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Interest in travel writing as a literary genre has led to several engaging books that examine narratives written by English and Continental authors in the 1920s and 1930s. This scholarly interest suggests an ancillary area of investigation, one at a far remove from literary studies, but intriguing nonetheless; that is, an exploration of likely agendas shaping the ephemeral pamphlets, brochures and booklets crafted by European government agencies or private service providers, those tasked with attracting the much-needed tourist dollar (or lira or deutsche mark) to European countries struggling with depressed post-war economies.
The primary agenda behind these ephemeral items was, of course, commercial, but within a context of self-promotion, issues of national identity inevitably come to the fore. With this idea in mind, we have prepared a short catalogue featuring promotional travel material produced in Germany and Italy between the World Wars, with particular attention given to material aimed at English-speaking travelers. Interest in the travel ephemera of Germany and Italy from these decades stems in no small measure from the idealized constructs foregrounded in their tourist publications, constructs masking the reality of totalitarian regimes complicit in forging the Axis Alliance in the years leading up to World War II.
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