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The Icon CurtainThe Cold War's Quiet Border$
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Yuliya Komska

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226154190

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226154220.001.0001

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Civilian Border Travel and Travelogues

(p.125) Chapter Three Infrastructure
The Icon Curtain

Yuliya Komska

University of Chicago Press

Once the economic miracle boosted disposable incomes and increased motorization, a “travel wave” engulfed West Germany. On domestic tourist maps and atlases, the Iron Curtain loomed large. To trace the development of the infrastructure that facilitated the “prayer wall,” the chapter contextualizes the new era’s destinations within a century of mobility in the Bohemian Forest, influenced by the works of the realist classic Adalbert Stifter. Whereas “dark tourism” prevailed at the inter-German border, along the “prayer wall” visitors borrowed from their literary precursors. They deployed travelogues—borderland reports—to reconcile the area’s idyll and danger. A close reading of these unstudied narratives suggests that they produced a new sense of spatial discernment as much as exposed their Sudeten German authors’ tangled East-West affinities.

Keywords:   travel, tourism, Adalbert Stifter, travelogue, war, infrastructure, spatial, literary

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