Cover image for Mark Twain, travel books, and tourism : the tide of a great popular movement
Mark Twain, travel books, and tourism : the tide of a great popular movement
Melton, Jeffrey Alan, 1962-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xv, 200 pages ; 24 cm.
The success of travel books and the failure of tourism -- Tourism and travel writing in the nineteenth century -- Touring the Old World : faith and leisure in The innocents abroad and A tramp abroad -- Touring the New World : the search for home in Roughing it and Life on the Mississippi -- Touring the round : imperialism and the failure of travel writing in Following the equator.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS1342.T73 M45 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Winner of the Elizabeth Agee Prize for best manuscript in American Literature

With the publication of The Innocents Abroad (1869), Mark Twain embarked on a long and successful career as the 19th century's best-selling travel writer. Jeffrey Melton treats Twain's travel narratives in depth, and in the context of his contemporary travel writers and a burgeoning tourism culture. As Melton shows, Twain's five major travel narratives-- The Innocents Abroad, Roughing It, Life on the Mississippi, A Tramp Abroad, and Following the Equator --demonstrate Twain's mastery and reinvention of the genre.

Author Notes

Jeffrey Alan Melton is Associate Professor of English at Auburn University Montgomery.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Critical discussion of travel in Twain's books has usually focused on the Holy Land chapters of The Innocents Abroad or the western parts of Roughing It. Most critics have operated on the "flawed canon" theory: Twain stuffed his books with filler, wrote them without shape or design, and trailed off into meaningless reportage and jumbled jokes in Following the Equator. Melton (Auburn Univ.) suggests a more positive and coherent approach that takes into account the travel writing of Twain's time and the expectations of his audience. Melton bases much of his analysis on theoretical criticism of tourism as such, making this something of an interdisciplinary study; he critiques the illusory nature of the tourist experience and the contradictions involved in being an "experimental" tourist. He argues that rather than shrinking from filler material, Twain's audience wanted it and expected the author to frame the experience much as travelers sometimes carried actual frames to isolate a beautiful scene. Using such details, Melton elaborates the contemporary logic of Twain's travel writing, offering a sensible, rationale approach to four seemingly disparate works. In Twain, the turn to exaggeration and burlesque gently parodies his audience's expectations. Worthwhile reading for humor scholars, Twainiacs, and those interested in travel and travel theory generally. Upper-division undergraduates and above. D. E. Sloane University of New Haven

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
1. The Success of Travel Books and the Failure of Tourismp. 1
2. Tourism and Travel Writing in the Nineteenth Centuryp. 16
3. Touring the Old World: Faith and Leisure in The Innocents Abroad and A Tramp Abroadp. 59
4. Touring the New World: The Search for Home in Roughing It and Life on the Mississippip. 95
5. Touring the Round: Imperialism and the Failure of Travel Writing in Following the Equatorp. 138
Notesp. 167
Works Citedp. 183
Selected Bibliographyp. 187
Indexp. 197