Tourism and the formation of the writer : three case studies
In the nineteenth century a vogue for travel writing emerged as writers began to describe experiences of foreign travel in a style quite different from realistic Grand Tour narratives. In their travel writing, Byron, Shelley and Dickens display an impression of the complexities of modernity rather than present a mimetic and conformist view of the world. The study shows how travel writers represent the manifold nature of tourist experience through a composite presentation of subject which despite its heterogeneity lays claim to a unity of knowledge. This thesis discusses the impact of tourism on the beliefs, identities and style of writers. The chapter on Byron shows how he evolved a new poetic voice using a verse travelogue which evaluates the injustices of war and empire. The chapter on Shelley examines his tour of Switzerland and shows how the influence of Rousseau's imagination inspired Shelley in his vision to improve English society. The chapter on Dickens considers how the economic development of America informed his views on the state of American society and urged him to conceive in his later works a world in which the privacy of the domestic hearth is sanctified. The thesis investigates the extent to which ideals of political and social reform govern the nature of travel writing in Europe and America in the late Romantic and early Victorian periods. Tourist narratives of the period use contemporary and historical evidence to assess the advantages and disadvantages of the political and social systems of abroad, thereby indicating a path to enlightened social harmony.