ARE WE THERE YET?- Virtual Travel and Victorian Realism connects the Victorian fascination with "virtual travel" with the rise of realism in nineteenth-century fiction and twenty-first-century experiments in virtual reality. Even as the expansion of river and railway networks in the nineteenth century made travel easier than ever before, staying at home and fantasizing about travel turned into a favorite pastime. New ways of representing place—360-degree panoramas, foldout river maps, exhaustive railway guides—offered themselves as substitutes for actual travel. Thinking of these representations as a form of "virtual travel" reveals a surprising continuity between the Victorian fascination with imaginative dislocation and twenty-first -century efforts to use digital technology to expand the physical boundaries of the self.
Cover illustration: "The Queen's Return from the Highlands: Her Majesty Crossing Tay Bridge, Dundee, "Illustrated London News, 1879. Reprinted courtesy of the Mary Evans Picture Library. Collaged with 19th century printing of an airship.
Alison Byerly is President of Lafayette College.