Author Biography

Lenka Filipova completed her doctoral degree at Freie Universität Berlin. Her monograph Ecocriticism and the Sense of Place was published by Routledge in 2021.


The article focuses on Lady Anne Lindsay Barnard’s letters, journals and watercolours that she produced during her stay at the Cape Colony (1797–1801). Combining a series of tasks focused on close reading of Barnard’s work and a critical discussion of the historical context, the article provides a teaching strategy to examine her work with respect to the gendered discourse of the eighteenth century, and her approach to the Cape landscape and its inhabitants which both employs and, significantly, subverts contemporaneous conventions. More specifically, the tasks draw attention to Barnard’s use of ‘the modesty topos’ and the way she uses rhetorical self-deprecation in her writing to prevent violating the gender norms of her time. Furthermore, they facilitate a discussion of her subject position, particularly with respect to the period’s media landscape and manuscript culture, as well as some of the contemporaneous artistic conventions. While Barnard’s views and approaches to the Cape and its inhabitants are shown to occasionally echo officialdom, she needs to be read as a rather sophisticated observer who sometimes subtly breaks these conventions.


Lady Anne Barnard, travel writing, gender, modesty topos, landscape representation, watercolours, portraits