Books and Travel Inspiration, Quests and Transformation Author: Jennifer Laing, Warwick Frost

Paperback - 224 pages
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20 Jul 2012
Tourism and Cultural Change
Channel View Publications
210 x 148


The books that we read, whether travel-focused or not, may influence the way in which we understand the process or experience of travel. This multidisciplinary work provides a critical analysis of the inspirational and transformational role that books play in travel imaginings. Does reading a book encourage us to think of travel as exotic, adventurous, transformative, dangerous or educative? Do different genres of books influence a reader's view of travel in multifarious ways? These questions are explored through a literary analysis of an eclectic selection of books spanning the period from the eighteenth century to the present day. Genres covered include historical fiction, children's books, westerns, science-fiction and crime fiction.


I have read this book with great pleasure. Laing and Frost make a valuable contribution to a fascinating, fast-growing research domain. Based on a textual analysis of a wide range of literary genres, they show how literature – more than any other medium – stimulates the imagination and creates wanderlust among its readers. I can recommend this work to all scholars interested in the relationship between literature and travel.

- Stijn Reijnders, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

An enjoyable, broad (though structured) sweep across the spectrum of literary genres, this volume is a welcomed, quirky exploration of 'books and travel'- one that instils in the interested reader the desire to (re)visit many of the classic novels and accounts covered here. And to do so from a more insightful, reflective perspective.

- Brian Wheeller, Visiting Professor, NHTV Breda, The Netherlands

An interesting gallop through the analogues of literature and tourism, with a chapter on the connections, proposed by theorists, between structural analysis of literary texts and travel narratives, followed by thumbnail synopses of 100+ works of fiction exemplifying them. A useful quick fix for non-readers of fiction, and those less familiar with more canonical works on literary/travel theory.

- Tony Seaton, University of Limerick, Ireland

Books and travel: inspiration, quests, and transformation is an excellent addition to the tourism literature.

- Young-joo Ahn, Clemson University, USA

This book is a welcome addition to the tourism canon because it clearly illustrates how travel is depicted in literature and speculates as to
what the implication of those depictions might be. The authors also contribute a new dimension to the ongoing discussion of whether travel is, in fact, a transformative endeavor by illustrating that it is portrayed as such in most works of literature. This notion and their examination of the literature thus leave us to ponder whether literature actually raises a tourist’s expectations past the point of reality, therefore remaining perpetually unsatisfied. Thus, I recommend this book for anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of how travel expectations or tourist motivations are formed, how sense of place is constructed, the relationship between travel and the imagination, or how travel in general or heritage tourism in particular is influenced by both books and literature.

- Tourism Analysis, Vol. 19, pp. 257–260 - Alana N. Seaman, Clemson University, USA

I am fond of this book being used by researchers in the field of tourism for three primary reasons: the literature review is well done and exemplifies the most outstanding research in the field, the text is accessible for Master's students and those who are new to the field of tourism as well as new to this line of inquiry (narratives stemming from film and books in pop culture), and the book serves as more than a re-hashing of others' ideas and offers new insights within the field.

- Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change - Justin M. Taillon, University of Guelph, Canada

Author Biography:

Jennifer Laing is a Senior Lecturer in Tourism and Events at Monash University and Warwick Frost is an Associate Professor in Tourism and coordinator of the Events programs at La Trobe University. Their joint research interests include heritage, events, travel narratives, and the interaction between media, popular culture and tourism. They are co-convenors of the biennial International Tourism and Media Conferences.

Readership Level:

General, Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

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