Travel writers therefore not only viewed foreign landscapes but also visually or verbally represented these landscapes for others to see (Pratt 1992). Representations elevate and privilege certain views that became symbolic of larger cultural movements. Thus, representations produced by colonial travelers reinforced colonial possession of the landscapes and further appropriated them in Merrell Boot their representations through means such as landscape associations and aesthetic landscape concepts.
In order to examine trends of landscape appreciation based on the use of aesthetic concepts in these popular geographies at this incipient stage of tourism development for the Caribbean region, I used travel narratives as the principal source of primary data in this study. These narratives were published texts that contributed to the creation of popular geographies through the description of unfamiliar landscapes to the reading public. It is often cautioned that published sources may be unreliable due to the selectivity and subjectivity of topics as well as the fact that they are packaged for commercial sale. However, I determined that these sources were appropriate for this study because, in order to examine the subject of landscape appreciation, I had to investigate experiences that were necessarily subjective and selective. Moreover, in order to examine the role of aesthetic concepts in the creation of popular geographies, these sources needed to be publicly accessible. Those that also fit the basic criteria of the study were included. Unlike some studies of travel writing that Merrell Sandal involve an in-depth analysis of just a few travel narratives over a limited time period, I conducted a survey of 20 travel narratives. I was interested in looking at the broader patterns that developed and evolved over a longer period of time (the important formative period of tourism between 1815 and 1914) in order to note the trends of landscape appreciation that occurred in light of popular cultural aesthetics. Consequently, a larger number of sources were needed.
Also unlike these travel writing studies that focus on just one type of traveler or tourist, such as women travelers or naturalists (see above), I included different types of travel writers in terms of their interests and motivation to consider the various viewpoints that combined to form the popular geographies of the place and the time. The principal restriction for the types of travelers included was nationality. In order to minimize colonial, cultural, and landscape differences, I limited the study to only British travel writers who visited the British West Indies. Beyond this definition, I included both male and female writers, although given the time period, the majority of the writers were male, and I included writers with different primary motivations for travel.
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