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This review is taken from PN Review 132, Volume 26 Number 4, March - April 2000.

MORE PLEASURE THAN GUILT CHLOE CHARD, Pleasure and Guilt on the Grand Tour: Travel Writing and Imaginative Geography 1600-1830 (Manchester University Press) £40 hb, £16.99 pb

Travel writing poses a problem for the literary-minded, for surely our style should prove as astounding as the sights we have been privileged to witness? But our obligation to our own figures makes for some hiatus between observation and expression. This differend, to use Lyotard's term, is the principle subject of a well-researched and entertaining book. Chloe Chard introduces her theme by showing how the grand tour could be defined in its narrowest sense as the travels of a young patrician in the company of his tutor which usually had Rome as destination, but later extended to take in Naples and, in some cases, Constantinople. The keeping of a journal was a crucial part of the educational strategy envisaged here, but it soon becomes apparent that the journal is as much the property of female travellers as of male ones. Indeed the book is well balanced on this score with examples from creative commentators of both sexes. Social historians have already had a field day with this material, but the author tells us that: 'in approaching the Tour by reference to the history of its imaginative geography, rather than its social history, I attempt to chart not the changes and discontinuities in travel itself, but changes and discontinuities in the forms of language employed in travel writing'.

It is this which makes what Chard has to say so intriguing from a writer's viewpoint. When surveying the travel literature of the seventeenth century one gets the sense that ...


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