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Ladies of the Grand Tour

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Ladies of the Grand Tour

2.3 (4116)

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    Available in PDF Format | Ladies of the Grand Tour.pdf | English
    Brian Dolan(Author)

An intimate portrait of the feisty 18th-century English women who travelled to the Continent in search of culture and excitement.

According to ‘The Art of Governing A Wife’ (1747), women in Georgian England were supposed to ‘lay 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.

Hearing of the delights of the Grand Tour from pioneering friends, increasing numbers of English ladies set off to sample foreign lands from which many returned apparently ‘the best informed and most perfect creatures’. For others the Grand Tour was an intellectual and romantic rite of passage, widening their knowledge of society, love and politics and inspiring a genre of literary fiction all of its own.

Brian Dolan leads us into the hearts and minds of the ladies through the stories, thoughts and court gossip recorded in their journals, letters and diaries.

2.2 (5107)
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Book details

  • PDF | 352 pages
  • Brian Dolan(Author)
  • HarperCollins; 1st Edition edition (4 Jun. 2001)
  • English
  • 3
  • History
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Review Text

  • By Scarlett on 5 January 2016

    This is an extraordinarily thoughtful and extremely well-researched account of the British women's lives and travels during 18th century and I daresay it fulfills almost everything what the book holds promise for.Every single chapter offers a new story to be told, a different topic, a different point of view and you will positively come across many, many fascinating, absorbing facts about the travelling and especially about the women's world during those times because this book focuses not only on the Grand Tour itself but also - and sometimes primarily - on the position of women in Georgian era, their social status, their desperate need to break the stiff restrictions that bound them, their eagerness for independence, education, liberty and freedom of actions and thinking.I must, however, admit that I was, in spite of my complete infatuation with the book, a bit disappointed, because the documentation of the travels sometimes seemed to me far in the background in comparison with the step-by-step painfully analysed inner and outer world of women. Nevertheless, the so called focus on the Grand Tour certainly DOES appear, adorned by many astonishing details (just to name some - the life, fashion and overcrowded streets in Paris, a lenghty list of recommendations for what to take on the Grand Tour, means of transportation across the Alps, climate conditions and health improvements, religion and divorce in England in 18th century, French Revolution etc. etc.).Telling from my own experience, I don't think anyone should expect that this is going to be a detailed analysis of the Grand Tour itself. If you want something like that, maybe pick up Jeremy Black or Christopher Hibbert. Remember, this is called "Ladies of the Grand Tour" and it clearly states that the focus is going to be mostly on women, their lives and their summarization of the exctinig journey through the Continent.

  • By Marie-Anne Mancio on 27 May 2012

    The Grand Tour has long been assumed to have been a male preserve. Young aristocrats or the sons of the newly wealthy would set off for a year or two to see the cultural highlights of Europe and to gain some sexual experience in brothels along the way before returning to 'settle down'. Their fiancees - ever patient - were left behind, communicated with by letter. The men would often have their portraits painted in the Grand Manner and collect souvenirs.This book reminds us that sometimes - albeit rarely - women made that trip too. It is excellent at setting the scene, making you think about the practicalities of wearing voluminous clothing whilst trying to cross the Alps. It's also a fantastic reminder that the C18th was a complex, contradictory era. A must for students of C18th history or for art history students.

  • By Robert A. Hatch on 5 August 2001

    I found this a refreshing book--for me it captures the excitement and stimulation of travel without at all diminishing the intellectual or emotional consequences of it. The desires these women had to travel and their commitment to do so make it a compelling, if also sometimes racy, read.

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