Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Committee Member

Dr. Gregory Ramshaw, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. William Norman

Committee Member

Dr. Cameron Bushnell

Committee Member

Dr. Lauren Duffy

Committee Member

Dr. Kenneth Backman

Abstract

Books and travel are inseparable. From inspiring destination choices to offering vacationers a diversion during their journeys, books and other literature have long been a part of the travel experience. In many cases, thousands of tourists trek to places of literary importance in order to participate in literature-inspired activities such as wading in the serene waters of Walden Pond (Mass. State Parks, 2015), jump frogs in the real Calaveras County (Calaveras County, 2015), and go fly-fishing in the actual river from A River Runs Through It (Hepworth, 1992). However, in many cases these tourist “performances” also appear to be reliant upon the settings where they take place (see Goffman, 1959; Lefebvre, 1974; Massey, 1993). Despite a growing public interest in literary tourism, few studies have explored the relationship between literature, place, and performance, particularly at literary festivals. Using a qualitative multi-case study design (Yin, 2014), this research project explores the connections between literary places, tourist performances, and literary works, finding that literature, place, and tourist performance are closely related concepts that mutually reinforce one another. The layering of literary meaning on physical places created liminal spaces wherein participation in certain performances allowed tourists to feel as if they had "jumped into" the related book. While literature worked to bind place with the site-specific performances described in the texts, and, in turn implored visitors to engage in similar activities, it was the general idea of the literary connection rather than any specific aspect of the inspirational literary work itself that was important in motivating their participation. Likewise, the destinations themselves adopted and disseminated their literary legacies in various ways. Despite these place distinctions visitors were most influenced by engagement in the literary performances themselves, which afforded visitors familiar with the related literary work a richer understanding of the text, and sparked interest in the related works amongst festival attendees both familiar and unfamiliar with the associated text thus indicating that tourism may impact other cultural phenomena, and highlighting how tourists are actively using aesthetics to supplement their understanding of place and enrich their travel experiences. Finally, a matrix delineating literary tourism experiences based on a destination's relationship with the literature connected to it and a tourist’s familiarity with the same literary work is suggested as a means of further exploring the phenomena. Together, the results of this study begin to reveal how literature, place, and text are interconnected and related to literary tourism while also providing a framework for future research examining the motivations for, expectations of, and impacts resulting from the phenomena of literary tourism.

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