This volume examines the hotel experience of Anglo-American travelers in the nineteenth century from the viewpoint of literary and cultural studies as well as spatiality theory. Focusing on the social and imaginary space of the hotel in fiction, periodicals, diaries, and travel accounts, the essays shed new light on nineteenth-century notions of travel writing. Analyzing the liminal space of the hotel affords a new way of understanding the freedoms and restrictions felt by travelers from different social classes and nations. As an environment that forced travelers to reimagine themselves or their cultural backgrounds, the hotel could provide exhilarating moments of self-discovery or dangerous feelings of alienation. It could prove liberating to the tourist seeking an escape from prescribed gender roles or social class constructs. The book addresses changing notions of nationality, social class, and gender in a variety of expansive or oppressive hotel milieu: in the private space of the hotel room and in the public spaces (foyers, parlors, dining areas). Sections address topics including nationalism and imperialism; the mundane vs. the supernatural; comfort and capitalist excess; assignations, trysts, and memorable encounters in hotels; and women’s travels. The book also offers a brief history of inns and hotels of the time period, emphasizing how hotels play a large role in literary texts, where they frequently reflect order and disorder in a personal and/or national context. This collection will appeal to scholars in literature, travel writing, history, cultural studies, and transnational studies, and to those with interest in travel and tourism, hospitality, and domesticity.

chapter |13 pages


ByMonika M. Elbert, Susanne Schmid

part I|61 pages

Nationalism and Imperialism

chapter 1|21 pages

The Moral Economy of the Irish Hotel from the Union to the Famine

ByMelissa Fegan

chapter 2|20 pages

English Inns and Hotels in Nineteenth-Century Fiction

BySusanne Schmid

chapter 3|18 pages

American Accommodation

Transatlantic Travel, Boardinghouse Settlers, and Hotel Culture
ByTamara S. Wagner

part II|49 pages

The Mundane vs. the Supernatural

chapter 4|10 pages

Hawthorne and Hotels in Great Britain

ByFrederick Newberry

chapter 5|17 pages

A Tomb with a View

Supernatural Experiences in the Late Nineteenth Century’s Egyptian Hotels
ByEleanor Dobson

chapter 6|20 pages

Dark Hostelries

Gothic Hotels and Inns in the Long Nineteenth Century
ByLaurence Davies

part III|57 pages

From Comfort to Capitalist Excess

chapter 7|22 pages

The Waldorf-Astoria and New York Society

Grand Hotel as Site of Modernity
ByAnnabella Fick

chapter 8|17 pages

Henry James and “The Testimony of the Hotel” to Transatlantic Encounters

ByMaureen E. Montgomery

part IV|50 pages

Assignations, Trysts, and Memorable Encounters in Hotels

chapter 10|18 pages

The Inns of Romantic Drama

ByFrederick Burwick

chapter 11|19 pages

George Eliot and George Henry Lewes

Respectable Adultery and Anonymous Celebrity
ByKathleen McCormack

chapter 12|13 pages

Edith Wharton’s American and French Hotels

A Permeable Private/Public Space
ByCarole M. Shaffer-Koros

part V|47 pages

Women’s Travels and the Hotel as Nexus between Private and Public Realms

chapter 13|14 pages

“A Continual Recurrence of Bad Inns”

Public Domesticity and Women’s Travel in the Early Nineteenth Century
ByPam Perkins

chapter 14|18 pages

“I Was in a Fidget to Know Where We Could Possibly Sleep”

Antebellum Hospitality on the Margins of Nation in Caroline Kirkland’s A New Home, Who’ll Follow? and Eliza Farnham’s Life in Prairie Land
ByMichelle Gaffner Wood

chapter 15|13 pages


ByKevin J. James