American Travelers in Mallorca in the Twentieth Century: The Hard Work of the Nothing-To-Do’s

  • Eduard Moyà


British travelers in the nineteenth century created the construct of the Balearic Islands as a remote and isolated paradise. In the twentieth century, they reified their fantasies about the islands as places devoted to artistic fulfilment, and sensual joy at a very cheap cost. Was this also true for the American traveler? This article examines to what extent American travelers followed the discourse of leisure and pleasure established by British travelers on the island of Mallorca. I will therefore analyze what are the recurring and diverging points. The travel writers examined range from artists, bohemians and writers such as William E. Cook, Gertrude Stein, and Jesse Metcalf, to Frederick Chamberlin and Elliot Paul. British travel accounts will also be reviewed in order to analyze the not-so-flattering representations of American travelers. Ultimately, the study of these representations will help us to see whether these differences have helped create a particular view of the islands for the present day American travel market coming to Mallorca and in current popular travel literature.