French Romantic Travel Writing: Chateaubriand to Nerval

ISBN : 9780199233540

C.W. Thompson
472 ページ
162 x 241 mm

In the first half of the nineteenth century most leading French Romantic authors wrote travel books. French Romantic Travel Writing is the first study exclusively devoted to surveying the travelogues they produced and the reasons for, and significance of, this trend. Whilst 'the journey' was one of Romanticism's central images, suggesting as it did a dynamic, expanding, and evermore complex world in which artists' lives were increasingly experienced as wanderings and endless quests, the fashion for Romantic travel books was more marked in France than in Germany or England. Chateaubriand, Stael, Stendhal, Nodier, Hugo, Lamartine, Nerval, Gautier, Sand, Custine, Quinet, Merimee, Dumas, and Tristan all wrote one or more travelogues, including at least four masterpieces-Hugo's Le Rhin (1842), Nerval's Voyage en Orient (1851), and Stendhal's two Rome, Naples et Florence (1817 and 1826). The book explores the reasons for this difference from England and Germany. These include French foreign and cultural policies, as well as the particular needs of Parisian publishers. It puts forward the case for the collective achievement of these Romantic travel books, compared to those of most later writers in nineteenth-century France. A distinctive feature of the survey is its belief in the value of concentrating on the text of these books as published by their authors, as opposed to manuscript and peripheral material.


Select Chronology
I. Introduction
II. The Birth of a Fashion (1): Empire and Exile
III. The Birth of a Fashion (2): High Hopes Restored
IV. From Fashion to Ritual: Itineraries and Incentives
V. The Pleasures and Challenges of Subjectivity: From Dreams, Humour, and Self-Consciousness to Autobiography
VI. Between Dreams, Desires, and Realities (1): Switzerland and the Romantic 'North'
VII. Between Dreams, Desires, and Realities (2): The 'Orient' and Spain Towards the 'Orient'
VIII. Between Dreams, Desires, and Realities (3): The 'Orient' of the Maghreb and the Old Levant
IX. Women Travellers and Autobiography
X. The Wish to Guide and to Inform: The Genre under Pressure
XI. Nature, Science, Vision
XII. Intertextuality and the Quest for Literary Energy
XIII. Avatars to Decadence and Future Directions
Select Bibliography


C.W. Thompson is Emeritus Professor of French, University of Warwick. He is the author of Le Jeu de l'ordre et de la liberte dans La Chartreuse de Parme (1982), Lamiel fille du feu. Essai sur Stendhal et l'energie (1997), Walking and the French Romantics, Rousseau to Sand and Hugo (2003), and the editor of L'Autre et le sacre: Surrealisme, cinema, ethnologie (1995).