Hotel London: How Victorian Commercial Hospitality Shaped a Nation and Its Stories

Barbara Black ’84

Hotel London: How Victorian Commercial Hospitality Shaped a Nation and Its Stories by Barbara Black ’84 is rooted in Walter Benjamin’s “new velocities” of the 19th century and Wayne Koestenbaum’s hotel theory. Hotel London explores how the emergence of the grand hotel as a physical and metaphorical space helped to construct a consumer economy that underscored London’s internationalism and, by extension, England’s global status. Incorporating works of literature as well as contemporary depictions of the hotels, Black examines how the hotel supported a corporate identity that assisted in the rise of modern capitalist structures and the middle class. (Ohio State University Press, 2019)

Barbara Black '84 is a professor of English at Skidmore College. She is the author of A Room of His Own: A Literary-Cultural Study of Victorian Clubland and On Exhibit: Victorians and Their Museums.