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Sultry Climates Hardcover – April 16, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

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Travel can mean travail, risk, even danger. Given all that, why have so many people over the course of history taken the trouble to take themselves out of their familiar surroundings and wander off to distant, unfamiliar places?

Well, the rewards for the adventurous traveler are many, writes literary historian Ian Littlewood, among them the promise of self-discovery, of education, of broadening one's horizons. But, more elementally, there's another lure: the prospect of landing in a strange new bed with an exotic partner somewhere far from home. "Travel," Littlewood neatly observes, "tends to undermine moral absolutes." And so many travelers have found out for themselves: Oliver Goldsmith, for instance, who concluded of Italy, "sensual bliss is all the nation knows"; James Boswell, who filled his diaries of travels to the continent with "sultanesque fantasy" and some sultanesque fact; and Lord Byron, who, "having left England in a blaze of scandal ... took full advantage of the sexual privileges of exile."

Littlewood's learned but engaging study takes a fresh look at the cultural history of journeying from a fly-on-the-bedroom-wall point of view, and fans of literary travel will find much of interest in his pages. --Gregory McNamee

From Library Journal

The author of several travel guides (e.g., A Literary Guide to Venice), Littlewood contends that the allure of travel is rooted in the anticipation of sexual encounter and that sex is the tacit motivation for travel. His reading of the narratives, correspondence, and memoirs of British travelers (beginning with the 18th-century Grand Tour) reveal that ostensibly they journeyed in search of cultural enlightenment, expanded sensibility, and self-knowledge but in effect they set out to escape native inhibitions in the pursuit of erotic opportunity. Boswell sought out the prostitutes of the Continent, Byron ravaged both genders, while Forster, J.A Symonds, A.E. Houseman, and Joe Orton lusted after the lads of Naples, Venice, Alexandria, and Tangier. Littlewood suggests that similar unexpressed desires are exploited in tourism packages promoting the sensual enticements of sun, sand, and abandonment in sultry climes. The information in this book is neither new nor shocking but it is presented in an engaging narrative. Recommended for all libraries. Lonnie Weatherby, McGill Univ. Lib., Montreal
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; First Edition edition (April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306811553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306811555
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,021,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT on May 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
Why do people travel? For Ian Littlewood, 'the sexual element is vital to tourism' (p.5).
His book offers a keen look at (sex) tourism through the ages (from the 17th century till today).
He uses therefore mostly the diaries of well-known writers or artists like Boswell, Wilde, Gide, Loti, Forster, Byron, Isherwood, Waugh, Gauguin and others.
For those who didn't read these diaries, this book constitutes an excellent documentary base for some aspects (sexual) of the lives of these men.
The author shows clearly that women as well as men escaped through travel from their unhappy (matrimonial) or dangerous (homosexuality) home situation, and also that their main goal was 'sex with the young', and sometimes 'with the very young' (paedophilia).
I recommend this book because it treats a modern subject, without dodging an often disguised but essential part of it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT on April 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Why do people travel? For Ian Littlewood, 'the sexual element is vital to tourism' (p.5).
His book is mostly based on the diaries of writers and artists like Boswell, Wilde, Gide, Loti, Forster, Byron, Isherwood, Waugh, Gauguin, with at the end a comment on the Club Med.
It constitutes a keen look at (sex) tourism through the ages.
Since travel began (the British coming over to the continent), the sexual component was an implicit part of the story. The official reason was culture (opening of the mind), but the unofficial one was sexual 'education'. The home comers couldn't disguise it, for they were infected by VD's.
Travel reflected and still reflects economic power and 'colonialist' superiority.
For the affluent who could afford it, Italy (and also Africa) was the main pleasure ground for women travellers; Paris and the Mediterranean countries (Algeria) for men. Their main goal was 'sex with the young', also the very young (paedophilia).
Travel was and is an escape. Now, an escape out of stress. In the former centuries an escape out of the home situation: for women, the subordination; for men, lack of sexual liberty and condemnation of homosexuality.
I recommend this book because it treats a modern subject without dodging an often disguised but essential part of it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Terrific account of the true motives behind various centuries of travel from the UK to Europe, to Tahiti, and to other exotic locations around the world - the drive for sex in all its varieties is a primary driver for most of the writers, and others who chronicled their travels. This book contains a huge bibliography !! Highly recommended......
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