Jane Dolinger: American travel writer
No biography of American travel writer Jane Dolinger has yet been written. This dissertation has two goals: to construct from available records a biography of Jane Dolinger, and to begin the process of determining her significance among American travel writers. The events of her life are here reconstructed from sources as varied as public documents, newspaper features, Dolinger’s own books and articles, and her private letters. This biography assembles the most plausible and consistent record of events, and it examines Dolinger’s writings critically to reveal how she reconstructed her life story in a form that better suited her purposes than the literal truth. Strategic latitude has been given to Dolinger’s fictions—trying always to identify them as such—in order to demonstrate how they served her immediate needs and larger career goals. Writing mostly in the 1950s and 1960s, Dolinger is relevant to our time for several reasons. First, her life is a striking example of independence and creativity during a time when very few women engaged in such unconventional behavior. Second, her writing can be shown to be relevant in studies of the emergence of the modern travel narrative and the nonfiction novel. And third, Dolinger’s life and work can now be viewed in the context of the social and cultural transitions of her time, including roles of women in society (Western and non-Western), cultural and sexual mores, fame and celebrity, environmental consciousness, and American participation in the global sphere—not to mention trends in popular publishing in the U.S. and abroad. While she began as a travel writer and remained active in that genre, Dolinger also became a media figure who tapped into the strong interest in pop culture icons. Today, Dolinger’s place among women travel writers is determined by her role as a literary journalist, the blend of fact and fiction in her work as a postmodernist phenomenon, her career in modeling as an adjunct to her writing career, and her accomplishments vis-à-vis the expanding feminist consciousness of the 1950s and 1960s. Each of these concerns offers a sophisticated means by which to evaluate Dolinger’s work. ^
Lawrence L Abbott,
"Jane Dolinger: American travel writer"
(January 1, 2012).
Dissertations available from ProQuest.