The Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century

The Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century

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The Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century

The Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century

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Excerpt

The subject presented in the following pages has been strangely neglected; for until recent years there has been little attempt to treat comprehensively and in detail one of the most significant chapters in the social history of England in the eighteenth and earlier centuries--the tour in foreign countries for the sake of education. The materials are abundant,--indeed, embarrassingly so,--but they have never been systematically utilized. As a rule, the whole matter has been disposed of by historians in a paragraph or two. The more detailed studies have mainly dealt with the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. M. Babeau's delightful sketch of Les Voyageurs en France covers about three centuries, but is limited to a discussion of travel in one country. Yet few things had a more far-reaching influence upon the life and thought of Englishmen than the grand tour, which permitted them in the most impressionable period of their lives to survey other lands, other types of society and government, and to carry home something of the best--and too often of the worst--that the Continent had to offer.

In a subject so limitless in its possible range there is obviously much for which we cannot afford the space. The original intention was to trace the growth of English travel on the Continent from the time of the Revival of Learning to the outbreak of the French Revolution. But owing to the appearance of Mr. Bates's Touring in 1600 this extensive programme was modified to deal, in the main, with the grand tour in the latter half of the eighteenth century, with an occasional glance at the travel of an earlier generation. It is, perhaps, hardly necessary to remark that the present book is in no sense a systematic guide to eighteenth-century Europe, and that it attempts no extended account of any of . . .

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