Philips D (2012) Fairground Attractions: A Genealogy of the pleasure garden. London: Bloomsbury. ISBN: 9781849664912
This book examines the use of literary narratives in carnival attractions from the beginnings of popular tourism in the late eighteenth century to their contemporary manifestation in theme parks such as Disneyland. Unique in both its historical scope and the range of genres that it covers, the book examines the concept of the 'metonymic icon' in the carnival context, exploring how stories become condensed into familiar signifiers, which will be recognised whether the text has been read or not (as in the case of a tea cup ride that references the Mad Hatter's tea party).
Philips brings together literary history, visual culture, and film and television studies to trace the development of the metonymic icon and to examine how literature is transformed by illustration, theatre productions, and film and television shows. Through the identification of the literary genres common to carnival sites (including fairy tale, gothic horror, Egyptiana, and the Western), the book traces their historical transition across a range of media to become familiar icons of popular culture. Underpinned by a comprehensive survey of the bricolage of narratives and imagery found in contemporary leisure zones, Philips shows how the clash of genres and stories in the carnival and theme park is less a consequence of postmodern pastiche than it is the result of a history and popular tradition of conventionalised iconography.
Blurring traditional concepts of high and low art, this book highlights the relationship between literary texts and widely recognised forms of popular entertainment. This book is underpinned by Philips' previous investigations into the relationship between tourism, tourist attractions and literary narratives and develops out of a series of conference papers given at MIT Boston (2008) and IAMCR Stokholm (2008).