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Literary Tourism and Authenticity: From Charles Dickens to Harry Potter

Monday 23 November 2015, 5.30PM to 7.00pm

Centre for Modern Studies Postgraduate Forum Seminar

  • Emily Bowles: A Haunted House Among the Trees: The Swiss Chalet in Dickensian Biography
  • Daisy Johnson: Platform 9 3/4: Issues of Authenticity and Legitimacy

'Don't talk rubbish,' said Uncle Vernon, 'there is no platform nine and three-quarters'. (Rowling, 2001)  

These papers discuss the issues surrounding two problematic tourist sites, from the overlooked wooden structure in which Dickens wrote for the last five years of his life, to the problems of creating authenticity for the famous train platform that leads into J. K. Rowling's wizarding world.

The first paper shows how and why the strange Swiss chalet Dickens owned has been marginalised and omitted in accounts of Dickens's life, positing the chalet as an unassimilable space in contrast to the almost mythical status of Dickens's Gad's Hill study.

The second paper analyses the legitimiacy and authenticity of the Platform 9 3/4 site at King's Cross station, London, tracing the history of the site and contextualising the location within the diverse range of other settings which have adoped the 'Platform 9 3/4 'moniker. Both papers explore questions of authenticity and legitimisation of tourist sites, from the role of the author to the role of the tourist.

Location: BS/008, Berrick Saul Building