Excerpt from sites unseen: Architecture, race, and American literature

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This excerpt from William A. Gleason's Sites Unseen: Architecture, Race, and American Literature juxtaposes the work of Richard Harding Davis and Olga Beatriz Torres, two international travelers during the generation preceding US involvement in World War I. Davis, a popular author and magazine editor, barnstormed through Central and South America, which he made the subject of a popular travelogue and "imperialist novel." Torres, a teenaged girl, traveled north from Mexico into the United States and reported on conditions there in a series of letters published after her death. Yet despite their obvious disparities in point of view, the two works not only address similar themes of US power (albeit from different directions) but they both focus on architecture and how it reflects race and class structures. The excerpt forms a fascinating counterpoint to Rhys Isaac's pioneering study of architecture and social hierarchy in colonial Virginia, The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790 (1983).

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Transnational American Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • General Arts and Humanities


  • American Literature
  • Architecture
  • Olga Beatriz Torres
  • Race
  • Richard Harding Davis
  • Transnational


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