Shopping Cart Link

University of New Hampshire Press

Sign up for our newsletter

Bookmark and Share
Cart link
Cover image Click for larger image

Newlyweds on Tour
Honeymooning in Nineteenth-Century America
Barbara Penner

Becoming Modern: New Nineteenth-Century Studies

New Hampshire
2009 • 308 pp. 61 illus. (10 color) 6 x 9"
Decorative Arts & Material Culture / Sociology

Sorry—this item is Out of Print

“In this wide-ranging and nuanced cultural history of the honeymoon in the 19th-century US, Penner examines letters and diaries alongside a variety of textual and visual representations of traveling newlyweds to explain why such tours became so popular, as well as what role the practice played in a constellation of topics, from nationalism to the interconnection between sentiment and commerce . . . Penner argues that the honeymoon experience did not just reflect the growing importance of sentimentalism, domesticity, and romantic love, but actually played a pivotal role in promoting those social values, at the same time provoking debate about the proper way to express such private values in public view. Recommended.” —Choice

An original, richly illustrated analysis of American honeymooning, 1820-1900, that offers fresh insights into the intersecting histories of tourism, consumerism, sentiment, sexuality, and conjugality

Newlyweds on Tour is the first historical study to trace the origins and growth of the American honeymoon between 1820 and 1900. Rather than treating the honeymoon as a simple by-product of the privatization of the family, this work argues that it was formed at the interstices between (and helped to articulate) a variety of narratives—patriotic, conjugal, sentimental, and sexual that were central to the modern American national identity. To track these narratives, Barbara Penner moves between primary accounts of newlywed experiences recorded in diaries and letters in addition to entries in a wide range of textual, visual, and architectural representations, matrimonial maps, engravings from the popular press, sensation novels, and palace hotel bridal chambers. Her wide-ranging interdisciplinary analysis demonstrates the specific ways in which newlyweds on tour prompted individual and collective feelings of attachment whether to the ideals of egalitarian marriage, domesticity, nation, or sentiment itself. Above all, she argues that the honeymoon was key to legitimizing the union of sentiment and commerce, a union that continues to thrive today.

Barbara Penner and her book are featured in “Ask an Academic,” an online feature of The New Yorker. Click here.

She was also interviewed for ROROTOKO, “…an online venue for engaging the ideas and elaborations serious books are made of.” To read the interview, Click here.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements:

“In this excellent new monograph . . . Barbara Penner offers thoughtful, enlightening readings. She peers inside the couple’s isolation and finds a crowd. For even as the wedding journey cuts couples off from their families and communities, it thrusts them into an imagined—and very public—community of new husbands and wives, giving them countless peers among their fellow vacationers and fashioning them into representatives of the married state as a whole.” —Journal of American History

“The strength of this theoretically sound book lies in its ability to successfully examine a hitherto underexplored topic by resorting to a wide-ranging group of academic disciplines. . . . This is a fresh and wonderfully informative book that opens new avenues of research in American studies.” —Journal of American Studies

Newlyweds on Tour places an emphasis on invented tradition and on transformation through ritual that is very interesting and very different from previous scholarship on the topic. Barbara Penner also implicitly tells a chronological story of the development of honeymoons in response to technological and cultural change, especially in the transportation and tourist industries. Drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary sources, the latter from a stunning variety of fields, Penner has truly brought a lot of reading and thinking to bear on what is a definitional ritual of conjugality and modernity—and for Penner, of visual culture.”—Helena Michie, Agnes C. Arnold Chair in Humanities, Professor of English, Rice University, author of Victorian Honeymoons: Journeys to The Conjugal

Newlyweds on Tour offers an elegant and persuasive interpretation of nineteenth-century honeymooning in America. Barbara Penner’s work is intellectually sophisticated yet highly intuitive, bringing social theory to bear on familiar traditions in ways that illuminate both. And her readings of material culture—from lithographs to silverware to furniture to architecture—are unmistakably high-quality, top-drawer stuff.”—A. K. Sandoval-Strausz, University of New Mexico, author of Hotel: An American History

BARBARA PENNER is Senior Lecturer in Architectural History, Bartlett School of Architecture, University College, London. She is co-editor of Gender Space Architecture: An Interdisciplinary Introduction.

Mon, 16 May 2016 15:16:57 -0500