The paper considers travelogues of Yugoslav female writers Alma Karlin, Jelena Dimitrijević, Isidora Sekulić, Marica Gregorič Stepančič, Marica Strnad, Luiza Pesjak. These texts created in the first half of the 20th century in Serbian, Slovenian and German are on the periphery of the literary field and, with rare exceptions, do not belong to the canon. The most famous of these authors are Sekulić from Serbia and the German-speaking writer Karlin from Slovenia. Recently, the work of Dimitrijević has also become an object of attention of researchers. Other travelogues writers are almost forgotten.
Identity problems, especially national ones, are a constant component of the travelogue genre. During a journey, the author directs his attention to “other / alien” peoples and cultures that can be called foreign to the perceiving consciousness. However, when one perceives the “other”, one inevitably turns to one's “own”, one's own identity. The concept of “own - other / alien”, on which the dialogical philosophy is based (M. Buber, G. Marcel, M. Bakhtin, E. Levinas), implies an understanding of the cultural “own” against the background of the “alien” and at the same time culturally “alien” on the background of “own”.
Women's travel has a special status in culture. Even in the first half of the 20th century the woman was given space at home. Going on a journey, especially unaccompanied, was at least unusual for a woman. According to Simone de Beauvoir, a woman in society is “different / other”. Therefore, women's travelogues can be defined as the look of the “other” on the “other / alien”.
In this paper, particular attention is paid to the interrelationship of gender, national identities and their conditioning with a cultural and historical context. At the beginning of the 20th century in the Balkans, national identity continues actively to develop and the process of women's emancipation is intensifying. Therefore, the combination of gender and national issues for Yugoslavian female travelogues of this period is especially relevant.
Dimitrijević's travelogue Seven Seas and Three Oceans demonstrates this relationship most vividly: “We Serbian women are no less patriotic than Egyptian women... Haven't Serbian women most of the merit that the big Yugoslavia originated from small Serbia?”
As a result of this study, the specificity of the national and gender identity constructs in the first half of the 20th century in the analyzed texts is revealed. For this period one can note, on the one hand, the preservation of national and gender boundaries, often supported by stereotypes, on the other hand, there are obvious tendencies towards the erosion of the established gender and national constructs, the mobility of models of gender and national identification as well, largely due to the sociohistorical processes of the time.
The paper deals with the national and gender specificity of Jelena Dimitrijević’s travelogues. This specificity is significantly caused both by the phenomenon of women travelling, its literary representation (the female author achieves a special status leaving her home as the place prescribed by the patriarchal culture to women) and her own Balkan culture identity. Dimitrijević’s texts are analyzed here in connection with the concept of the Balkan orientalism and the theory of nomadic subject. The paper considers the explicitly transnational character of Dimitrijević’s writings.