Meanings, myths and memories : literary tourism as cultural discourse in Beatrix Potter's Lake District
Tourism is about the production and consumption, and the transformation and appropriation of cultural meanings. These meanings are imposed on landscapes to facilitate economic development but their interpretation by visitors is also important. A case study of Beatrix Potter tourism in the English Lake District is used to explore the links between literary tourism and a range of personal, social and cultural values. The thesis develops a cultural studies approach for tourism and literary analyses. It then combines qualitative and quantitative research methods to evaluate how visitors made sense of their encounters with the literary place. From the resulting field study material three key themes emerged: childhood and adulthood; city, country and preservation; and marketing literary heritage in an increasingly global context. These themes both reflect and contribute to contemporary debates in cultural geography. They also help to clarify aspects of the relationship between tourism, popular culture and society.