American Travel Literature, Gendered Aesthetics, and the Italian Tour, 1824–62

Bailey 2018, American travel literature

by Brigitte Bailey

Edinburgh Critical Studies in Atlantic Literatures and Cultures
Edinburgh University Press (April 2018)

"American Travel Literature" analyses U.S. tourist writings about Italy from 1824 to 1862 to explain what roles transatlantic travel, aesthetic response, and the genre of tourist writing played in the formation of the United States. Its interdisciplinary methodology draws on antebellum visual culture, tourist practices, and shifting class and gender identities to describe tourism and tourist writing as shapers of an elite (and then normative) national subjectivity.

Bringing perspectives from art history and aesthetics, the book historicises aesthetic practices by tracing nineteenth-century U.S. representations of Italy. It draws connections between tourist writing and visual culture as means of understanding the depth of Americans’ turn towards visual iconography in articulating social and national identities.

Information on UNH Faculty: Brigitte Bailey