Synopses & Reviews
Taking in a wide variety of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century texts--fiction, poetry, travel writings, guidebooks, periodicals, and business histories--The Beaten Track attempts to grasp what modern representations of "culture" owe to the long process of confrontation with a democratizing and institutionalizing European tourism. Buzard argues that an exaggerated perception, first emerging after the Napoleonic Wars, of the Continental tour's sudden radical openness to virtually "every" level of society took firm hold on the British and American travelling imagination--a hold strengthened, over the years, by the visible labors of travel popularizers such as Thomas Cook and professional guidebook publishers such as Murray and Baedeker. One consequence--traceable in sources ranging from Punch and Blackwood's Magazine to writings by Wordsworth, Dickens, Frances Trollope, Ruskin, Anna Jameson, Henry James, Forster, and others--was a new set of formulations of what constitutes "authentic" culture (in a given place) and "genuine" cultural experience (in a given person). Accounts of the modern European tour evolved a symbolic economy of practices aimed at distinguishing the true "Traveller" from the "Vulgar Tourist"--mainly on the basis of imputed personal merits, not explicit social privileges. Its various forms of "anti-tourism" helped to make the European tour an exemplary cultural practice of modern liberal democracies, appearing at once popularly accessible and exclusive.
"An entirely satisfying scholarly work. It is written in clean and clear prose, even though Buzard take up theoretical issues that many others immobilize with jargon....The book is not only an important contribution to research on the phenomenon of travel for pleasure, but is also a significant exploration of an intriguing feature of nineteenth-century culture."--Nineteenth-Century Studies
"[An] important book....Buzard has done ground-breaking work."--Choice
"Fluently written, wide-ranging and meticulous in its accumulation of detail, The Beaten Track is an exemplary piece of scholarship."--Times Literary Supplement
"[Buzard's] tour of this newest and most entrancing of scholarly terrains is a veritable Baedeker in its fusion of the exhaustive and the urbane."--The Observer
"James Buzard's The Beaten Track is not only an elegant exposition of the ways in which tourism has paradoxically fostered and exploited a rhetoric of anti-tourism, but also a splendid exploration of the links between tourism, textual mediation, and literature. Moreover, its prose has such a high finish that it's a great pleasure to read."--Catherine Gallagher, University of California, Berkeley
A study of European tourism during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Writers considered include Byron, Wordsworth, Frances Trollope, Dickens, Henry James, and Forster.
The Beaten Track is a major study of European tourism during the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century. Buzard demonstrates the ways in which the distinction between tourist and traveller has developed and how the circulation of the two terms influenced how nineteenth and twentieth-century writers in Europe viewed themselves and presented themselves in writing. Drawing on a wide range of texts from literature, travel writing, guidebooks, periodicals, and business histories, the book shows how a democratizing and institutionalizing tourism gave rise to new formulations about what constitutes "authentic" cultural experience. Authentic culture was represented as being in the secret precincts of the "beaten track" where it could be discovered only by the sensitive true traveller and not the vulgar tourist. Major writers such as Byron, Wordsworth, Frances Trollope, Dickens, Henry James, and Forster are examined in the light of the influential Murray and Baedeker guide books. This elegantly written book brings up debates in cultural studies concerning the ideology of leisure and concludes that in this period tourism became an exemplary cultural practice appearing to be both popularly accessible and exclusive.