Unprotected Females in Sicily, Calabria, and on the top of Mount Aetna.

  • [Lowe, Helen Emily]
  • London: Routledge, Warnes, and Routledge 1859


SKU: 3643 Category: Tags: ,


FIRST EDITION, 8vo, pp. xi, [i], 265, [1] + chromolithograph frontispiece and 3 chromolithograph plates. Original blue pebbled cloth, spine lettered and decorated in gilt, boards blocked in blind. Some light spotting to plates. Recased with new endpapers, final advertisements discarded, spine ends worn. Ownership bookplate of J.B. Bury (1917-2017) to front pastedown.


The scarce second travel book written by Emily Lowe (d. 1882), documenting the journey she and her mother made through southern Italy. She boldly asserted the benefits of travelling 'unprotected', and in her first book wrote, 'The only use of a gentleman in travelling is to look after the luggage, and we take care to have no luggage.' Known for her ability to present herself at times as a strong, confident traveller, and at others as a weak, emotional, proper Victorian lady, she wrote about these two sides as the 'serpent' and the 'dove'. And when she and her mother convinced the local guides they could indeed manage the ascent of the famous Sicilian volcano, she wrote, 'And then felt the moment was come when two of the wonders of creation, a snowy volcano and a woman's curiosity, were to try their ardour against each other.' Lowe left her authorship ambiguous, which allowed early reviewers to assume that 'Unprotected Females' referred to multiple authors.

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