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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 5. Conclusion




In 1926 travel writer and novelist Rose Macaulay published Crewe Train, a social comedy of manners that criticised the highbrow intellectual circle of London. In the first pages of the novel, the reader perceives how the protagonist’s father, tired of the “so busy, so sociable” (1926: 3) English parish-life, decides to change his occupation and country for a quieter life: “He recalled the island of Mallorca, where he and his wife had once spent a very pleasant spring holiday […] agreeable and cheap” (3-4). He buys a house in Soller and “[a]t first he was very happy and peaceful” (4), but then “[t]he English came” (4). The narrator explains how “[a]rtists came, spreading themselves over the town and port, painting their foolish pictures of the landscape and the natives” (4). The protagonists leave the island and decide never to come back.

The story of travel literature in the Balearics in the first forty years of the twentieth century follows a very similar reaction to that portrayed by Macaulay in her novel: travellers to the islands journey with the belief that they are the last witnesses of an idyllic life that is disappearing.Yet, to differing degrees, they, ironically, contribute to its disappearance by portraying and re-creating their idea of paradise for more readers, travellers and tourists.

The travel accounts of the travellers to the Balearics in the nineteenth century (Bartholomew 1869; Belgrave 1842; Bidwell 1876; Carr 1811; ← 245...

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