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February 29 , 2008

Sultry Climates

Travel And Sex


Here, said the reviewer for, is a book that is "lively and accessible and erudite...the perfect companion for anyone who wouldn't be caught dead with an airport paperback-though I wouldn't want to wager which one provides more juice." Historically, the sexual motives of travel have rarely been spelled out in travel guides and brochures. Sultry Climates is an alternative history of tourism, made up of precisely the details that usually go unmentioned. As Ian Littlewood demonstrates with dazzling elegance and wit, if we want to make sense of the celebrated "Grand Tour" of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, for example, it's as important to take account of travelers' visits to Dresden streetwalkers and Venetian courtesans as it is to reckon with their visits to the Dresden picture gallery and the Doge's Palace. From Byron in Greece to Isherwood in Germany, from American expatriates on the Left Bank to Orton in Morocco and right up to the present day, what emerges from these experiences is a continuing motif of tourism, previously neglected or ignored-"a breathless book, a Grand Tour in and of itself" (Los Angeles Times).

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