Travel Writing in the Nineteenth Century

  • Barbara Korte


The nineteenth century, in particular the age of Queen Victoria, was a period of intensification of travel which could be seen to emerge at the end of the previous century in the increased popularity of travel on the Continent and the fashion of scenic tourism. Travel was becoming open to more and more sectors of society. In his Travelling Sketches (1866),1 Anthony Trollope — himself a well-travelled writer — portrays typical globetrotters of his time, such as The Family that Goes Abroad because It’s the Thing to Do’, The Man who Travels Alone’, The Unprotected Female Tourist’, The United Englishmen Who Travel for Fun’ and even Tourists who Don’t Like their Travels’. The most favoured destinations, whether at home or on the Continent, were often overcrowded. As early as 1820, when Maria Edgeworth arrived in Lausanne during her trip through Switzerland and France, the town was teeming with tourists and Edgeworth had great difficulty in finding a place to stay for her party.2 Eighteenth-century travellers to the Continent had enjoyed the Alps in relative solitude. The Victorian John Ruskin, by contrast, found the summits littered with the leftovers of numerous tourists who held picnics while viewing the breathtaking panorama. As he complained in his chapter ‘Of Modern Landscape’ in Modern Painters (1856): ‘Our modern society in general goes to the mountains, not to fast, but to feast, and leaves their glaciers covered with chicken-bones and egg-shells’ (p. 320).


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© Catherine Matthias 2000

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  • Barbara Korte

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