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Literary transmissions and the fate of a topic: the continental spa in post-1840 British, Russian and American writing

Morgan, BD; (2014) Literary transmissions and the fate of a topic: the continental spa in post-1840 British, Russian and American writing. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Around 1840 the Continental watering place took off as a destination of international appeal—and as a topic in an internationalizing print culture. My thesis, drawing on a broad range of theories of intertextuality, uses the case of the waters to model the farrago of transmissions, contacts and collisions that go into the making of a common-place in discourse. In particular I show how writing from multiple genres and national literatures helped establish the spa's identity as a deeply ambivalent locus of encounter—a venue that both tickled and deflated cosmopolitan ambition. Key points of reference include Dostoevskii'sThe Gambler, Edmund Yates's sensation novel Black Sheep (both 1867) and Henry James's spa fiction (‘Eugene Pickering’, Roderick Hudson and Confidence)—but also Punch and the Russian satirical journal The Alarm Clock (Budilk’nik), the travel writing of Joel Tyler Headley and Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin, and Murray's Handbook for Travellers on the Continent. The elaboration of a topic is above all an exercise in collective (if not concerted) sign-making; and like any potent sign, I suggest with reference to temporally outlying works of resort fiction by Bruce Chatwin, Mikhail Tsypkin and W.G. Sebald, the nineteenth century's 'watering-place text' stubbornly refuses confinement to the age that produced it.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Literary transmissions and the fate of a topic: the continental spa in post-1840 British, Russian and American writing
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1457530
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