Hidden Texts, Hidden Nation
The growth in the popularity of Wales as travel destination in the late eighteenth century is sketched, while the relative ‘invisibility’ of Wales in travel writing as well as in scholarship is noted. ‘Europe’ is presented as a fluid entity, and the ‘nationalities’ of the travellers discussed is problematized (e.g. a number of the French travellers studied identify as Breton, and the notion of ‘Germany’ encompasses numerous states and political alliances over time). Since Wales’s ‘Celticness’ is a major theme for travellers throughout the periods under discussion, the changing uses of the term ‘Celtic’ (and its derivatives) are explored. Wales is positioned as a case study or an exemplar of a particular type of relationship between peripheral and hegemonic culture(s), through a discussion of general theoretical issues surrounding the ethics of travel, the contact zone and the notion of the travellee. This draws on work by Cronin on minorities, Forsdick on ethics, Pratt on the contact zone and travellees, and Urbain on endotic/exotic travel.
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