Ambassadors of commerce: the commercial traveler in British culture, 1800-1939

French, M. and Popp, A. (2008) Ambassadors of commerce: the commercial traveler in British culture, 1800-1939. Business History Review, 82(4), pp. 789-814. (doi:10.1017/S0007680500063200)

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Abstract

This paper presents a reading of British literary representations of commercial travelers between 1800 and 1939. Three forms of representation are used: nonfiction representations by others, travelers' self-representations, and fictional representations. We find remarkable continuity in representations of commercial travelers across this long time period, particularly in terms of a sustained tension between the image of the disreputable "drummer" and the more respectable "model" salesman. These readings and findings are used to address two debates: one concerned with the timing of any transition to "modern" selling and salesmanship in Britain; and the second having to do with the processes whereby British society accommodated itself to modernity, commercialization, and the birth of a consumer society.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:French, Professor Michael
Authors: French, M., and Popp, A.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
Journal Name:Business History Review
ISSN:0007-6805
ISSN (Online):2044-768X
Published Online:13 December 2011

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