The Suffering Traveller and the Romantic Imagination
Wordsworth, Byron, etc...
First edition, second printing. Hardback in laminate boards. 22 × 14.5cm, 299pp
This book explores the romance that can attach to the notion of suffering in travel, and the importance of the persona of ‘suffering traveller’ in the Romantic self-fashioning of figures, such as Wordsworth and Byron. It considers how the Romantics sought to differentiate themselves from other contemporary tourists by following alternative models and alternative travel ‘scripts’ in both their travel and their travel writing. Rejecting more conventional roles, such as those of the picturesque tourist and the Grand Tourist, the Romantic traveller's anti-tourism leads to an emphasis on authenticity, adventure, and misadventure in the travel experience. Prioritizing such experiences, Romantic travellers often drew their models and their travel ‘scripts’ from sub-genres of contemporary travel writing, such as the shipwreck narrative, the exploration narrative, the captivity narrative, and the mountaineering narrative. This study accordingly considers the diverse reasons (touching variously upon some of the major philosophical, theological, and political issues of the day) why Romantic travellers and writers were so drawn to this literature of misadventure. It then treats Wordsworth and Byron as especially influential examples of this tendency in Romanticism. It shows them to be figures who often sought—not only in writing but also in action, in the course of their own travelling—to re-enact such misadventures, and to script both their travels and their personae as travellers according to scenes and situations found in these ‘misadventurous’ branches of travel writing.
This copy is in very good condition, with some minor abrasions to the spine.