Something to write home about: a ‘textography’ of contemporary postcards

Colin Symes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The relative compactness of postcards belies their significance as vehicles for much that is interesting about tourism. In providing vignettes of holiday happenings and tourist events, they are invaluable documents, which hold much that is telling about how individuals chronicle being on the move and in alien places. They are a form of travel writing, but one which has not attracted much scholarly attention, or if it has, then it has been restricted to a particular time period or unconnected individuals. This paper’s approach is different in that it focuses on a corpus of postcards from a single provenance, which means that the cards involved, which extend from the early 1970s through to the present, are interconnected in various ways. Moreover, as many of their senders and receivers were accessible for interview, it has been possible to employ a form of textual ethnography and consult with them about their postcards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-660
Number of pages19
JournalAnnals of Leisure Research
Issue number5
Early online date15 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • postcards
  • epistolary network
  • tourist performances
  • chirography
  • media landscape
  • ordinary writing


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