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Souvenirs of the Old SouthNorthern Tourism and Southern Mythology$
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Rebecca Cawood McIntyre

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813036953

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813036953.001.0001

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The Flavor of Other Days

The Flavor of Other Days

Aristocracy and Tourism

(p.152) 6 The Flavor of Other Days
Souvenirs of the Old South

Rebecca Cawood McIntyre

University Press of Florida

In this chapter, the representation of Charleston as an aristocratic, European, and ultra-American city typified the strange ambiguities of the myth of southern aristocracy as presented by tourism. By the early twentieth century, tourist writers were luring northerners with a mythical southern aristocracy of both the past and the present. Here was a tourist experience that appeared to be genuine and timeless. Educated and affluent northerners lapped up this version of the South because it fitted their escapist needs and ironically buttressed their own sense of self-worth and superiority. Though tourism celebrated the South's aristocratic heritage and survivals, writers also implied that the aristocratic South was a strange world with a backward society unwilling and moreover unable to reap the benefits of progress in the United States. The aristocratic South had become the perfect escape for Americans who publicly eschewed inherited rank and privilege but secretly yearned for a more hierarchical culture of Europe.

Keywords:   Charleston, aristocracy, tourism, South, United States, culture, Europe

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