Kennen Sie schon … die Datenbank „Travel in Victorian Periodicals“?

Screenshot der Website zur Datenbank "Travel in Victorian Periodicals" ( (Stand 22.1.2024)

Die „TVPD“ ist aus einem Forschung­spro­jekt an der Uni Freiburg her­vorge­gan­gen:

Vic­to­ri­an trav­el writ­ing has been exten­sive­ly stud­ied for books, but the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of trav­el in peri­od­i­cals – in the form of trav­el­ogues, topo­graph­i­cal descrip­tions and trav­el advice, in lengthy arti­cles as well as short notes – has received lit­tle atten­tion. It can be claimed, though, that peri­od­i­cals had a greater impact on the Vic­to­ri­an cul­ture of trav­el than books because they were a medi­um of dai­ly life, addressed dif­fer­ent sec­tions of soci­ety, and engaged with trav­el in media-spe­cif­ic forms. With their own media log­ic, Vic­to­ri­an peri­od­i­cals played a major role in accom­mo­dat­ing their read­ers to the dis­cours­es and prac­tices of con­tem­po­rary trav­el.

The data­base focus­es on four wide­ly read peri­od­i­cals:

  • The Leisure Hour (1852–1905) was a long-lived and influ­en­tial fam­i­ly mag­a­zine with a great num­ber of trav­el-relat­ed arti­cles. Dur­ing its first two decades, the Leisure Hour’s address encom­passed read­ers of the mid­dle as well as the work­ing class­es.
  • Good Words (1860–1910) was a fam­i­ly mag­a­zine addressed to mid­dle-class read­ers. Like the Leisure Hour it cul­ti­vat­ed a Protes­tant tone.
  • The Englishwoman’s Domes­tic Mag­a­zine (1852–1882) was addressed to mid­dle-class female read­ers and sit­u­at­ed trav­el in the mid­dle-class female life­world, also reflect­ing the cul­tur­al con­straints to which women’s trav­el was exposed.
  • The Boy’s Own Paper (1879–1967) was tar­get­ed at young male read­ers. Its engage­ment with trav­el was embed­ded in an envi­ron­ment of fic­tion and non-fic­tion pre­oc­cu­pied with mas­cu­line adven­ture and ath­leti­cism.

The entries in the data­base show that these peri­od­i­cals had dif­fer­ent trav­el pro­files, i.e. they rep­re­sent­ed trav­el with dif­fer­ent fre­quen­cies and with dif­fer­ent bias­es, depend­ing on the inter­ests of their own­ers and edi­tors and those of the audi­ences they pri­mar­i­ly addressed. These trav­el pro­files also changed over time, reflect­ing, for exam­ple, how cer­tain trav­el des­ti­na­tions and modes of trav­el became unfash­ion­able and were replaced by oth­ers.

The data­base oper­ates with inter­vals for each peri­od­i­cal, and it is pos­si­ble to com­pare the peri­od­i­cals by year of appear­ance.

For each sin­gle item, the data­base gives bib­li­o­graph­i­cal data and a brief sum­ma­ry of con­tent. It is not­ed whether an item is illus­trat­ed or not, and whether it is part of a ser­i­al or series. Seri­al­i­sa­tion enabled peri­od­i­cals to pub­lish long trav­el­ogues, but it is an asset of peri­od­i­cals that the ‘small’ form of the sin­gle arti­cle allows descrip­tion of minor kinds of trav­el that are rarely depict­ed in the form of the book.

Items are fur­ther cat­e­gorised for their dom­i­nant mode of rep­re­sen­ta­tion: a major dis­tinc­tion is that between report, i.e. nar­ra­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tion, and descrip­tion, most­ly place descrip­tion. Oth­er items offer trav­el-relat­ed advice, deal with the his­to­ry of trav­el or present the biog­ra­phy of a trav­eller. One should keep in mind, though, that modes of rep­re­sen­ta­tion are fre­quent­ly mixed.

Cat­e­gori­sa­tion of items accord­ing to geo­graph­i­cal region is sim­i­lar­ly com­plex due to chang­ing his­tor­i­cal, polit­i­cal and socio-cul­tur­al cir­cum­stances. The clas­si­fi­ca­tion in the data­base is there­fore broad, but it gives a first indi­ca­tion of the major regions of trav­el dur­ing the Vic­to­ri­an peri­od and how they were asso­ci­at­ed with spe­cif­ic kinds of trav­el. Pre­cise loca­tions are named in the con­tent descrip­tions of the respec­tive items. 

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