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The Tourist’s Own Imaginary Landscape PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 March 2007 01:21

The Tourist’s Own Imaginary Landscape: How to Lure

Travellers to Their Own Intended Destination[1]

John Butler-Adam - eSATI


Thank you very much for that introduction. Perhaps I need to start by saying I never did finish the Masters Degree on Fowles. When I retire it will be my project. I also just want to assure that this is not an ominous sign. I’ve only got two slides in there, both occur within the first few minutes of the talk. The reason for this one is that I changed the title of the talk as I was writing it so it no longer is as it appears on the program, so I thought I should put it up very clearly so that you know roughly what it is that I’m trying to talk about. And then also just to say that I’d like to assure Professor Stiebel that we all have more questions than answers. It’s not unique to this project and I must say I’m pretty glad we still have more questions than answers; otherwise it might be quite a tedious life.


I’ve been asked to talk about some of the issues involved in this very exciting project from the perspective of a geographer and, as a geographer I’m really very grateful to the organizers of the colloquium for providing us with the title in three part harmony; Writer, Place and Identity. It’s rather like Edward Said’s great, opus “World Text and Critic” and on a substantially lower key, a little bit like this paper where, Landscape, Text and Tourist are the sounding elements. The reason for my gratitude is the three part titles offer me some happy coincidences and a wonderful straw person to start with. They all call for a diagram reflecting the mediation that they imply and it’s from this that the coincidences can be identified and used and the straw person revealed. Now here I have to change the slides to second and last without tripping over the flex.


Place and identity put together in the colloquium title must somehow be mediated by a writer. World and the text are afforded the intercession of the critic, and by extension landscape and text call for the intervening role of the tourist, or certainly in the context of this project. This sets up in turn the rather nice coincidence of Place, World and Landscape, of Identity and Text, and the Writer, Critic and Tourist across the top of the three models. And all of these provide wonderful headings for sections in the paper while the whole notion throws up a theme around which we can easily talk. I think all this speaks to the insight of the organizers of the Colloquium and if they haven’t come up with this title I’m not sure how I would have structured this paper, so thank you very much indeed.


Now three term topics allow for the creation of straw persons because they imply neat orderly relationships which can be structured in some way, so suggesting some inevitable points along the baseline of the structures with the intervention or mediation of some point at which sense is made of the writer, the critic or the tourist. There is a real sense in which this is not just a whimsy to be played with, but a helpful way of looking at things. We will say more about that later. But what makes a 3 term topic a great straw person is that while useful, it can also be knocked down quite easily by drawing attention to the fact that in all three models it’s easy to recognize that all three points are social constructs rather than being means a for arriving at the understanding of social constructs. This immediately moves the point of intercession or interpretation away from the apex to the centre of each model and then of course it calls into question the notion of the model itself.


Now what I’d like to do in the paper is to take the coincidences: world, landscape, place; and then text and identity; and then writer, critic or tourist as themes through which I’ll try to present a geographer’s understanding of these various constructs. The themes will make up sections 2 and 3 of the paper, we’re already in section 1 just to give you some markers; and then building on those, a section called “text, landscape and tourists” will be pulled together - the 4th section - so that we can end in the last section with some conclusions about what could be said about text and tourism in KwaZulu-Natal. Although we end with KwaZulu-Natal I’ve tried to illustrate in the course of the paper the points that arise using some non-South African examples, because I feel they are probably easier to approach with some relative degree of dispassion. All told, I suppose what this paper is is an attempt, in the words of a leading novelist and literary critic to “unravel a skein of intertwined apprehensions about different problems”, which is quite nicely put, I think.


We have three types of memories, writes Umberto Eco who was also the person who was unravelling the skeins. There are three types of memories, he writes; the first one is organic, which is the memory made of flesh and blood and is the one administered by our brain. The second is mineral. And in this sense mankind has known two kinds of mineral memory. Millennia ago, it was the memory represented by clay tablets and obelisks on which people carved their texts. However, the second type is also the electronic memory of today’s computers based upon silicon. We have also known another kind of memory however; the vegetal one represented by first papyruses and then in books made of paper. Now I’d like to suggest that there is in fact a fourth type of memory, the one that we call Landscape. By landscape I certainly don’t mean the contested notion that relates to artifice and pretence the landscapes of Capability Brown and the ha ha. Instead I’m referring rather more literally to the muscular land…shaped on the one hand by forces of nature and given pattern by our cognitive processes; on the other, the land, as it is in turn fashioned by human intervention by digging, building, damming or cutting. This is the landscape of our common survival. It is the patterned environment all around us into which we insert ourselves and onto which we impose ourselves as we do what is necessary for our survival. Landscape is that which is formed and transformed as we build our dwellings, plough our fields, plant our groves of olives, herd and reherd our cattle, dump our piles of wrecked cars, create our game reserves or clean our beaches and then respond, in turn to what we have done. My position that Landscape is a fourth type of memory comes from a single starting point.


The observation that I start with is that in order to survive, human beings constantly need to know four things and know them at a variety of temporal and spatial scales and know them also both literary and metaphorically. And these are: where we are, and that’s relatively rather than absolutely; secondly, what will happen next; thirdly, how this eventuality will affect us; and finally, what we should and sometimes where we should go as a consequence. A very simple literal example of this is what happens to us when we stand on the sidewalk intending to cross a busy road. Where are we? On a busy road in the presence of dangerous vehicles. What will happen next? We will cross the road and simultaneously cars will cross our paths. How will this affect us? Well, if we get the intersections of where and when right, we will survive, if not we won’t survive. What should we do? Well, cross the road with care and a well developed sense of speed and direction or else move along the road and find the pedestrian bridge.


Now the rest of survival, I’m afraid to say, is made up of vastly more complex literal and metaphorical situations than just crossing the road. In this material world in particular, these four pieces of knowledge can be seen as somewhat crudely to rest on three prior conditions of which we need to be aware. And I’ll call these again rather ungrammatically, ‘Whatness’, ‘Whereness’ and ‘Whenness’. These in turn, require some means for recognizing patterns and predictabilities in time and in the environment and without those means we simply can’t survive. Paul Shepard suggests that the evolution of the frontal lobe of the brain has, in considerable part, occurred in relation to our need for specific skills in pattern identification, recall and recognition. So being able to identify, learn from and read into what we could call the lie of the land, our all central part of these skills. In this respect, recalling a known territory, the hill on the left, the bend in the river, the house with the broken tile as a basis for ‘Whereness’ and also elements of ‘Whatness’ and ‘Whenness’ - the cast of the sunlight on a rock face, the presence of dew on long grass - is all part of Eco’s organic memory. But the way we shape that landscape in our minds fore-shadows landscape as the fourth type, the landscape that we fashion both to survive and to provide a store of clues regarding what we most need to know and remember. This, if you will, is ‘writing on the terrain’ and it includes not just the creation of  the immediate necessities - houses, fields or fences - but also of the advantageous on the landscape: special architectural forms, posters on a wall or bridges, amongst all the other actions that we undertake that are intended to provide us with way markers or reminders and even perhaps memories of ways that were that have not changed. It also includes such writing as fields ploughed from left to right rather than up and down, traditional huts in deeply rural KwaZulu-Natal whether they are real, or just fondly wished for, or the concentration of high rise buildings in city centres that speak of the economics of land values.


The notion of landscape formulated in this way helps underscore the introductory idea that landscapes are very clearly social constructs whether we talk about the landscapes in our organic memories or the ones that we’ve turned into external memories, they are all of them shaped by individuals, roots, nations, humanity, in the context of our social operations and interaction. Andrew Wilson, who was a student of Frederic Jameson’s put it most definitely. He says “the way we produce our material culture is derived from, and in turn, shapes our relationships with the physical environment and I will call all of this activity ‘landscape’. Those were Andrew Wilson’s words.


So, put in a slightly different way, landscape as a major means for making sense of the world while reminding us of what needs to be recalled for survival or pleasure. And in making landscapes we simultaneously reshape ourselves and our view of those same landscapes. The landscape and the landscape knower are both social constructs continuously modifying each other. W. H. Auden captured the power of landscape as memory by suggesting we all have a mapable landscape: “Who is ever quite without his landscape, the struggling village street, the house and trees all near the church. Who cannot draw the map of his life, shade in the country station where he meets his love and says goodbye continually? Mark the spot where the body of his happiness was first discovered?” In Kenneth Bolding’s terms, landscape will be a means for building and sustaining our image of everything outside us. What we know of the landscape rests again in those organic memories and our act of thinking.


Now the relationship between world and landscape and the models of the 3 term topics is a very close one. We use, if you will, the physically lesser - the demarcated or landscape - as a means for dealing with the physically larger and, in some senses unknown. The world, in this way, becomes as much a composite social construction as landscape itself. It follows that landscape as a type of memory, is a powerful part of our being and our behaving. I think for example, of a very large poster wall atlas that my children had when they were younger; an atlas of the world. When you turned to South America, there were abstracted little landscapes of what Peru or Brazil might look like. So in imagining the world one tends to do so in terms of cityscapes or very typical landscapes in order to make it comprehensible. What we are doing in this process, looking at landscape, interacts with our organic memory. The result is in fact a major force that shapes not just how we see and understand the world and also where we would like to be in it and this is an important point, I think, when it comes to the matter of tourism. There is a caution to be sounded in this, however, in case it appears that landscape is ultimately entirely relative, based solely on our cognition of it and our changing cognitions of it. Bohm and Peat, who wrote on Science, Order and Creativity (1987), reminds us that we cannot impose any world view we like and hope that it will work. The cycle of perception and action cannot be maintained in a totally arbitrary fashion unless we collude to suppress the things we do not wish to see while at the same time trying to maintain at all costs the things we most desire in our image of the world.


Now adding ‘place’ to this picture is not particularly difficult. Just as landscape is a means of turning terrain into territory and territory into something knowable and then known, so place is a means whereby we demarcate the specifics of a very human nature in a landscape. David Harvey says that d double meaning can be given to places: A- a mere position or location within a map of space, time constituted within some social process, or B – an entity or permanence occurring within, and transformative of, the construction of the world. So the meaning we’re following here is quite clearly the second - that of place as a defined entity, a point of varying scale that has meaning vested in it, but which in turn affects the landscape and the broader world within which it is situated. Place as a specific then, landscape as the product of a knowing and recalling process, and the world as the largely unknown are tied together by our need and ability to act in the interests of survival at whatever level of society or technology we might enjoy. It does not take much imagination as a next step to see that released, however briefly from the realm of the everyday, places and landscape whether they are known first, second or third hand, become objects of interest and desire to us, our organic memory of the view from a hut in the Drakensburg, or the remembered landscape around a place on the coast where we might have walked with a lover, or our sense of what the landscapes of Brazil are like are all potent denoters. Put bluntly because of the power we invest in them, landscapes readily become potentially desired destinations. And if landscapes are presented to us as parts of literary texts, we recreate them in mental forms in line with our own predilections and prejudices about landscapes more generally. So much for that part of “the skein of intertwined apprehensions about different problems.”


Let’s look at another part of the range of different problems and consider writer, critique, tourist and related to that text, landscape and identity. Talking about world, landscape and place, we have already been provided with the opportunities to talk about the other points in the model, the cluster of human beings if you will - the writer, the critic and the tourist who I must say frequently connive to be one and the same thing. And then also we can talk about text and identity. That is one of the effects of knocking down a straw person. Having set up the model we come to talk about the terms only to find we have to talk about them all at once. So the helpful starting points remain, that the point of intercession is moved away from the apex and into the middle of the triangle. There are some points about human players and identity will have to be made, however, and so in this part of the paper I’d like you to look at these, but as we do I’m sure you won’t be surprised to find that the landscapes keep reappearing just as the human elements could not be kept out of the section on landscape.


Although this may seem a little naïve and perhaps you might even want to go so far as to say very naïve, I’d like to suggest the three conventional points of mediation: the writer, the critique and the tourist are probably best seen as a single entity. They carry out very similar roles with varying degrees of success and of course in a number of different modes, but they ultimately follow at least some common processes. Bear with me while I try to illustrate this by reflecting on a recent reading experience of my own. During the past week I’ve been reading a detective novel set in Greece, written by an English writer who has made Greece his home, a writer creating in text form a landscape with which he seems to be intimately familiar. During the course of his investigation, the detective in this story who is a PI called Mavros travels to an island where he finds lodgings in a guest house. As I read the writer’s description of the place, it quickly slipped into the form of a guest house in Pretoria in which I stayed on a number of occasions. There were many similarities between the 2 lodgings; their very different geographical locations notwithstanding. They both have a house at the front, cool quiet courtyard behind shaded by bougainvillea and a building with guest accommodation, bordering a courtyard. My reader’s mind slipped over at the obvious differences between the writer’s landscape and place and my own landscape and place; and, of course, I remained unaware of all of the differences the writer had chosen to leave out of his description, whether for economy of style or because his place is not necessarily to be found in a real world at all. The long and short of it was that for me, the mental image of the guest house on the Island of Trigono was very similar, with a few variations here and there to allow for the Mediterranean climate, to the guest house in Pretoria. And what Ace Detective Mavros subsequently did in his room, and I must say all of it was quite decent and detectively, he did in my mind’s landscape and place in a room that I usually occupied in Pretoria, again with some minor adjustments to take care of the obvious.


Well so much for Mavros, but as we go this process all the time, and since writers cannot possibly tell us everything we want to know about the landscapes and places of which we read, we fill in the details from the known, or from the imagined, or from the wished for as we go along, creating a landscape in no lesser way (although not on paper) than a writer does. Now, tourists behave in very similar ways and, here is the critical point, whether or not they have started the process as readers – although tourists will almost certainly have read at least a brochure, or a website, if not a novel. The tourist comes to a place and a landscape with an image of it already there and, of course, some expectations of it in mind and with a reasonably well defined purpose of being there. The act of being a tourist will inevitably then lead to a measuring of experience against expectation which is the best word I can find for all of this imagining of landscapes. And the measuring of experience against expectation is of course an exercise in criticism. Now I really don’t want to labour this point, you will be glad to know, anymore than I already have. What we need to carry forward is this notion: landscapes are inevitably invested with great significance generated by the reader. Now this is certainly not just the question of rehearsing reception theory, remember what is at stake is the manipulation of what I call the fourth kind of memory, the memory that is at the roots of our survival. Nor is this a simple internal/external mind picture, the whole point about pattern making as part of our being takes us all, tourists or not, way beyond that point and I can think of no better way of putting it than quoting Wordsworth:

These beauteous forms,

Through a long absence, have not been to me

As is a landscape to a blind man’s eye:

But oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din

Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,

In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,

Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;

And passing even into my purer mind,

(Lines from the poem “Composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey”)


I think that is the kind of relationship that landscape as memory, whether it’s external or internal, has with us as knowers of landscapes. And in passing, I imagine that many tourists will readily empathise with Wordsworth’s hours of weariness.


In this section, which if you have been counting is the second to last, I would like to offer a practical example of some of the ways in which text, landscape and tourist interact as a mutual occupance of the realm of the socially constructed, and I hope this will help us pull together the earlier sections of the paper in a fairly down to earth fashion. So while I’m about to talk about the English Lake District, we shouldn’t forget the strands of the skeins that has been unravelled, been laid out, to get us to this point. I hope you will let me tell this part of the tale quite lightly without stopping ponderously to explain the links that we’re trying to illustrate and I am sure you are going to follow them very easily anyway.


In the seventeenth century, the area that’s now called the English Lake District and then simply called the North West, was isolated. It was meagrely served by poor roads and it was in economic decline. The wool industry that had given the North West prominence in Shakespeare in the form of Kendall Green was performing poorly and the border wars with Scotland was taking a really heavy toll on crops. What was produced agriculturally and industrially was all shipped out. There was little to draw people to the area and there was a great deal to keep them away from it. So literary references of any kind are hard to find, for the first part of the seventeenth century, while there is almost nothing of a textual nature available for earlier times. The first clear textural sense of how outsiders at least saw the area is from the British Museum manuscript which contains the record of the group of army surveyors who were sent to the North West in the 1630’s, no doubt in connection with those border wars. These surveyors who were a captain, a lieutenant and an ‘ancient’ - and I had never worked out what an ancient is, but I suppose perhaps a servant to make food for the captain and the lieutenant - but they left these words as their textual construction of the landscape they encountered. They went, they say, “through such ways as we hope we never shall again, being no other but climbing and stony, nothing but bogs and mires over the tops of those high hills so as we were enforced to keep these narrow, loose, stony base ways, though never so troublesome and dangerous. On we went for Kendall, desiring much to be released from those difficult and dangerous ways, passing over nothing but a most confused mixture of rocks and bogs”. Even in the eighteen century the picture remained much the same. Here is what Daniel Defoe recorded in the early 1720’s: “Here we were”, he says, “locked in between the hills on one side as high as the clouds and prodigiously higher and the sea on the other. And the sea itself seemed desolate and wild, nor were the hills high and formidable only, but they had a kind of an inhospitable terror in them. Here were no rich, pleasant valleys between them as among the Alps, but all barren and wild - of no use or advantage either to man or beast”. Now Defoe had a great deal more to say. Of Westmoreland, for example, he said it was a “wildest, most barren and frightful place he ever seen in England”. He obviously hadn’t been to Bradford. But at this stage, we need to give attention to just three points. First the place that later became and now remains a major international terrorist attraction was constructed in text for well over a hundred years as a landscape of fear and inhospitability. Secondly, Defoe had clearly already been a tourist, as had many of his kind. He had visited those altogether more picturesque mountains - the Alps, and saw in these local English mountains, nothing that was comparable.


And the third point evidence perhaps of another kind of social construction that Lindy has already referred to this morning and possibly relevant to Mr. Cartwright’s paper that’s about to follow, is that latter day critics of Defoe have accused him of rendering the landscape not as he saw it, but as he knew his audience would want to read it. Norman Nicholson who was a well known twentieth century Lake District poet says, for example, with just a hint of disparaging tone, “Defoe was a good journalist - he was not struck dumb with horror at all. He was merely determined to see that his readers got their money’s worth”. Now it goes without saying there were very few visitors to the English North West in Defoe’s time, and even if the transport routes been better than they were, it remains clear that the visitors would still have been rather rare birds.


Material conditions in the Lake District did not change dramatically between the late 1600’s and the late 1700’s and of course the mountains, the valleys, and the rivers and the hanging valleys carved out by the glaciers hardly changed at all in those hundred years. However there were gradual shifts that were introduced by industrialization. Urban areas grew, employment improved somewhat and for some specific classes of people, and the visual landscape changed as bridges, newer roads and the inevitable factories were built.


In terms of the social construction of landscape, texts and tourists what did bring about change was the notion of the ‘picturesque’ and, of course, its soul mate, ‘the sublime’ about which all of you know great deal more than I do. But fifty years, just fifty years after Defoe’s description, the text had changed. Here, is an example from that long lived author Anon: “in some places waving and enclosures of corn and grass rise one above the other and present to the eye a scene beyond the brightest ideas of painting. Here you see ships of land running into the lake covered with trees that seems to rise from the water. To the north you look upon a noble range of irregular mountains” no more crazy bogs and rocks, “a noble range of irregular mountains which are finally contrasted with other even more beautiful shores”. That textualised landscape has changed and so, of course, has the frame of reference. This is a landscape turned into a scene, better even than a painting in this case rather than being the narrative of a journey to a threatening place.


Not surprisingly, the number of the tourists to the area begun to increase quite rapidly in fact and many of them took to writing up new textual landscapes. If you go to the archives in the Lake District you will find thousand upon thousand of dreadful diaries with descriptions of the picturesque. And there were many who came to look and not to write at all. It was, however, the Romantic movement that followed that gave the Lake District a described landscape and indeed an environment to be desired and which turned a stream of visitors into a nascent torrent, much to the distress, of course, of the Romanticwriters themselves. Wordsworth succeeded in creating landscapes in text that are extensions of the individual and vice versa. In this sense, he comes close to casting landscapes in the manner that Andrew Wilson described them in the quote from early in the paper. The product that is of a reciprocal iterative relationship, for example how exquisitely the individual mind to the external world is fitted and how exquisitely the external world is fitted to the mind. Now what is important is that this mutual fitting is not a preordained starting point, but the result of ceaseless interactions. Precisely the dual use of landscape is memory, first as part of organic memory and secondly as an external store matching or fitting our needs with regard to environmental knowledge. The landscapes that emerge from Wordsworth’s writing are nothing in content like those of the seventeenth and early to mid eighteenth centuries nor in character like those of the picturesque. Here for example is the landscape of Grassmere in picturesque mode. This is Houseman in 1800: “Discover the sweetly retired circular layer of Grassmere with the beautiful small lake graced with a fine island and margined with a few pretty enclosures”; while Wordsworth’s landscapes in Grassmere written in exactly the same year is rather different:

“Again behlod the universal imagery inverted all its sun bright features touched as with varnish and a gloss of dreams. Dreamlike, the blending also, of the whole harmonious landscape.”


Subsequent overlays of landscapes and text about the Lake District represent a long and quite complicated history. None of it has really changed the landscapes penned by the Romantics, whose textual landscapes created in a variety of ways a desideratum that matched the moral conviction of the Philanthropists of the early industrial age, and the growing possibilities for tourism that emerged from the industrialisation of labour. It’s no new thing to observe then that landscapes are seen differently by different people; what we need to give attention to is that the textual landscapes crafted by travellers, novelists or poets reflect their own social circumstances, including of course matters of prevailing taste or theory, and that they become in turn landscapes imagined and internalised by readers who may not have seen the landscape itself through the filters of their own social circumstances, interests and preferences. Defoe’s book went through nine editions over a fifty year period, during which time it must have impressed or angered thousands of readers. Some, I’m sure, would have enjoyed the frisson of fear and stayed away from the place, others would have gone to experience the real thing and would have been delighted, or disappointed, to the degree that their own seeing matched their image of Defoe’s. What is more, the lesson to be learned from Wordsworth is that the landscapes fashioned in literature are a powerful factor in shaping tourist views, expectations and actions. Not just because the places seem nice to go to but also because the search for the landscape of a special novel or poem can become an end in itself.


It seems to me there are really two basic forms of literary tourism - that inspired by landscapes that appeal to the reader of textual landscapes, and that inspired by desire to follow through, in a real life place with landscapes, a literary interest that may, or may not, include an interest on landscapes themselves. The first form is relatively easy to illustrate. Readers of Peter Mayles endless books on Provence or Tim Couzens’ Murder at Morija will include amongst them those who already have an interest in Provence or Lesotho or Southern African History. And who will find the text and the landscapes they invoke encourage them into a real world exploration. Provence or Lesotho suddenly becomes, at some point, so tempting that it directs a decision to travel. The second form of literary tourism requires some sub-categories in order to make sense. As you probably gathered, I read a great number of detective novels including those of Ian Rankin. On that basis I might feel impelled to visit Edinburgh out of curiosity, or I might be impelled to visit Edinburgh because of what Rankin describes of that urban landscape because it’s so arresting and intriguing, or - another sub-category because I want to follow in John Rebus’s footsteps around Edinburgh’s underbelly. One way or another, this is a literary interest, not just inspired by, but also largely directed towards, the literary matters.


Each kind of interest creates its own momentum, while for some readers or tourists, some or all of these might act simultaneously clearly as sources of motivation. Joined together, the landscape as memory and as an integral part of our human behaviour; the writer, reader or tourist as generators of landscapes and the various kinds of literary landscape place tourism might occur, I feel prompted to pose a number of questions for your literary tourism project. But before the list of questions, let me ask two questions of you, the audience. Please, no answers shouted out. These are rhetorical questions intended to do no more than put you in a suitable frame of mind to deal with the other list of questions that follows.


Here are the rhetorical questions: 1: Who amongst us is aware of literary landscape of Andalusia? And if amongst us there is one, an expert in Spanish regional literature, would you, that expert, choose to go to Spain because a tour was being offered of a regional novelist’s birthplace? And even this extension if you were already in Spain and had a hundred exciting things to do - the Gaudi Cathedral in Barcelona, the orange groves around Seville, would the tour of the birthplace still rank highly amongst your options? Question 2, (and here you have to be very honest with yourself): Which would attract you most, as a tourist shelling out good, now strong Rands - a holiday visiting Vermont, or a holiday looking for the room in which Emily Dickenson wrote her fragile lines.  Now clearly, if you were in Vermont, Emily might very well feature, but what would actually draw you there? The fall leaves, the verdant mountains, the skiing, the billboard - free roadways, the clear stream waters, or Emily or perhaps Robert Frost’s two roads diverging in the yellow wood, if you could find it.


Now this is not at all meant to be undermining in any way of the vast amount of work undertaken in this project. Yet I would like to think or hope that the papers in this workshop will offer some new slants on the work that is being done. There is a whole theory of landscape studies and volumes of research into landscape attractions available to everyone in the project. And of course there is an extensive theory of tourism and of what it is that makes tourists tour and that’s equally readily available. So to help extend the progress that has already been made and showcased in the workshop yesterday in particular, here are some non-rhetorical questions, but you don’t have to shout out the answers to these either! So here they are: who are the tourists who will be attracted to KwaZulu-Natal as literary tourists? What are their diverse interests likely to be? Where will you find them? And how will you draw the possibilities to their attention? How would you capture their imaginations so that they actually refer to the website and come and spend their money here? How will you know what aspects of literary landscape tourism will interest them? Are there tourists who will come here and find literary tourism to be an additional attraction to what they were already doing when they come here (a kind of a ‘rhyme route’ instead of a ‘wine route’)? Do you know who they are and where they are, and how to add the literary landscape dimension to their agenda and itinerary.


The thing about touring landscapes because of a literary interest of some kind is that they are obviously highly specialised forms of tourism, maybe exclusive, but certainly specialised. The database and the map are critical in helping such adventures to succeed. The films provide a universal allure, but to be successful I would suggest - the fact that South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal within it, are destinations that will fulfil the desires of those who seek out landscapes related to literature will have to become part of the broad promotion of South Africa, and of KwaZulu-Natal in particular as tourist destinations. Readers of Ian Rankin are to be found all over the world as are readers of Justin Cartwright. Yet even those readers, I would venture to say, would include a Rankin tour of Edinburgh or a Cartwright tour of East Africa let us say, as a bonus  to being in those landscapes anyway. How much more, I would ask, would this be so for readers of Roy Campbell or William Plomer.


So to conclude, I think this is a really exciting and invaluable undertaking. It’s already yielded much that is valuable and much that is of promise. To take it beyond what Lindy has called the point of academic gathering and analysing, will require answers to many questions, including some of those that I have made so bold as to pose.


So I end by saying enjoy looking for answers. Thank you.










[1] Transcribed by Zwelibanzi Ndayi and Lea Ann Subroyen. Edited by Lea Ann Subroyen and Lindy Stiebel.