Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stockhom Literary Tourism

I have to admit to having been swept up in the Millennium series by Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; The Girl who Played with Fire; The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest). They have risen high on the list of my post-dissertation summer of mysteries, thrillers, and other delicious fiction I haven’t let myself read in, well, years. I really like these books. I like how the female characters respond to violence, the male feminist character, the rollicking plot, the oddly translated and workman-styled prose, and I like the setting.

And apparently, I’m not the only one who sees Stockholm as a new and delightful literary landscape. A recent New York Times piece warns that tourists obsessed with setting of these novels are planning trips, and scoping out Stockholm.

I wonder if this kind of intense literary tourism is a uniquely American phenomenon. It was American tourists obsessed with Dan Brown novels that descended upon the European settings of his Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. And while I know a good number of folks from all over the world visit Mark Twain sites (including Borges, who insisted on wading into the Mississippi River to get closer to Twain). I think the en mass flood of intense literary interest in a place may be largely an American Phenomenon. Tell me I’m wrong. Remind me that there are a great number of Japanese tourists who turn up at Prince Edward Island each year in search of Anne of Green Gables. Who else does this?

What other novels have, in the last 25 years, set off tourist movements?