. It is mainly a travelogue, whose writing was motivated by the political situation in Portugal, namely the civil war that opposed constitutionalists and absolutists. Forced to emigration by the absolutist regime, the marquises, supporters of the constitutional party, traveled through several kingdoms and countries in Europe: United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy.
Privileged spectator of political, social and cultural events in Europe at the time, namely the political revolutions inheriting the Enlightenment, she contacted with new and diverse realities.
One could ask how she saw the other(s), the foreigner, although being a foreigner herself. How did belonging to a social group affect that feeling of belonging and identity? What extent the differences or similarities on the other shaped her own self? Naturally, these questions are related to the notion that autobiographical writing is a form of construction of the authorial entity, from a literary point of view. Through confrontation with the other, the different, the exotic that travel literature allows, to what extent can we observe this construction of the self?
Period24 Feb 2022
Event titleGender, Modernities and the Global Enlightenment
Event typeConference
LocationValencia, SpainShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • History
  • History and Literature
  • Egodocuments
  • Diary
  • Journal
  • Gender
  • Gender Studies
  • Women
  • Women empowerment
  • Women History
  • Women Writers
  • 19th century
  • Portugal
  • Portugal contemporâneo
  • Aristocracy
  • Aristocracia portuguesa
  • Civil War in Portugal
  • Literatura
  • travelogue
  • Literatura de Viagens
  • Travellers
  • Travel literature
  • Family Archives
  • Archives
  • Archival History
  • género