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.
``The Beaten Track' is the best book I know that deals with the phenomenon in nineteenth-century Britain and America. ... This is a book that everyone interested in ninetheenth-century and modern British and American culture should read.'
Patrick Brantlinger, Professor of English, Indiana University
``The Beaten Track is rich in historical detail and literary quotation, with provoking speculations on "gendered geography", capitalism and leisure, and political anxieties about crowds.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
`As literary and cultural history the book is a rich offering ... this is a scholarly and creative book which has something to say to social historians.'
Anthony Sutcliffe, University of Leicester, Social History Society Bulletin, Autumn 1993
`His book amply illustrates the important role of literature in structuring and interpreting - in an endless circle of influence - the world of the nineteenth-century tourist.'
Patricia Jasen, Lakehead University, Victorian Review, Winter 1993, Vol. 19, No. 2
`James Buzard provides a thorough and searching analysis of the cultural implications of the expansion of European travel during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Buzard is concerned not just to record the huge growth in nineteenth-century tourism, but to examine how this important development in the experience of more and more people carried after it sociocultural consequences.'
Byron Journal '94
``Elegant' is the epithet that recurs in tributes to this fascinating book. It seems both apposite and misleading. Exact, in the scientist's sense of powerful economy: a thesis which accounts satisfactorily for its data. Inadequate, however, to James Buzard's impressive range. His title barely indicates the scope of this work.'
RES New Series XLVI 184
Tourist and traveller in the network of 19th-century travel; tourism and anti-tourism - conventions and strategies; a scripted continent - British and American travel-writers in Europe, c. 1825-1875; ambivalent appropriations - culture and the tourist in James; Forster's trespasses - tourism and cultural politics; epilogue.