|About the Book|
This book is a historical and critical assessment of contributions by American writer and lecturer John Lawson Stoddard (1850-1931). It is the first scholarly effort to provide visual and literary analyses of his illustrated travel works and political writings. It claims that Stoddard was a principle engine behind movements toward transforming tourism into a growing consumer culture, democratizing liberal arts education, and fueling anti-WWI campaigns. By the late 1870s, John Lawson Stoddard had played a major role in transforming the aristocratic Grand Tour into a mass cultural phenomenon. His photographs and accompanying public lectures on distant places and peoples caught the attention of decision makers in the U.S. government, but perhaps more importantly, his images and text were imprinted in the minds of millions of audience members. This book suggests how critical approaches borrowed from the interdisciplinary literature of visual culture are helpful in assessing the imagery and identity of a nineteenth-century American travel lecturer and author. It uncovers buried aspects of the personal and public life of Stoddard, and reveals his significant contributions to American political and social history.