New Book | Lessons of Travel in Eighteenth-Century France

Posted in books by Editor on March 26, 2020

From Boydell & Brewer:

Gábor Gelléri, Lessons of Travel in Eighteenth-Century France: From Grand Tour to School Trips (Martlesham, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 2020), 245 pages, ISBN: 978-1783274369, $130.

A study of the literature of the ‘art of travel’ in eighteenth-century France, showing how consideration of who should travel and for what purpose provided an occasion for wider debate about the social status quo.

Early modern educational travel is usually associated with the Grand Tour: a young nobleman’s journey through the established highlights of Europe. Lessons of Travel presents how, in eighteenth-century France, this practice was heavily contested, and the idea of educational travel had far wider implications. Through the study of a huge range of both canonical and little-known sources discussing ‘the art of travel’, from abbé Pluche’s educational best seller, The Spectacle of Nature, through Rousseau’s Émile to practical prospectuses for collective educational travel in the revolutionary period, Gabor Gelleri investigates what it meant to ‘think about travels’ in eighteenth-century France. Consideration of who should travel and for what purpose, he argues, contributed to an international intellectual tradition but also provided a pretext for debate on the social status quo, including such issues as the place of the merchant class, the necessity for professional training, the uses of travel for young women and the education of a new generation of citizens of the Revolution.

Gábor Gelléri is Lecturer in French at Aberystwyth University.


Introduction: On Reading Arts of Travel
Defining the Grand Tour
From Touring to Training: The Case of Diplomacy, 1680–1830
Trading with Men, Dealing with God: Abbé Pluche’s Ideas on Travel
Travelling on a Moebius Strip: Émile’s Travels
The End of an Era? The Prize Contest of the Academy of Lyon, 1785–87
Inventing School Trips? Revolutionary Programmes of Collective Educational Travel


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