Are We There Yet?: Virtual Travel and Victorian Realism

Overview

Are We There Yet? Virtual Travel and Victorian Realism connects the Victorian fascination with "virtual travel" with the rise of realism in nineteenth-century fiction and twenty-first-century experiments in virtual reality. Even as the expansion of river and railway networks in the nineteenth century made travel easier than ever before, staying at home and fantasizing about travel turned into a favorite pastime. New ways of representing place—360-degree panoramas, foldout river maps, exhaustive railway ...

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Overview

Are We There Yet? Virtual Travel and Victorian Realism connects the Victorian fascination with "virtual travel" with the rise of realism in nineteenth-century fiction and twenty-first-century experiments in virtual reality. Even as the expansion of river and railway networks in the nineteenth century made travel easier than ever before, staying at home and fantasizing about travel turned into a favorite pastime. New ways of representing place—360-degree panoramas, foldout river maps, exhaustive railway guides—offered themselves as substitutes for actual travel. Thinking of these representations as a form of "virtual travel" reveals a surprising continuity between the Victorian fascination with imaginative dislocation and twenty-first -century efforts to use digital technology to expand the physical boundaries of the self.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement - Alicia Rix
"If the 'idea of narrative as a kind of journey is as old as literature,' Alison Byerly attends to this intuitive truth in fresh ways, marking a departure from studies which take the process of 'getting there' for granted."
Times Literary Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472051861
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 10/31/2012
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Alison Byerly is President of Lafayette College.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Travel and the Art of the Real 1

Part 1 Going Nowhere! Panoramic Travel 29

1 A Room with a View: The Victorian Panorama 35

2 The Passing Scene: Moving Panoramas 41

3 Wish You Were Here: Marketing the Experience 47

4 Watching the Grand Tour 55

5 Moving Pictures: The View from a Balloon 59

6 Surveying the Scene: The Panoramic Gaze 66

7 The Hypothetical Tourist 70

Part 2 Total Immersion: Navigating the Thames 83

1 No Place Like Home: The Thames as England 87

2 Journey to the Interior 97

3 You Are Here: The Guided Tour 104

4 Blogging the Trip: Three Men in a Boat 111

5 Back to the Future: News from Nowhere 117

6 River of Oblivion: The London Thames 122

7 Change of Pace: The Rush toward Leisure 134

Part 3 High-Speed Connection: The Railway Network 143

1 Frankenstein's Monster: The Cyborg Engine 152

2 Neither Here nor There: The Body in Transit 154

3 User's Manuals: The Railway Guide 167

4 Chat Rooms: The Social Space of Trains 173

5 Game Over: The Railway Journey as Dream and Nightmare 181

6 The Matrix: Railway Junctions as Non-Spaces 187

7 World Wide Web: Information Networks in Sherlock Holmes and Dracula 190

8 Moving through Media 200

Conclusion 204

Notes 209

Works Cited 225

Index 245

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