Call for Papers: Not Such a Grand Tour after All?

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on January 22, 2010

Dirty Sheets: The Underside of the Grand Tour
International conference at the Villa Vigoni in Menaggio, Italy, 26-29 July 2010

Paper proposals due by 1 March 2010

Give what scope you please to your fancy, you will never imagine half the disagreeableness that Italian beds, Italian cooks, Italian post-horses, Italian postilions, and Italian nastiness, offer to an Englishman.

–Sharp, Letters from Italy (1766), p. 43 (letter XI, Rome, October 1765)

Organized by Joseph Imorde (University of Siegen) and Erik Wegerhoff (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich), the conference Dirty Sheets: The Underside of the Grand Tour aims to establish the cultural context of unfavourable travel accounts of Italy from the long eighteenth to the twentieth century. Academic discourse, not to mention popular conception, have long seen Italy as a dazzling destination yearned for by the northern European soul. This conference, however, will address an equally important tradition: disenchantment with and desertion of the Italian ideal. The two-day workshop at the Villa Vigoni will focus on the disillusion with, aversion to and rejection of Italy in travel accounts, diaries and letters, and on historically situating critical or pejorative opinions with regard to the sources in which they appear. We welcome case studies which illustrate these, as well as continuities and changes in the negative perception of Italy. Why do Grand Tourists present themselves as the ‘other’? How is this ‘otherliness’ shaped, formed, created or staged? Where did the preconceptions with which they travelled originate? How did they become conventional? How widely shared are these criteria of evaluation? This conference aims to map the contours of a cultural history of disillusion for Italy.

Please send an abstract (max. 400 words) and a brief CV by 1 March 2010 to both Joseph Imorde (imorde@kunstgeschichte.uni-siegen.de) and Erik Wegerhoff (erik_wegerhoff@yahoo.de). Presentations should be no longer than 30 minutes. Papers may be presented in English, Italian and German. A knowledge of German will be beneficial to those who wish to actively participate in discussion. Travel expenses and accommodation will be reimbursed.

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