Fairytale authenticity: historic city tourism, Harry Potter, medievalism and the magical gaze

Journal article


Lovell, J. 2019. Fairytale authenticity: historic city tourism, Harry Potter, medievalism and the magical gaze. Journal of Heritage Tourism. 14 (5-6), pp. 448-561.
AuthorsLovell, J.
Abstract

This article makes an original contribution to debates about authenticity by asking how tourist experiences of the medieval historic environment are linked to fairytales, providing a new way for tourists to imaginatively authenticate heritage. The architecture of some historic cities is preponderantly medieval, an era which is strongly associated with fairytales. Magical-historical double affectiveness has been compounded in the collective imagination by modern fairytales such as the fantasy Harry Potter and Game of Thrones which employ historic city locations and faux-medieval settings, establishing a fluid magi-heritage simulacrum. This is concretised by the appearance in many historic cities of evidence of magical placemaking and staged magical authenticity, such as wizarding shops. The study used a visual methodology to examine 14 historic cities including Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, York, and Canterbury, demonstrating how the magical gaze employs fairytale schemata to imaginatively authenticate places. The findings illustrated how heritage tourists serendipitously encountered the medieval-fairytalesque, unfolding the agency of monumental cathedrals and castles and discovering stories and the historicisation of mythology within the extraordinary-ordinary streetscape. The research findings imply that in an era when the fantasy genre is increasingly popular, the experiential authenticity of heritage tourists may be enhanced by the ‘heritage marvellous.’

KeywordsFairytale; Authenticity; Heritage cities; Heritage tourism; Magical reality
Year2019
JournalJournal of Heritage Tourism
Journal citation14 (5-6), pp. 448-561
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN1743-873X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/1743873X.2019.1588282
Official URLhttp://doi.org/10.1080/1743873X.2019.1588282
Publication dates
Online25 Mar 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Oct 2018
Accepted17 Feb 2019
Accepted author manuscript
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