Date of Award
Eleanor McNees, Ph.D.
Authenticity, British, Literature, Magazines, Tourism, Travel
Edwardian travel writing between roughly 1905 and 1914 serves as a bridge between the closing of the long Victorian period, the beginnings of modernism, and the changes to come in the twentieth century. The search for authentic experience characterizes travel writing in the Edwardian era. Significant cultural, technological, and social changes caused Edwardians to examine their perceptions about possibilities for authentic engagement with other places and people in their travels. As a result, Edwardian travel writers explore various methods by which to engage authentically with other cultures. Drawing on literary theory, anthropology, and cultural studies, this dissertation examines a number of periodicals published between 1905 and 1914 to suggest that while travel writers often displayed an anxiety of authenticity, they nevertheless developed and relied on multiple means of marking their experiences as authentic. Particular attention is paid to the magazine Travel & Exploration, published from 1909 to 1911. This magazine communicates a middlebrow perspective on travel values that frequently differs only slightly from the highbrow literary themes emerging in the same period.
Like other aspects of the Edwardian period, travel writing exhibits Janus-faced qualities. Some travelers relied heavily on traditional means of authenticating experiences and fostering connections with a place. In particular, the persistence of long-established cultural and aesthetic values such as the picturesque and the sublime and the continued opposition between traveler and tourist speak to these entrenched categories. However, Edwardians were also rooted in the present and interested in the future, as evidenced by their unique temporal experiences of nostalgia and simultaneity and their creative reshaping of the categories of adventure and exploration. The Edwardians experienced significant change in their rendering of temporality, which appears in two major themes in the travel writing: nostalgia and simultaneity. At the same time, travelers expressed concern that opportunities for truly authentic travel were diminishing as the blank spaces on the map were filled in. This impending sense of closure prompted travelers to redefine authentic travel through engagement with adventure and exploration. While these thematic categories were not necessarily new, some Edwardians found them to be ideal options for finding authenticity in their travels.
Firebaugh, Christina Bertrand, "The Search for Authentic Travel in Early Twentieth-Century British Magazines" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 200.
Received from ProQuest
Christina Bertrand Firebaugh
British and Irish literature, Modern literature, Recreation and tourism