Deadline: March 31, 2014
Dates: September 17-18, 2014
Location: Bangor University (North Wales)
The long nineteenth century was marked by a growing hunger to experience or read about travel. In Britain, for example, the period following Waterloo saw the development of the tourist industry and ‘Travels and Voyages’ was a particularly popular literary genre. Armed with guidebooks and timetables a growing number of middle-class tourists left the comfort of their drawing rooms to experience the sublime, the beautiful and the picturesque in the highlands of Scotland, the mountains of North Wales, or the Lake and Peak Districts. Those in search of the refined and fashionable chose instead to visit the houses and gardens of the aristocracy, or promenaded through the seaside resorts and spa-towns. Some went further afield, armed with works on continental Europe, Africa, India and the ever exotic ‘East’. Many more remained at home to peruse the printed memoirs, manuscript letters and journals supplied by those who had recorded their adventures. As the century progressed, the importance of leisure helped spur the growth of railways, daytrips and package holidays. Throughout the period 1780-1914 travel literature and the goods needed for travelling (from wraps for warmth on the train, to medicines to fight tropical diseases) were an important part of an increasingly commodified society. This conference aims to explore the material cultures of travel.
Located between the mountains of Snowdonia and the Menai Straits, Bangor University is an ideal setting for this conference. The University boasts a fine collection of travel books, including a rare copy of the special extra-illustrated edition of Pennant’s Tour in Wales, and there will be an exhibition of books, maps and periodicals to accompany the conference. Abstracts (max 500 words) for papers of twenty minutes duration should be sent along with a short biography to Dr Maureen McCue (firstname.lastname@example.org) by March 31, 2014.