Looking for the Picturesque: Tourism, Visual Culture, and the Literature of Travel in the Long Nineteenth Century Open Access
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Looking for the Picturesque: Tourism, Visual Culture, and theLiterature of Travel in the Long Nineteenth CenturyThis dissertation examines the interstices of tourism, visual culture, and the literature of travel, including guidebooks, travel narratives, novels, and ephemera. Situating the origins of sight-seeing in the picturesque aesthetics of the late eighteenth century, I argue that the literature of travel acts as a textual lens through which tourists and travel writers look for signs of picturesque aesthetics and stereotypes of local culture, particularly when travelling in Italy. Ultimately, my dissertation takes two divergent strands of scholarship, aesthetics and semiotics, and examines how they are inherently and inextricably linked via touristic reading practices. My first chapter examines the guidebooks of John Murray, Karl Baedeker, and John Ruskin. Murray and Baedeker's guidebooks include itineraries and star-systems that taught tourists to look for picturesque and/ or stereotypical signs of a given culture. Ruskin critiques Murray's methodologies, but, because his text is also a guidebook, he cannot avoid contributing to the textual mediation of tourism. Chapter 2 is a study of intertextuality and aesthetic subjectivity in the travelogues of Charles Dickens, Amelia Edwards, Elizabeth Robins Pennell, Vernon Lee, Edith Wharton, Henry James, and Lilian Bell. In my third chapter, I trace the development of the picturesque gaze in the novels of Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Henry James, and E.M. Forster. In Chapter 4, I read tourist ephemera and iconography as the material artifacts of visual culture. My coda presents a case study of the travel scrapbooks of Isabel Stewart Gardner to show how a single tourist experienced the intersections of tourism, text, visual culture, and ephemera.For the Digital Dissertation Companion visit loribrister.com/dissertation.html.