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Journeys in the Sun: Travel Literature and Desire in the Balearic Islands (1903–1939)

Second edition

Eduard Moyà

The Mediterranean and the Balearic Islands have always enticed the minds of British travellers. In the first years of the twentieth century, the tourist industry made the islands accessible for a wide number of visitors, who depicted them in pictures and words. In the following decades, however, the image of the islands shifted and developed considerably from a quiet and pastoral winter resort to a popular destination for pleasure-seeking tourists and "sea ‘n’ sun" tourism. Taking these last representations as a starting point, this book travels back in time to explain how, by whom and why these images were created/shifted/developed to articulate the ultimate place of leisure and pleasure signified in today’s Majorca and Ibiza. The depiction and the evolution of topics such as ‘travel’, ‘tourism’, ‘authenticity’, ‘landscape’, ‘South’, ‘North’, ‘margin’, ‘centre’, ‘exoticism’, ‘people’, ‘costumes’ and ‘customs’ are examined in order to establish their contribution to the formulation of the ‘Balearic paradise’ in the first third of the twentieth century. This book will help the reader to understand the imagery associated with the islands today.

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Chapter 3. Dreamed Landscapes and Real Playgrounds




In 1986, the iconic travel writer of the twentieth century, Bruce Chatwin, wrote a letter to friend Diana Melly expressing his wish to find a place taken out of his surroundings to finish his ‘Australian’ book. This place should provide the writer with all the time of the world and he should live under no extravagant expenses. This is what he wrote:

I am to sell the flat and look for a bolt-hole, somewhere in the Mediterranean, to work in: a place where I can lock the door and go in at any time of the year. […] I have the feeling that the fatal thing is to go for somewhere ‘unspoiled’—as if one isn’t a spoiler oneself—because it takes so much money and emotional effort to keep it unspoiled. I wonder whether those mountain villages in Majorca might not be bad […]. (Chatwin 2011: 436)

Decades earlier, poet Robert Graves wrote: “I chose [the mountains of] Majorca as my home, a quarter of a century ago [in 1929], because its climate had the reputation of being better than any other in Europe. And because I was assured, correctly it proved, that I could live there on a quarter of the income needed in England” (Graves and Hogarth 1954: 7). The poet added that he found everything he wanted as a background to his work as a writer: “sun, sea, mountains, spring water, shady trees,...

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