Anglo-American Travelers and the Hotel Experience in Nineteenth-Century Literature : Nation, Hospitality, Travel Writing book cover
1st Edition

Anglo-American Travelers and the Hotel Experience in Nineteenth-Century Literature
Nation, Hospitality, Travel Writing

ISBN 9780367878467
Published December 10, 2019 by Routledge
308 Pages

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Book Description

This volume examines the hotel experience of Anglo-American travelers in the nineteenth century from the viewpoint of literary and cultural studies as well as spatiality theory. Focusing on the social and imaginary space of the hotel in fiction, periodicals, diaries, and travel accounts, the essays shed new light on nineteenth-century notions of travel writing. Analyzing the liminal space of the hotel affords a new way of understanding the freedoms and restrictions felt by travelers from different social classes and nations. As an environment that forced travelers to reimagine themselves or their cultural backgrounds, the hotel could provide exhilarating moments of self-discovery or dangerous feelings of alienation. It could prove liberating to the tourist seeking an escape from prescribed gender roles or social class constructs. The book addresses changing notions of nationality, social class, and gender in a variety of expansive or oppressive hotel milieu: in the private space of the hotel room and in the public spaces (foyers, parlors, dining areas). Sections address topics including nationalism and imperialism; the mundane vs. the supernatural; comfort and capitalist excess; assignations, trysts, and memorable encounters in hotels; and women’s travels. The book also offers a brief history of inns and hotels of the time period, emphasizing how hotels play a large role in literary texts, where they frequently reflect order and disorder in a personal and/or national context. This collection will appeal to scholars in literature, travel writing, history, cultural studies, and transnational studies, and to those with interest in travel and tourism, hospitality, and domesticity.

Table of Contents


List of Figures


Monika M. Elbert and Susanne Schmid

PART I: Nationalism and Imperialism: The Hotel as Guidepost to National Interests

1 The Moral Economy of the Irish Hotel from the Union to the Famine

Melissa Fegan

2 English Inns and Hotels in Nineteenth-Century Fiction

Susanne Schmid

3 American Accommodation: Transatlantic Travel, Boardinghouse Settlers, and Hotel Culture

Tamara S. Wagner

Part II: The Mundane vs the Supernatural: Domesticity, Danger, or Mystery in Hotels

4 Hawthorne and Hotels in Great Britain

Frederick Newberry

5 A Tomb with a View: Supernatural Experiences in the Late Nineteenth Century’s Egyptian Hotels

Eleanor Dobson

6 Dark Hostelries: Gothic Hotels and Inns in the Long Nineteenth Century

Laurence Davies

PART III: From Comfort to Capitalist Excess: The Evolving Hotel Experience as Status Symbol

7 The Waldorf-Astoria and New York Society: Grand Hotel as Site of Modernity

Annabella Fick

8 Henry James and "the testimony of the hotel" to Transatlantic Encounters

Maureen E. Montgomery

9 Gilded-Age Hotel Culture and the Construction of American Leisure-Class Identity

Grace Tirapelle

PART IV: Assignations, Trysts, and Memorable Encounters in Hotels

10 The Inns of Romantic Drama

Frederick Burwick

11 George Eliot and George Henry Lewes: Respectable Adultery and Anonymous Celebrity

Kathleen McCormack

12 Edith Wharton’s American and French Hotels: A Permeable Private/Public Space

Carole M. Shaffer-Koros

PART V: Women’s Travels and the Hotel as Nexus between Private and Public Realms

13 "A Continual Recurrence of Bad Inns": Public Domesticity and Women’s Travel in the Early Nineteenth Century

Pam Perkins


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Monika Elbert is Professor of English and Distinguished University Scholar at Montclair State University, USA.

Susanne Schmid has taught at various universities and authored several books, among them the Helene Richter Award-winning Shelley's German Afterlives 1814–2000 (2007) and British Literary Salons of the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries (2013). She co-edited Drink in the eighteenth and nineteenth Centuries (2014).


Monika M. Elbert and Susanne Schmid’s Anglo-American Travelers and the Hotel Experience in Nineteenth-Century Literature: Nation, Hospitality, Travel Writing provides an exploration of the nineteenth-century hotel
culture that brings these anxieties to the fore. The essays in the volume offer historical and cultural approaches to the fiction, diaries, and travel accounts...Elbert and Schmid’s insightful introduction places the volume into context, giving the reader a rich history of hotels, those who traveled through them, and the ways in which these spaces have been written about in literature and contemporary hotel theory. - Reviewed by H. J. E. Champion, Edith Wharton Review