Constructing Cultural Tourism: John Ruskin and the Tourist Gaze

Author: Keith Hanley, John K. Walton

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This book is an interdisciplinary collaboration between a literary critic and cultural historian, which examines and recovers a radical and still urgent challenge to the industrialisation of cultural tourism from the work of John Ruskin. Ruskin exerted a formative influence on the definition and development of cultural tourism which was probably as significant as that, for example, of his contemporary Thomas Cook. The book assesses Ruskin's overall influence on the development of national and international tourism in the context of pre-existing expectations about tourism flows and cultural capital and alongside parallel and intersecting trends of the time; examines Ruskin's contribution to the tourist agenda at all social levels; and discusses Ruskin's significance for current debates in tourism studies, especially questions of the place of the 'canon' of traditional European cultural tourism in a post-modern tourist setting, and the various incarnations of 'heritage tourism'.

Best known as a writer and art critic, this study makes a compelling case for the importance of Ruskin as a key figure in inspiring and shaping cultural tourism whether in Europe or in England for the serious minded of all social classes.

As to be expected from Professors Hanley and Walton, this book offers a challenging examination of Ruskin's place in the history of British cultural tourism. However, it delivers far more than this; it brings a rich tapestry of historical experience to the understanding of contemporary European tourism. This rigorous and incisive critique of the role of Ruskin, the renowned 19th century polymath, is beautifully illustrated with pictorial and textual references; it is a must for scholars of tourism. It will also greatly benefit those whose studies include interpretation, leisure and outdoor education. It is written in a style which invites the reader to immerse themselves in a fascinating journey where new knowledge is unfolded in every chapter.

Hanley and Walton provide an historical and literary examination of Ruskin's influence on the development of cultural tourism--an aesthetic and novel appreciation of what the tourist sees rather than racing from place to place to visit as much as possible. Recommended for specialists, this work will create interest and debate among those working in the expanding field of tourism studies.

Choice July 2011 Vol. 48 No. 11

Keith Hanley is Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University where he directed the former Ruskin Centre for eight years. He has written monographs on Wordsworth and Ruskin, has edited many essay collections on nineteenth-century indisciplinarity, including, with Greg Kucich, Nineteenth-Century Worlds: Global Formations Past and Present (Routledge, 2008), and co-edits, with David Thomas, the quarterly journal Nineteenth-Century Contexts.

John K. Walton is an IKERBASQUE Research Professor in the Department of Contemporary History in the University of the Basque Country, based in Bilbao. He previously held chairs at Lancaster University, the University of Central Lancashire and Leeds Metropolitan University. He has published extensively on histories of regions, identities, resorts and tourism, especially in Britain, Spain, Belgium, France and the United States, and he contributes to debates on the role of history and 'heritage' in the regeneration of coastal resorts.

Chapter One: Introduction: The Joy of Travel

Chapter Two: The Ruskin Moment

Chapter Three: Sightseeing with Ruskin

Chapter Four: The Interpretation of Places

Chapter Five: Ruskin and Tourist Destinations

Chapter Six: Ruskin and Popular Tourism

Chapter Seven: Ruskin and the English Lakes: Brantwood as a Tourist Site

Chapter Eight: Concluding Reflections: Ruskin Against the Market

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