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Gertrude Bell and IraqA life and legacy$
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Paul Collins and Charles Tripp

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266076

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266076.001.0001

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Fragments of a Mirror: The Writing of Gertrude Bell

Fragments of a Mirror: The Writing of Gertrude Bell

(p.155) 7 Fragments of a Mirror: The Writing of Gertrude Bell
Gertrude Bell and Iraq

Tamara Chalabi

, Paul Collins, Charles Tripp
British Academy

This chapter proposes to explore the writing of Gertrude Bell through a few prisms: first, her interest in history and archaeology, and second, her private letters. It will examine how Bell’s interest in archaeology mirrored her interest in politics: just as in her political role, in which she was building a state, Bell attempted through her archaeological work and photography to create a mythology about the Orient. Bell’s private letters also provide an insight into how she interacted with men and the role of this interaction in realising her political aims and in shaping her life. The chapter will examine how these interactions were informed by attitudes towards women in the Victorian world she inhabited, whether in England or the Middle East.

Keywords:   Gertrude Bell, archaeology, travel, mythology, the Orient, gender, private letters, personal life, Iraq

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