Tuesday, April 26, 2016

English Travellers of the Renaissance

Clare Macllelan Howard - English Travellers of the Renaissance (1914)

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A look at British travel literature of the 16th and 17th centuries which may not seem particularly interesting except to people like me but let Howard tell it:

"These discussions of the art of travel are relics of an age when Englishmen, next to the Germans, were known for the greatest travellers among all nations.  In the same boat-load with merchants, spies, exiles, and diplomats from England sailed the young gentlemen fresh from his university, to complete his education by a look at the most civilized countries of the world."

The book covers the development from religious pilgrimage to the Grand Tour, dwelling on the dangers as well as the pleasures, on satire, on France against Italy, on fencing, on guidebooks, on how to behave at inns, what to eat.  For games see the picture below of tennis being played in 1632 France (note the sagging net).

The book was basically the PhD dissertation of Clare Macllelan Howard (1881-1967).  (At the time of this writing "Macllelan" was misspelled at Open Library.)  Howard was assistant professor of English at Barnard College.  She edited an edition of the work of Elizabethan poet Sir John Davies.  In The Evolution of the Grand Tour (p387), Edward Chaney wrote that she "wore her superior scholarship lightly" when comparing some other histories of travel literature from that period.