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Transportation and the Rise of Mass Tourism

travel poster
Work Projects Administration Poster Collection - Library of Congress Catalog        PD

Special Topics in English: Travel Literature

We all yearn to travel. But why? Where does this impulse to move from one geographic location to another come from? Different types of written texts: travelogues, poetry, essays, short fiction, novels and travel guides can shed light on these questions. Travel, however, suffuses the world we live in, not just in these texts but in an array of other material and artifacts. To help us better appreciate how travel is represented beyond the works of literature we’re studying, we will look to popular culture, specifically the tourism industry; exploring how travel was represented by the tourist industry during the period of that industry’s emergence and dominance as a powerful economic and imaginative force. 


What does it mean, what can it mean, what has it meant, to travel? Exploring beyond our commonplace understanding of travel to probe the nuances of travel and the implications of all kinds of travel, we will encounter different parts of the globe, different forms of transportation, many categories of travelers, and examine travel across time from the beginnings of global sea exploration in the name of commerce and colonization to the present day moment when travel is ubiquitous.