Skip to main content

“History, Mystery, Leisure, Pleasure”: Evelyn Waugh, Bruno Latour, and the Ocean Liner

  • Chapter
Literary Cartographies

Part of the book series: Geocriticism and Spatial Literary Studies ((GSLS))

Abstract

The ocean liner—defined here as a transatlantic express passenger steamship in circulation from the 1840s as a mail carrier to its near-extinction in the 1960s in favor of airplanes and container ships—matured both as a physical object and as a cultural construction during the period of literary modernism. These ships attracted a great deal of attention from journalists, architects, artists, designers, and writers, whose bevy of verbal and visual texts constituted a recognizable discourse around crossing and cruising. The resulting archive has been examined by historians, famously by maritime historians Walter Lord and John Maxtone-Graham, but, more recently, by social and architectural historians.1 Yet the ocean liner has not been thoroughly investigated as a discursive phenomenon. Lara Feigel and Alexandra Harris’s interdisciplinary collection, Modernism on Sea (2009), focuses on seaside style, while Cesare Casarino’s Modernity at Sea (2002) addresses sailing vessels.2 And at present, the burgeoning field of oceanic studies focuses on periods well before modernism.3 Yet humanists would be amply rewarded by considering the incredible cultural currency enjoyed by liners and cruise ships. Liners popularized avant-garde aesthetics, including Art Nouveau (the France), minimalism (the Île de France), and Art Deco (the Normandie), while the Aquitania crucially influenced Le Corbusier.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 89.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 129.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. See Lorraine Coons and Alexander Varias, Tourist Third Cabin: Steamship Travel in the Interwar Years (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003);

    Google Scholar 

  2. Douglas Hart, “Sociability and ‘Separate Spheres’ on the North Atlantic: The Interior of British Atlantic Liners, 1840–1930,” Journal of Social History 44.1 (2010): 189–212;

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Peter Quatermaine and Bruce Peter, Identity, Design, and Culture (New York: Rizzoli, 2006);

    Google Scholar 

  4. Mark Rennella and Whitney Walton, “Planned Serendipity: American Travelers and the Transatlantic Voyage in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” Journal of Social History 38.2 (2004): 365–383; and

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Anne Wealleans, Designing Liners: A History of Interior Design Afloat (London: Routledge, 2006).

    Google Scholar 

  6. See Cesare Casarino, Modernity at Sea: Melville, Marx, Conrad in Crisis (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002); and

    Google Scholar 

  7. Lara Feigel and Alexandra Harris, eds., Modernism on Sea: Art and Culture at the British Seaside (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009).

    Google Scholar 

  8. See Joseph Conrad, Notes on Life and Letters, ed. Ford Madox Ford (New York: Doubleday, 1924), 214.

    Google Scholar 

  9. See Andrew Thacker, Moving through Modernity: Space and Geography in Modernism (Manchester, UK: Manchester UP, 2008); and

    Google Scholar 

  10. Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker, eds., Geographies of Modernism (New York: Routledge, 2005). In such works, the space theory of Henri Lefebvre, Edward Soja, Gaston Bachelard, Michel Foucault, and Michel de Certeau tend to underwrite the discussion.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Franco Moretti, The Atlas of the European Novel (London: Verso, 1998), 3.

    Google Scholar 

  12. For a lengthier accounts of ANT, refer to John Law and John Hassard’s Actor Network Theory and After (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 1999). For an account of ANT’s larger context in academia and philosophy, see Steven C. Ward, Reconfiguring Truth: Postmodernism, Science Studies, and the Search for a New Model of Knowledge (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1996).

    Google Scholar 

  13. Graham Harman, Tool Being: Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Objects (Chicago: Open Court, 2002), 11.

    Google Scholar 

  14. See Mark Morrisson, “Why Modernist Studies and Science Studies Need Each Other,” Modernism/modernity 9.4 (2002): 675–682; and

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Lisa Tickner, “The Popular Culture of Kermesse: Lewis, Painting, and Performance, 1912–1913,” Modernism/modernity 4.2 (1997): 67–120.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Bill Brown, “The Secret Life of Things (Virginia Woolf and the Matter of Modernism),” Modernism/modernity 6.2 (1999): 1.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Bruno Latour, “On Technical Mediation,” Common Knowledge 3.2 (1994), 64.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Latour, “A Collective of Humans and Nonhumans: Following Daedelus’s Labyrinth,” in Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), 174–215.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 1999), 251.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Waugh, When the Going Was Good (London: Duckworth, 1946), 20–21.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Waugh, The Complete Short Stories (New York: Everyman, 2000), 114.

    Google Scholar 

  22. For more on the troubled distinction between travel and tourism, see Dean MacCannell, The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999).

    Google Scholar 

  23. Waugh, A Handful of Dust (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 1999), 228.

    Google Scholar 

  24. For more on Waugh’s mid-1950s career crisis, see James J. Lynch, “Evelyn Waugh During the Pinfold Years,” Modern Fiction Studies 32.4 (1986), 542–560.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. See Waugh, The Letters Of Evelyn Waugh, ed. Mark Amory (New Haven, CT: Ticknor and Fields, 1980), 417.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Qtd. in Douglas Lane Patey, The Life of Evelyn Waugh: A Critical Biography (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), 323.

    Google Scholar 

  27. For more information about Waugh’s eventful cruise, see Selina Hastings, Evelyn Waugh: A Biography (London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1994), 562–567; Patey, The Life of Evelyn Waugh, 325–326; and

    Google Scholar 

  28. Martin Stannard, Evelyn Waugh: The Later Years (London: Norton, 1992), 342–347.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Waugh, The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold (New York: Penguin, 1962), 348, 339.

    Google Scholar 

  30. James J. Lynch, “Evelyn Waugh during the Pinfold Years,” Modern Fiction Studies 32.4 (1986): 543.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Editor information

Robert T. Tally Jr.

Copyright information

© 2014 Robert T. Tally Jr.

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Ross, S. (2014). “History, Mystery, Leisure, Pleasure”: Evelyn Waugh, Bruno Latour, and the Ocean Liner. In: Tally, R.T. (eds) Literary Cartographies. Geocriticism and Spatial Literary Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137449375_8

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics