Balearic Visions: The Shifting Image of the Balearic Islands in the Travel Accounts of British Visitors (1903-1939)

Eduardo Moya Anton (2011). Balearic Visions: The Shifting Image of the Balearic Islands in the Travel Accounts of British Visitors (1903-1939) PhD Thesis, School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies, The University of Queensland.

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Author Eduardo Moya Anton
Thesis Title Balearic Visions: The Shifting Image of the Balearic Islands in the Travel Accounts of British Visitors (1903-1939)
School, Centre or Institute School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-09
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr Roberto Esposto
Dr Juliana De Nooy
Prof Dr Alfredo Martinez-Exposito
Total pages 241
Total colour pages 2
Total black and white pages 239
Language eng
Subjects 200211 Postcolonial Studies
200209 Multicultural, Intercultural and Cross-cultural Studies
200524 Comparative Literature Studies
Abstract/Summary This project is a comparative literary and cultural study of the textual and visual images of the Balearic Islands provided by British travellers from 1903 to 1939. Nowadays the Balearic Islands represent an important reference in the imagination of leisure and tourism in contemporary Europe. Critics have established the first decades of the twentieth century as being the beginning of the tourist industry on the islands. Since those days, however, the image of the islands has shifted, and has developed considerably from a quiet and pastoral winter resort to a popular destination for pleasure-seeking tourists and “sea ’n’ sun” tourism. Taking these last representations as a starting point, the thesis travels back in time to explain how, why and by whom these images were created/shifted/developed and the discourses that sustained them. In order to analyse the evolution and shifts in the representation of the Balearics, the method of analysis followed has been that of imagology, within the field of comparative literature. This analytical approach studies the images, stereotypes, clichés and prejudices that a nation expresses about other nations in literature, art or other forms of expression. Imagology is particularly useful in studying travel accounts, since it not only considers the tools of literary analysis, but also those of historical and cultural studies, with regard to topics like identity, tradition and national stereotypes. After an analysis of contextual factors and sensibilities in Great Britain and in the Balearics, this thesis looks at how the travel narratives adopted already existing images and recreated them or proposed new ones. The depiction and the evolution of topics like ‘travel’, ‘tourism’, ‘authenticity’, ‘landscape’, ‘South’, ‘North’, ‘margin’, ‘centre’, ‘locality’, ‘people’, ‘costumes’ and ‘customs’ have been scrutinized in order to establish their contribution to the formulation of a Balearic identity in the first third of the twentieth century. In the first decade of the twentieth century, the images recreate Romantic travel accounts in which the South/Mediterranean represents an indolent yet passionate marginal world. British travellers to the islands depict an Oriental paradise undiscovered by the tourist. Edwardian travellers, in the first decade of the twentieth century, construct a utopian Southern space that represents the ancient values lost in an industrialized home. After the First World War, travellers to the islands seek individualistic experiences to fulfil the exotic fantasies and dreams of which they were deprived during the war. These discourses of leisure lead to the construction of an ultra-exotic place consecrated to pleasure. The islands, however, did not all suffer the same pattern of representation. This thesis explains why discourses sustain some places as exotically marginal while others are rejected as commonplace. The outcome of this study is significant since here has been very little previous research on tourism to the Balearics in the early twentieth century. This thesis explains the discursive elements that have sustained the Balearics as a consistent and continuous textual recreation as a place of leisure and pleasure. This helps the cultural analyst to understand certain contemporary social practices and imagery that are nowadays associated with the islands. The results of this study are relevant for the academic fields of travel literature, history of tourism, cultural history, comparative studies, sociology, cultural anthropology and, more broadly, the history of ideas.
Keyword Representation, British travel, national stereotypes, imagology, tourism, Mediterranean, Balearic Islands, twentieth century.
Additional Notes colour pages: 12-13

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Created: Sat, 31 Mar 2012, 17:38:40 EST by Mr Eduardo Moya Anton on behalf of Library - Information Access Service