Introduction: The Grand Tour – Avil Beckford’s Musings
I am an introvert, so I am always thinking. My mind goes a mile per second. I have the tendency to overthink things. I am hosting the Read the World Extreme Reading Challenge, and you have to sign-up for the challenge to get the weekly prompts. You are encouraged to join the Read the World Facebook Group.
I think a lot about the reading challenge because I do not want to fail. I am always looking for new ways to make it more interesting for myself, and I may have found the answer in the Grand Tour.
The Grand Tour
A few years ago, I decided to get a non-degree liberal arts education. I searched the internet for free courses. All the courses I took were free, except for Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life. One of the courses I took was the History of Architecture, where I learned about the Grand Tour.
“The Grand Tour flourished from about 1660 until the 1840s. One of the key objectives of the Grand Tour of Europe was to round out the liberal arts education of young affluent men, who had studied Greek and Latin literature…. They were interested in seeing Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Paris and Nimes, which were major cultural centres at the time. Less frequently, Grand Tourists who were more adventurous, also travelled to the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Greece, and Turkey. Going on The Grand Tour was especially important for aspiring architects because they got commissions from those they met on the Tour.”
Introduction: Learning from history, taking the Grand Tour The Legacy of the Grand Tour: New Essays on Travel, Literature, and Culture Recently, I talked ab
Related Articles About the Grand Tour
I imagine that it was a life altering experience to go on The Grand Tour. In Months Five and Twelve, we are visiting Europe on the Read the World Challenge through the books we read. While my mind was going a mile a second, I came up with the novel idea to have a challenge within a challenge, taking The Grand Tour that I learned about in my architecture course. The way I first viewed my idea, was to figure out all the countries on the way, then find books written by authors born in those countries.
As you can imagine, I was overwhelmed in no time. That was a major undertaking. I decided that a better approach is to read one or two books about The Grand Tour. It seemed logical that the best place to start the search was Amazon.com. I eliminated some choices based on the shipping costs.
Because several of the books are out of print, they are not being shipped from Amazon’s warehouse, so the shipping costs is nearly five times the cost of the books. I finally decided on Italy and the Grand Tour by Jeremy Black and The Legacy of The Grand Tour: New Essays On Travel, Literature, and Culture by Lisa Colletta. I haven’t bought either book yet, because I wanted to think about it some more since one of the books is CDN $90.
Update: I have bought the The Legacy of the Grand Tour
Amazon’s Description of Italy and the Grand Tour by Jeremy Black
“For members of the social elite in eighteenth-century England, extended travel for pleasure came to be considered part of an ideal education as well as an important symbol of social status. Italy, and especially Rome – a fashionable, exciting and comfortable city – became the focus of such early tourists’ interest. In this distinctive book, historian Jeremy Black recreates the actual experiences of those who travelled to Italy on a Grand Tour. Relying on the private diaries and personal letters of travellers, rather than on the self-conscious accounts of literary travellers who wrote for wider audiences, the book presents a fresh and authentic picture of how British tourists experienced Italy, its landscapes, women, food, music, Catholicism and more. Using material from archives across Britain and a generous selection of illustrations, the book highlights the discrepancy between the idealised view of the Grand Tour and its reality: what people were meant to do was not necessarily what they did; what the guide books described as splendid was not always so perceived.”
Indigo Books’ Description of The Legacy of The Grand Tour: New Essays On Travel, Literature, and Culture by Lisa Colletta
“The topos of the journey is one of the oldest in literature, and even in this age of packaged tours and mediated experience, it still remains one of the most compelling. This volume examines the ways in which the legacy of the Grand Tour is still evident in works of travel and literature. From its aristocratic origins and the permutations of sentimental and romantic travel to the age of tourism and globalization, the Grand Tour still influences the destinations tourists choose and shapes the ideas of culture and sophistication that surround the act of travel.”
Don’t you feel like you want to read both books to get steeped into culture? To journey on the grand tour? To experience what the young elites experienced centuries ago? I know I do.
I decided to present my musings here, because after the fact, I realized that I was combining ideas to create a new experience, and I did it automatically. In 2013, I took the History of Architecture course, and at the beginning of this year, I officially launched the Read the World Challenge.
In thinking about the Read the World Challenge, I remembered the Grand Tour. The next thing you know, I connected both events. These kinds of experiences can happen to you! All you have to do, is to immerse yourself in different situations – read more books.
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