New Book | Masculinity and Danger on the Grand Tour

Posted in books by Editor on February 10, 2022

Distributed by The University of Chicago Press:

Sarah Goldsmith, Masculinity and Danger on the Eighteenth-Century Grand Tour (London: University of London Press, 2021), 200 pages, ISBN: 978-1912702213 (cloth), $55 / ISBN: 978-1912702220 (paper), $35.

The Grand Tour, a customary trip through Europe undertaken by British nobility and wealthy landed gentry during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, played an important role in the formation of contemporary notions of elite masculinity. Through an examination of testimonies written by Grand Tourists, tutors, and their families, Sarah Goldsmith argues that the Grand Tour educated young men in a wide variety of skills, virtues, and vices that extended well beyond polite society.

Goldsmith demonstrates that the Grand Tour was a means of constructing Britain’s next generation of leaders. Influenced by aristocratic concepts of honor and inspired by military-style leadership, elite society viewed experiences of danger and hardship as powerfully transformative and therefore as central to constructing masculinity. Scaling mountains, volcanoes, and glaciers, and even encountering war and disease, Grand Tourists willingly tackled a variety of perils. Through her study of these dangers, Goldsmith offers a bold revision of eighteenth-century elite masculine culture and the critical role the Grand Tour played within it.

Sarah Goldsmith is a lecturer in urban and material culture history at the University of Edinburgh, having previously held a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship at the University of Leicester.



1  Hazarding Chance: A History of Eighteenth-Century Danger
2  Military Mad: War and the Grand Tour
3  Wholesome Dangers and a Stock of Health: Exercise, Sport, and the Hardships of the Road
4  Fire and Ice: Mountains, Glaciers, and Volcanoes
5  Dogs, Servants, and Masculinities: Writing about Danger and Emotion on the Grand Tour


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