Visitors to London are often seeking an imaginary city, one defined through literary depictions and pop culture. To (dis)cover Victorian London requires the visitor to disentangle the corporeal, historical, and mythical manifestations of the city. Thus, the corpus of London is both a literary and a physical space with geographical features, architectural styles, and visual references that sometimes form the viewer’s experience and are sometimes formed by the viewer’s expecta- tions. The corpus of London is not only an experience of recognition but also one that leads inevitably to magnification, distortion, disruption, and even erasure of the cultural artifact.
(Dis)covering the Victorian City
David W. Chapman
This article examines Jane Austen's relationship with literary tourism. It argues that Jane Austen tours are more than just a fad that cashes in on Austen-mania, but that they become interactive paratexts which allow glimpses into moments of inspiration which in turn contribute to a new cultural awareness. Literary tourism creates landscapes that can contribute not only to an understanding of a new transnational cultural heritage, but an understanding of self. Literary locations are simultaneously a repository for historical authenticity and a series of imaginative representations of places or things. Today literary tourism may result from readers' desires to connect with the locations of a beloved novel, or find out what Austen was 'really like', but for visitors, historical and modern, the tour inspires travellers to imagine themselves within a particular narrative, whether it be a fictional narrative or a narrative of cultural ideology.
This article examines Robert Browning's and Henry James's writings to consider their responses to, and implication in, the production, circulation, and consumption of late nineteenth-century celebrity. For James, there were two Brownings – the private, unknowable genius and the social personality. From the time he first met Browning until 1912, James held to this theory in letters, essays, biography, and fiction; the Browning 'problem' became integral to James's fascinated engagement with other problems at the heart of celebrity culture. Both writers attacked celebrity discourses and practices (biography, interviews, literary tourism) that constructed the life as a vital source of meaning, thus threatening to displace the writer's work as privileged object of literary interpretation. Browning preceded James in insisting that the separation of public and private life was foundational to an impersonal aesthetics, and in exploring the fatal confusion between art and life that has been identified by theorists as central to celebrity culture.
the tourist, the guidebook, and the motorcar in The Remains of the Day
While debates on tourism have predominantly focused on the role played by literature or the cinema as creating the desire to travel to different sites and sights (Urry 2002), little has been written on what happens when the film adaptation itself is the tourist attraction; when the act of viewing a film is equivalent to a tourist practice. This film, like the other Merchant Ivory productions, is as much a tourist attraction as it is a film narrative. Both of these models of tourism (literary and cinematic) are, however, predicated upon a corporeal mobility of the tourist to a geographical location. This can be supplemented today by a virtual mobility via the cinema screen: a virtual English journey. The Remains of the Day thus brings together these varying discourses of tourism: travel literature; literary tourism; cinematic tourism; and finally the virtual tourism offered by the adaptation being showcased on the cinema screen. The trope of tourism can thus be appropriated to both constructions and deconstructions of myths of Englishness.