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From Grand Tour to Home Tour, 1760–1800

  • Glenn Hooper

Abstract

For much of the eighteenth century, young Britons of a certain class regarded continental travel as a way of completing their education.1 A visit to Europe, especially with the exotic pleasures and greater cultural appreciation it was presumed to bestow, gave a gloss of sophistication and maturity to their lives.2 Indeed, many focussed almost exclusively on this view of travel, believing themselves engaged in a self-fashioning exercise, an effort intended to bring the references and allusions gleaned from a classical education to life. Some learned languages, engaged meaningfully with different cultures, and improved their appreciation of the arts, although much of what they absorbed was predetermined, stemming as it did from a very definite set of geographical coordinates. Nevertheless, to partake in the Grand Tour of Europe was esteemed one of the most worthy of pursuits, and many well-known figures — Adam Smith, Tobias Smollett and Lawrence Sterne, for example — made trips to the centres of continental culture. They visited the Italian cities of Siena, Florence, Venice and Rome, but also southern venues such as Puglia, and for the hardier tourist, Sicily.3 France, too, as well as parts of middle and northern Europe drew an enthusiastic response, with Paris and Versailles, Amsterdam and Vienna, becoming increasingly popular.

Keywords

Eighteenth Century Lake District Woman Writer Aesthetic Response Natural Curiosity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    While the age profile of travellers may have varied somewhat, the relative youthfulness of many is noted by several critics. For example, James Buzzard quotes Lady Montague, who writes of ‘the folly of British boys … all over Italy’, while Barbara Korte suggests that ‘The intention of the Grand Tour was to add — after the traveller’s student years — the finishing touches to his education and the process of his socialization. Originally, it had also been a part of the courtier’s professional training, preparing him for a career in a political, or more commonly, diplomatic office.’ However, such a profile was less coherent as time passed; Katherine Turner notes the increasing numbers of travellers who were accompanied by ‘wives, families and colleagues’. J. Buzzard, ‘The Grand Tour and After (1660–1840)’, in P. Hulme and T. Youngs, eds, The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 42;Google Scholar
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© Glenn Hooper 2005

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  • Glenn Hooper

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