Literary Trails, Urban Space and the Actualization of Heritage

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The look at the websites of tourist information offices of a lot of cities recently shows a new trend: walking tours on the trail of a novel, so-called literary trails. The city is explored following the trail of a fictional character. In novels drawing intensely on history, heritage sites become interlinked from a new perspective. Tourists follow these trails like neo-pilgrims. Hall’s circuit of culture can be used to describe these relationships. Heritage manifests itself not just in traditional local practices, but is also formed in the global space of discourses. Heritage as a traditional practice is encoded on specific local conditions. These encodings can be stabilized in global discourses (e. g. in discourses on a novel or a film) but can be externalized as well. Externalized heritage is disembedded from its traditional framing. It becomes decoded under new conditions and is dynamized by tourist practices. The question is, which kind of reading turns out to be the dominant one for the heritage. The invention of literary trails can be considered from different perspectives with regard to the city and its heritage, which should be discussed with the help of two spanish novels.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAlmatourism – Journal of Tourism, Culture and Territorial Development
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)61-77
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 01.2014