Magically real authenticity: historic cities and the fairytale gaze

Lovell, J. (2018) Magically real authenticity: historic cities and the fairytale gaze. Journal of Heritage Tourism. ISSN 1743-873X. (Unpublished)

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This paper sets out the different ways in which magical reality appears in tourist photo-diaries of sixteen historic cities. It discusses the links between the uncanny, the poetic, and magical reality and explores the relationship between historical fact, myth and urban legend. The paper outlines how a broad ‘historical consciousness’ (Olick, 2003) influenced by original fairy tales, Disney history and, more recently, popular television series such as Once Upon A Time and Game of Thrones (Larrington 2015) which use a pastiche approach to folklore, transmuting history into ‘mythistoricus’ (Cornford, cited in Samuel, 1994, p.442). The paper discusses multiple realities, identifying the different ways in which historic cities are perceived as magically real by tourists, including romantic perceptions of Gothic and ‘gingerbread’ architecture, pagan symbols, the poetic and a sensation of the uncanny. Fairy tale elements of historic cities are captured in tourist photographs, which record iconic, monumental structures, such as city walls, cathedrals or castles, and the vernacular architecture of timbered buildings, jetties and red-tiled rooftops, but also crooked buildings, wonky details lampposts, details such as a pagan man or beast carving on an outside timber and even place names. These different aspects of architecture, signage and casual interpretation amalgamate to evoke the ‘fairytale gaze’ of tourists.

The photo-diaries in the paper record the uncanny, affective atmosphere of the vernacular and reflect how tourists give heritage objects backstories, bringing them to life as poetic artefacts.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion > BL0300 The myth. Comparative mythology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1992 Television broadcasts
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Dr Jane Lovell
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2017 16:06
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2017 16:06

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00