Busby, G. (c 2004) 'Representations of Cornwall in Fiction: the influence on tourism', [online] http://www. poldark.org.uk/papers.html
[This paper discusses the effects of literary tourism in Cornwall, and also offers a useful form of content analysis for literary work -- also developed in Busby (2003) '"A true Cornish treasure": Gunwalloe and the Cornish church as visitor attraction' in Payton, (ed) Cornish Studies Eleven: 168 - 91, Exeter: University of Exeter Press]
Tourists were contacted by leaving a message on the Poldark website, asking whether anyone had visited Cornwall specifically because of the Poldark books and television series. 8 'lengthy' responses were obtained from a number of countries.
There are a number of representations of Cornwall ranging from the 16th century. These can be seen as establishing the Cornish as Celtic Others, often living in a spiritual and romantic world of their own, and usually seen as 'inferior to the racially superior Anglo-Saxon' [no page numbers]. However, there are competing definitions, and recent renegotiations and redefinitions, as Hale points out, some of which attempt to develop a different [even empowering] sense of otherness. The county has provided a location material for fiction writers, partly because of its remarkable landscape, which includes ancient monuments, medieval churches, scenic coastline and high moreland. There is a clear potential for 'commodification for tourist consumption'. More recent writers have noted this, especially for Celticity, in the Republic of Ireland, for example. Literature can 'help create a tourism identity'
Literature has recently been used deliberately to promote the tourism site. There seem to be different forms of literary tourism (citing Butler 1986):
1. Homage to an actual location, such as Jamaica Inn, or, in the case of 'Lawrence of Arabia', something more general which allegedly presents the background. Popular novelists do have an effect -- 'Pocock's (1992) research on Catherine Cookson Country identified that 40 of 57... "literary pilgrims"... had previously read the work of the novelist'. [what about ordinary tourists?].
2. Places of significance in the work of fiction -- such as the Tarka Trail. The places are often not given geographical locations, however, and may be a 'composite creation' as is Poldark Country itself.
3. Areas that appeal to literary figures -- writers on the south coast, writers' Britain.
4. Places that seem to have been created in response to a popular work. 'a classic example, in Britain, is Westward Ho!', an 'upmarket seaside resort... in North Devon' created after the publication of Kingsley's novel in 1854. This may lay behind the creation of areas that become 'Countries'-- 'Hardy Country, Catherine Cookson Country, and Agatha Christie Country' [all in the West Country].
5. Busby and Klug suggest that travel-writing of all kinds can influence tourism decision-making, from guidebooks to semi fictionalised accounts. This writing appeals to non- scholarly tourists with a range of motivations.
6. Busby adds 'film induced tourism'. People can watch the film, then buy the book, then visit the location. DuMaurier's Rebecca might be an example. More 'on site empirical research' is needed especially in this category.
Cornwall has long been associated with fiction writers, from DH Lawrence to more contemporary writers are often set their stories in Cornwall -- including 'Susan Howatch [Pemarric], Winston Graham [Poldark] Victoria Hall, Mary Williams, and Mary Lide'. The first two were televised and were very successful. However it is du Maurier and Winston Graham who are analysed in more detail. Ironically, neither were Cornish themselves.
Some writers assume they had great significance in constructing modern Cornwall, which is debatable, but least they have been used in local marketing. [a list of du Maurier's novels and some literary comments upon them follow]. Local labelling of various sites have led to 'a spirit of hyperreality' [drawing upon Eco, but without the criticism of excessive communication and its effects?] Whether the work is authentic in depicting actual Cornish culture is debatable, and certainly recently, Jamaica Inn 'has, in real life, suffered the dead hand of Disneyfication as Horner and Zlosnic (1988) put it'.
Winston Graham has been a very successful writer with the Poldark saga. [Less detail here, presumably because the work is published on the Poldark website itself?] His themes include social and political history. Both authors can be seen as offering all six forms of literary tourism as above.
The responses to the question about visiting Cornwall were analysed, and lengthy quotations follow. A number of themes apparently emerged, including the importance of non-fiction in literary tourism (especially a popular autobiography-- the Minack Chronicles); loyalty to a location, important in repeat visits; childhood and nostalgia; location seeking, working out the location of places from fictionalised accounts; multiple motivations in general.
Overall, 'Some fiction has, undoubtedly, influenced tourist decision making', especially if novels get televised or filmed. [However, the audience research seems pretty tentative and preliminary]
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