Sheppard on Berghoff and Korte and Schneider and Harvie, 'The Making of Modern Tourism: The Cultural History of the British Experience, 1600 -2000'

Hartmut Berghoff, Barbara Korte, Ralf Schneider, Christopher Harvie, eds.
Kathleen Sheppard

Hartmut Berghoff, Barbara Korte, Ralf Schneider, Christopher Harvie, eds. The Making of Modern Tourism: The Cultural History of the British Experience, 1600 -2000. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. 310 pp. $149.99 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-333-97114-7

Reviewed by Kathleen Sheppard (Missouri University of Science and Technology) Published on H-Environment (June, 2020) Commissioned by Daniella McCahey (Texas Tech University)

Printable Version:

Review of The Making of Modern Tourism: The Cultural History of the British Experience, 1600 -2000

When I was asked to review this book, the editor and I both noticed that the original publication date was 2002—almost twenty years ago. Twenty years can be an eternity in scholarly time, with new ideas, theories, and arguments, and new foundational texts superseding the previous ones. I read this book as though it were brand-new scholarship for review, as I was not doing anything close to history of tourism in 2002 and had never read this book. I also read it with two main questions in mind: Does this work stand the test of time? Where does it fit in the current state of the field?

This volume contains an introduction and thirteen separate chapters, organized chronologically. Even though they cover around four hundred years of travel history, the first and last chapters tie the whole volume together by talking about tourism and the making of the British identity. It can be onerous to attempt to talk about each chapter in detail, and other reviews have already done that.[1] So here is a list of the chapters, with their authors, in order they appear in the book:

Hartmut Berghoff and Barbara Korte, "Britain and the Making of Modern Tourism: An  Interdisciplinary Approach"; Helga Quadflieg, "Approved Civilities and the Fruits of Peregrination Elizabethan and Jacobean Travellers and the Making of Englishness"; Chloe Chard, "From the Sublime to the Ridiculous: The Anxieties of Sightseeing"; Stephen Prickett, "Circles and Straight Lines Romantic Versions  of Tourism"; Gerhard Stilz, "Heroic Travellers—Romantic Landscapes: The Colonial Sublime in Indian, Australian and American Art and Literature"; John K. Walton, "British Tourism Between Industrialization and Globalization—An Overview"; John Beckerson, "Marketing British Tourism Government Approaches to the Stimulation of a Service Sector, 1880-1950"; Hartmut Berghoff, "From Privilege to Commodity? Modern Tourism and the Rise of the Consumer Society"; Sue Wright, "Sun, Sea, Sand and Self-Expression: Mass Tourism as an Individual Experience"; Christopher Harvie, "Engineer's Holiday: L. T. C. Rolt, Industrial Heritage and Tourism"; Alexander C. T. Geppert, "True Copies—Time and Space Travels at British Imperial Exhibitions, 1880-1930"; Tobias Döring, "Travelling in Transience: The Semiotics of Necro-Tourism"; Eveline Mian, "Exploring London Walking the City—(Re-)Writing the City"; Barbara Korte, "Julian Barnes, England, England Tourism as a Critique of Postmodernism."

Some chapters clearly fit in the discipline of the history of tourism and others are clearly literary criticism; a number are some combination of both. Berghoff and Korte's introductory chapter attempts to situate tourism history within the broader field of history. They argue that tourism history is truly interdisciplinary because tourism itself "has always offered a more comprehensive set of culturally pre-constructed promises" (p. 7). The chapters then flow largely chronologically, from Quadflieg's Elizabethan and Jacobean travelers in the seventeenth century to Prickett's and Stilz's chapters on Romantic writers and travelers. These travelers went as far as India and the Americas, searching for an education and a view of the sublime. Other chapters, such as Harvie's discussion of holidays for engineers, focus on travel within Britain, and how different economic classes were able to travel, even for a few days not far from home. Definitions of traveler, tourist, and "tripper" abound throughout.

One question from above is important here: does this work, and the chapters within it, stand the test of time? Yes, absolutely. The whole volume is focused on the British experience, which can be problematic and difficult to grapple with. Throughout the chapters, authors present multiple viewpoints and frameworks of analysis. This only adds to the strength of the volume. The most important chapter, to me, in terms of siting this volume is John Walton's "British Tourism Between Industrialization and Globalization—An Overview." Here, he gives readers a "current state" overview and says that it is "lively and expansive" (p. 126). This chapter could be the introduction to the book, and readers who are newly coming into tourism history would do well to start here.  

One of the weaknesses is the fact that there are multiple definitions of "tourist" given by many of the authors throughout the book. Some definitions are quoted directly from the Oxford English Dictionary; others are defined in the context of the chapter. As an editor of a recently published multiauthor volume, I understand it can be difficult to avoid repetition throughout the chapters. However, here, the multiple definitions of the central topic of the book is an editorial guideline that is easy enough to establish. There is also a distinct lack of any discussion of travel to Egypt, where Thomas Cook's now-defunct company firmly established a foothold by 1880. Some of the chapters mention Cook, but none mention travel to Egypt. 

Where does this volume fit in the current state of the field? One argument that flows through the chapters is that these scholars would like to see tourism history be taken more seriously within the discipline of history. It is clear that part of the goal of this volume is to see tourism history take its rightful place. Despite some of the minor critiques the volume has received over the years, this review included, there is no doubt that the book has been widely used in the discipline as a foundational text. Dozens of articles and books have cited this one as an introduction to tourism history.

In the editorial introduction to the inaugural volume of the Journal of Tourism History, Walton argues that historians' recognition of tourism as central to historical analysis "has been unduly long in arriving, but we can now see exciting developments taking place in a variety of settings" (p. 1).[2] Tourism history is, as Walton and others have argued, interdisciplinary. It is political, economic, social, cultural, industrial history. Tourism is gendered and dependent on interpersonal relationships. It is the human experience. While this volume has helped to pave the way for more in-depth and specialized histories of tourism all over the world, it is a necessary source for anyone getting into the field.


[1]. Alastair J. Durie, review of The Making of Modern Tourism: The Cultural History of the British Experience, 1600-2000 by Hartmut Berghoff, Barbara Korte, Ralph Schneider, and Christopher Harvie, eds., Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies 35, no. 3 (Autumn 2003): 488-89.

[2]. John K. Walton, "Editorial: Welcome to the Journal of Tourism History," Journal of Tourism History 1, no. 1 (March 2009): 1-6.

Citation: Kathleen Sheppard. Review of Berghoff, Hartmut; Korte, Barbara; Schneider, Ralf; Harvie, Christopher, eds., The Making of Modern Tourism: The Cultural History of the British Experience, 1600 -2000. H-Environment, H-Net Reviews. June, 2020. URL:

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