The idyllic setting of Danny Boyle’s film The Beach presents this place as a space of longing and escape – longing for the return to a more natural, idealized way of life and escape from everyday life. Even as the film draws upon the paradigm of the idyll in its depiction of the beach, it simultaneously deconstructs any notion of a habitable paradise on Earth. Using semiotic theories of space, this article examines the ambivalence of modern tourist desires. The film shows how the continuous narrativization of an idyllic space becomes the impetus for a community of backpackers to risk their lives for illusory ideals which cannot be upheld in reality.
The discrepancy between common temporary expectations of Switzerland as idyll on the one hand, and the reality of its industrially organized tourism on the other, imposes irritations upon the touristic gaze. This article, then, traces the origins of this discrepancy and examines the relationship between Swiss idyll and tourism in the 19th century. The analyses of Ida Hahn-Hahn’s Eine Idylle and Hans Christian Andersen’s Iisjomfruen showcase different ways of relating idyll and tourism to one another as well as the aesthetic merit produced by this constellation.
The article examines the relation of tourism and idyll in regard to the mediation of the tourist experience. Digital detox tourism and off grid tourism are two examples of contemporary tourism – including their respective practices and ways of promotion – that associate certain cultural stereotypes with the idyll. While digital detox tourism promises independence from the digital world, off grid tourism detaches the tourist from infrastructure and supplies. Paradoxically, the advertising of these types of ‘disconnection’ makes use of the same linked infrastructures that tourists are bound to leave behind. Thus, this article reveals the ways in which digital detox tourism and off grid tourism remain dependent on those networks.
The article argues that ‘gentle tourism’ in particular shares similarities with the idyll. The term made popular by Robert Jungk in 1980 describes an autonomous kind of tourism that considers ecological and economical questions alike. It derives – thus the thesis of the article – its motifs from a subgenre of the idyll: German ‘Landlebendichtung’ (laus ruris). The analyses of the paradigmatic texts Das Landleben by Ewald von Kleist and Salomon Gesner’s Der Wunsch outline the characteristics of the genre at which core one can find the binary opposition of urban and rural forms of life.
This article examines the structural analogy between the literary idyll and tourism that lies in the specific difference between idyllic and touristic spaces on the one hand and those of a modern, functionally differentiated, and rational everyday life on the other. The peak in the production of literary idylls as well as the onset of tourism in the late 18th and early 19th century can thus be conceptualized as a reaction to experiences of alienation due to emerging processes of modernization. An analysis of Goethe’s Der Wandrer shows however how literary idylls not only helped to shape the tourist gaze, but also reflected on the touristic and idyllic experience as an experience between foreignness, alienation and belonging.
Die Beiträge des Bandes verstehen „Krise“ als einen zentralen Bestandteil kultureller und gesellschaftlicher Institutionen – und gleichermaßen als Ursprung und Effekt von Erzählungen: Einerseits müssen Krisenphänomene narrativ hergestellt, medien-, gattungs- und disziplinspezifisch in Szene gesetzt werden, andererseits dient die Kulturtechnik des Erzählens – nicht nur im engeren Sinne einer talking cure – der Überwindung von und dem Lernen aus Krisen. Dabei stellen Krisen in Erzählprozessen als Ereignis meist den Zeitpunkt unmittelbar vor einem Wendepunkt dar: Krisen erfordern Entscheidungen.