Guest Editor: Meghan Freeman, Manhattanville College
According to the OED, the word tourism enters the English lexicon at the dawn of the nineteenth century, thus institutionalizing the notion that travel is a necessary component of personal development. As crowds of earnest bourgeois travelers displaced the solitary young aristocrat on the Grand Tour a vast body of literature concerned with both mundane and exalted facets of foreign places cropped up to fulfill a new set of needs. Owing to the diversity of places to which individuals traveled and the many different reasons for doing so, these needs were diverse and multiform. So, rather than speak of a monolithic tourism culture, it might be better to contemplate the many different tourisms that emerged from and developed over the course of the long nineteenth century (defined here as approximately 1789-1914). For this special issue of LIT the organizers are soliciting essays concerning experiences of and with tourism over the course of the long nineteenth century, as those experiences are documented, codified, and complicated in literatures devoted to travel.
Travel literature, of course, had long worked to kindle the imaginations of homebound readers with stories of people and places elsewhere, but as technological and economic forces made travel easier and more affordable, a new, heterogeneous population of tourists called for, consumed, and produced texts that directed and validated their experience of going abroad. And not only that: works of the eighteenth century and Romantic period took on new meanings for readers as tourists sought forms of authentic cultural experience that the tourism industry seemed to render impossible. At the same time, new imaginative works – novels, plays, and poems – reflected on tourism as a distinct cultural practice and way of life, which demanded the performance of specific behaviors in such spaces as museums and architectural ruins, spas and sanitariums, theaters and opera houses, Alpine heights and tropical islands. Alongside these critical and meditative literatures on the nature of tourism blossomed specialist literatures designed for travelers with particular interests, including sport and safari, natural wonders and naturalist study, health and medicine, religious pilgrimage and worship, trade and imperial exploration, and many other things besides. Finally, with the growth of these many tourisms came as a well a vast promotional literature – print advertisements, pamphlets, posters, and other ephemeral texts – that tried to convince travelers to pay a visit. This special issue of LIT aims to explore how these various literatures reflected the growth of and helped to shape the diverse cultures of tourism in the long nineteenth century.
LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory publishes critical essays that employ engaging, coherent theoretical perspectives and provide original, close readings of texts. Because LIT addresses a general literate audience, the organizers encourage essays unburdened by excessive theoretical jargon. Submissions must use MLA citation style and should range in length from 5,000-10,000 words inclusive. Please email your essay, along with a 100-200 word abstract to email@example.com.
Deadline for submissions: June 3, 2015.