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Ladies of the Grand Tour

af Brian Dolan

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2113128,879 (3.78)11
According to The Art of Governing A Wife (1747), women in Georgian England were supposed to alay up and save, look to the house; talk to few and take of all within. However, some broke from these taboos and took up the previously male privilege of travelling to the Continent to develop mind, spirit and body.… (mere)
  1. 00
    Dr Johnson's Women af Norma Clarke (nessreader)
    nessreader: Several of the same women feature in both books. Also, there's a wonderful about early tourism (more middle class than aristocratic, and the 19th rather than 18th century) called the Smell of the Continent by Mullan, if early european travel is your thing.… (mere)
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Featuring a number of women and lots of quotations from the letters and travel writing they wrote, this book focuses on 18th century British women travelling on the continent, mainly in France and Italy. ( )
  mari_reads | Oct 13, 2021 |
I was delighted to be able to "live" 18th century travel through the eyes of the woman that Dolan brings to life. I am especially glad not to be travelling like they did - airport security gates are a much aggravation as I can take.

Dolan takes his topic broadly. The book is not just a recounting of travel incidents -- it spends considerable time on the significance of being abroad, particularly for those women who spend time in France during the Revolution, eventually fleeing as it turned into the Terror. He conveys a good sense of the differences between that time and this, when views and videos of faraway places are immediately and widely available.

This book is particularly set apart by Dolan's sensitive examination of the women's status in their society. I was particularly touched by his discussion of the double-bind that made "frivolous" if they concentrated on domestic and personal matters, but "unwomanly and unnatural" if they attempted to broaden their horizons. I was aware that women were not usually well-educated in this era, but surprised to learn of the panic engendered if they attempted self-education.

An excellent book for those interested in this era, in travel, or in the historical situation of women. ( )
1 stem PuddinTame | Oct 6, 2007 |
from Publishers Weekly: "For upper-class Englishmen in the 18th century, travel on the Continent represented pretty much what it does for college students today a chance to learn a few things and have some unsupervised fun. For women of that era, however, it might represent an opportunity denied to them at home: freedom from a narrowly defined femininity, the chance to develop and exercise their intelligence, an escape from an abusive marriage or, occasionally, a career as a travel writer or political correspondent. As Dolan points out, however, these benefits came at some real cost, since Continental travel, even for the rich, was neither comfortable nor safe, and the woman who remained too long abroad risked condemnation at home as unpatriotic, unfeminine or unchaste. While some were decidedly the last, using a sojourn abroad to pursue an irregular sexual liaison or to conceal its results, many found in revolutionary Paris or benign Tuscany a personal and intellectual liberty impossible in England and, like Mary Wollstonecraft, wrote home to say so. Although this book is richly detailed and immensely entertaining, it is a bit of a grab-bag in which women of no particular interest jostle for space with the genuinely significant. Still, it is hard to forget the otherwise obscure Elizabeth Webster, reluctant repatriate, being borne backwards over the Alps so that she would not lose sight of her beloved Italy until the last possible moment."
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  kristian_m | Aug 12, 2006 |
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Unbeknown to Mary Berry, two days before she wrote to her confidant Bertie Greatheed in Gittingen, Admiral Nelson's fleet had destroyed Naploean Bonaparte's army in the battle of the Nile, quashing the French Egyptian expedition and effectively ending French plans to aggravate Britain further by thrusting at India.
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According to The Art of Governing A Wife (1747), women in Georgian England were supposed to alay up and save, look to the house; talk to few and take of all within. However, some broke from these taboos and took up the previously male privilege of travelling to the Continent to develop mind, spirit and body.

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