A Brief History of British Travel Writing
Author: Jessica Ruzek
Travel writing, as a mode and practice in nineteenth and twentieth century England, grew out of a complex set of circumstances. Its emergence developed from increasing capitalist sensibilities and the rise of the middle class, both concurrent with a growing imperial ethic that pervaded British social consciousness. The increasing affordability of touring resulted from the advent of leisure among the middle classes and from innovations in steamship and railway technologies. Tourism, as it developed, commercialized people’s relationship with the land, making travel less about exploring hitherto unknown regions and more about the possession of those lands through one’s experience of and mediation with it. Travel writing developed from these commercial and imperial enterprises, leading to a genre that is fundamentally inseparable from the colonial project which motivated its origins.