Brittany offers an excellent example of a French region that once attracted a certain cultivated elite of travel connoisseurs but in which more popular tourism developed relatively early in the twentieth century. It is therefore a strategic choice as a case study of some of the processes associated with the emergence of mass tourism, and the effects of this kind of tourism development on local populations. Efforts to package Breton cultural difference in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries marked a significant advance in heritage tourism, and a departure from what is commonly perceived to be a French intolerance of cultural diversity within its borders. This study explores the means by which key actors - middle class associations, businesses, governmental bodies, cultural intermediaries - pursued tourist development in the region and the effect this had on Breton cultural identification. Chapters are arranged thematically and consider the rise of rural tourism in France and the preservation, display, and enactment of Breton culture in its most visible locations: the natural landscape of Brittany, Breton dress, early heritage festivals and religious Pardons. The final chapter explores the staging of Breton culture at the Paris World's Fair of 1937 and the roots of state-sponsored mass tourism. Beyond those interested in the history of French tourism, this study will also be invaluable to historians and social scientists concerned with understanding the dynamics involved in the emergence of mass tourism, its causes and consequences in particular locales in the present as well as in the past.
Contents: Introduction; From romance to patrimony: Breton culture and 'originality' in the 19th century; Tourism, culture and place in a changing Brittany, 1860-1914; 'La Bretagne, au sein de son passé': dilemmas of tourist modernity in the French countryside; Refashioning Breton costume; Of pardons, loss and longing: Breton religious processions in an age of tourism and cultural change; A tasteful patrimony: landscape preservation and tourism in Brittany; From terre du passé to modern leisure ground? Brittany in an age of mass tourism; Epilogue: changing contexts of Bretonnitude, from Vichy to European Union and globalization; Bibliography; Index.
About the Author: Patrick Young is Assistant Professor of Modern European History at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.
Reviews: 'This is an exceedingly well-researched piece of scholarship, well-grounded in the primary sources and in secondary and theoretical works of relevance. The prose is clear and elegant and Young obviously understands how to render clearly the complicated evolution of notions of the region, tourism, and patrimoine in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This book successfully offers the regional specificity of older social histories while considering the discursive complexities we today expect of cultural history.' Stephen Harp, The University of Akron, USA
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