Seductive Journey: American Tourists in France from Jefferson to the Jazz Age
University of Chicago Press, 1998 - History - 378 pages
For centuries, France has cast an extraordinary spell on travelers. Harvey Levenstein's Seductive Journey explains why so many Americans have visited it, and tells, in colorful detail, what they did when they got there. The result is a highly entertaining examination of the transformation of American attitudes toward French food, sex, and culture, as well as an absorbing exploration of changing notions of class, gender, race, and nationality.
Levenstein begins in 1786, when Thomas Jefferson instructed young upper-class American men to travel overseas for self-improvement rather than debauchery. Inspired by these sentiments, many men crossed the Atlantic to develop "taste" and refinement. However, the introduction of the transatlantic steamship in the mid-nineteenth century opened France to people further down the class ladder. As the upper class distanced themselves from the lower-class travelers, tourism in search of culture gave way to the tourism of "conspicuous leisure," sex, and sensuality. Cultural tourism became identified with social-climbing upper-middle-class women. In the 1920s, prohibition in America and a new middle class intent on "having fun" helped make drunken sprees in Paris more enticing than trudging through the Louvre. Bitter outbursts of French anti-Americanism failed to jolt the American ideal of a sensual, happy-go-lucky France, full of joie de vivre. It remained Americans' favorite overseas destination.
From Fragonard to foie gras, the delicious details of this story of how American visitors to France responded to changing notions of leisure and blazed the trail for modern mass tourism makes for delightful, thought-provoking reading.
"...a thoroughly readable and highly likable book."—Deirdre Blair, New York Times Book Review
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SEDUCTIVE JOURNEY: American Tourists in France from Jefferson to the Jazz AgeUser Review - Jane Doe - Kirkus
A lively social history of the varied delights (ranging from food to sex, and from racial equality to the Louvre) that have at times drawn Americans to France. Levenstein (The Paradox of Plenty, 1992 ... Read full review
Seductive journey: American tourists in France from Jefferson to the Jazz AgeUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
This highly readable volume from Levenstein (professor emeritus, McMaster Univ.; The Transformation of the American Diet, 1880-1930, LJ 2/1/88), an authority on the social history of food, opens with ... Read full review
JEFFERSON VERSUS ADAMS
GETTING THERE WAS NOT HALF THE FUN
EAT DRINK BUT BE WARY
THE ATHENS OF MODERN EUROPE
PLEASURES OF THE FLESH
PARIS AND TOURISM TRANSFORMED 18481870
KEEPING AWAY FROM THE JONESES
HOW THE OTHER HALF TOURED
CLASS GENDER AND THE RISE OF ANTITOURISM
MACHISMO MORALITY AND MILLIONAIRES
THE INVASION OF THE LOWER ORDERS 19171930
DOUGHBOYS AND DOLLARS
HOW RE YOU GONNA KEEP EM DOWN ON THE FARM?
A FAREWELL TO CULTURE VULTURES
UNHAPPY HOSTS UNWELCOME VISITORS