Skip to main content


  • Kristine Kelly (a1)

In the preface to publisher John Murray's 1858 two-volume Handbook for Travellers in Syria and Palestine, one of the first guidebooks specifically for British tourists to the Holy Land, author J. L. Porter claims that his objective is not just to provide a geographical summary or to outline travelers’ routes, but, more importantly, to link his descriptions with the “sacred dramas” of the Bible so that the tourist “may see with his ‘mind's eye’ each scene played over and over again” (xi). In such a spirit, this Murray guidebook tells both the well-known stories of the Bible and the more mundane particulars of finding interesting places and dealing with local middle-eastern people. The Handbook weaves together traditions of pilgrimage, the journey to a spiritual center, with tourism. In other words, it seeks to balance the pilgrim's desire for divine revelation with the tourist's interest in physical comfort and gentle visual stimulation. It incongruously pairs a conviction of the value of Christian self-sacrifice and hardship with a desire for bourgeois leisure. With a sly humility, Porter notes in his Preface: “The Bible is the best Handbook for Palestine; the present work is only intended to be a companion to it” (xi). As second to the Bible, this travel guide aspired to bring the English traveler's spiritual journey to the Holy Land into harmony with the secular pleasure of sightseeing.

Hide All
Abramson, Glenda. “Two Nineteenth-Century Travellers to the Holy Land.” Israel Affairs 8.3 (Spring 2002): 6983. Academic Search Complete. Web. 9 Sept. 2010.
Addison, Joseph. “On the Pleasures of the Imagination.” 1712. Critical Theory since Plato. Ed. Adams, Hazard. San Diego: Harcourt, 1971. 287–92.
Andrews, Malcolm. The Search for the Picturesque: Landscape Aesthetics and Tourism in Britain, 1750–1800. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1989.
Ben-Arieh, Yehoshua. “Jerusalem Travel Literature as Historical Source and Cultural Phenomenon.” Ben-Arieh and Davis, eds. 25–46.
Ben-Arieh, Yehoshua, and Davis, Moshe, eds. Jerusalem in the Mind of the Western World 1800–1948: With Eyes toward Zion-V. Westport: Praeger, 1997.
Butor, Michel. “Travel and Writing.” Roberson, ed. 69–87.
Buzard, James. The Beaten Track: European Tourism, Literature, and the Ways to ‘Culture,’ 1800–1918. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1993.
Buzard, James. “The Grand Tour and After (1660–1840).” Hulme and Youngs, ed. 37–52.
Cohen, Erik. “Phenomenology of Tourist Experiences.” Roberson, ed. 29–55.
Coleman, Simon. “From the Sublime to the Meticulous: Art, Anthropology and Victorian Pilgrimage to Palestine.” History and Anthropology 13.4 (2002): 275–90. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 March 2010.
Coleman, Simon. “A Tale of Two Centres? Representing Palestine to the British in the Nineteenth Century.Mobilities 2.3 (Nov. 2007): 331–45. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 March 2010.
Gretton, John. Introduction. A Guide to the Microfiche Edition of Murray's Handbooks for Travellers. By Lister, W. B. C.. University Publications of America, 1993. ProQuest. Web. 4 Sept. 2011.
Hulme, Peter, and Youngs, Tim, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002.
Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Judgment. 1790. Trans. Werner S. Pluhar. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1987.
Lister, W. B. C.A Guide to the Microfiche Edition of Murray's Handbooks for Travellers. University Publications of America, 1993. ProQuest. Web. 4 Sept. 2011.
Melman, Billie. “The Middle East / Arabia: ‘the cradle of Islam.’” Hulme and Youngs, ed. 105–21.
Porter, Rev. J. L.A Handbook for Travellers in Syria and Palestine. 2 vols. London: John Murray, 1858.
Pratt, ML.Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London: Routledge, 1992.
Roberson, Susan L., ed. Defining Travel: Diverse Visions. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2001.
Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Vintage, 1993.
Smith, Rev. Haskett. Handbook for Travellers in Syria and Palestine. London: John Murray, 1892.
Stoler, Ann Laura. Along the Archival Grain: Epistemic Anxieties and Colonial Common Sense. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2009.
Trollope, Anthony. An Autobiography. 1883. Berkeley: U of California P, 1947.
Trollope, Anthony. The Bertrams. 1859. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1991.
Trollope, Anthony. “A Ride through Palestine.” Tales of All Countries. London: Chapman and Hall, 1863.
Werblowsky, R. J. Zwi. “The Meaning of Jerusalem to Jews, Christians and Muslims.” Ben-Arieh and Davis, ed. 7–24.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Victorian Literature and Culture
  • ISSN: 1060-1503
  • EISSN: 1470-1553
  • URL: /core/journals/victorian-literature-and-culture
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 25 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 234 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th March 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.