Pristine or Primitive? The Welsh Seaside Resorts as Liminal Spaces in Punch, or The London Charivari

Activiteit: Talk or presentation at a conference


In the wake of the Industrial Revolution, leisure emerged as a distinct concept in Victorian Britain. As one of the most popular manifestations of this new leisure industry, seaside resorts appeared alongside the British coast. Driven by rapid developments in public transport, these resorts were not only built in the major English seaside towns of Brighton, Margate, and Scarborough, but also emerged in more peripheral areas such as Wales. The flourishing Victorian periodical press played an instrumental role in popularising the seaside resort through advertising, yet it also poked fun at some of the prejudices associated with these liminal spaces, situated between land and sea, culture and nature.

While scholars have predominantly focused on the representation of well-known English seaside resorts, my proposed paper will present a case study of Victorian seaside tourism in Wales. More specifically, I will examine how Punch, or The London Charivari – as a quintessentially English, metropolitan, middle-class product – depicted seaside tourism in Aberystwyth, Llandudno, Rhyl, and Tenby. I will argue that Punch portrayed the Welsh seaside resorts as pristine yet primitive sites in comparison to the major English seaside resorts, positioning Wales as a peripheral ‘other’ to an imaginary England. For this purpose, I will analyse both fiction and cartoons in Punch and draw on theories of national and regional Victorian identities, as well as of linguistic and graphic humour and satire. In doing so, my paper will uncover the ways in which the satirical press contributed to the notion of the Welsh seaside resort as a peripheral space in the Victorian middle-class imagination.
Periode27 mei 2022
Evenementstitel18th Annual Postgraduate Symposium
LocatieCoventry, United Kingdom
Mate van erkenningInternational