Going Abroad: European Travel in Nineteenth-Century American Culture
Hardcover, Princeton University Press 1994 English 272 pages
ISBN: 0691033641 ISBN-13: 9780691033648
In a nation struggling to establish its own identity, all kinds of Americans, for all kinds of reasons, were enchanted with Europe. A European trip, whether extravagant or modest, could serve social advancement, aesthetic enrichment, or personal curiosity. Travel allowed men and women, the descendants of European settlers or African slaves, to shed their familiar surroundings and comfortable personas, adopt new roles, and measure themselves against the European experience. These travellers were often also writers. Throughout the 19th century, celebrated authors and beginners alike published newspaper columns, magazine articles, guidebooks, travel essays, letters, and novels based on their European journeys. In this work the author examines not only classic works by such writers as Irving, Fuller, Twain, James, and Adams, but also lesser-known works by African-American authors, journalists, feminist writers, and diarists. Travel and the writing of it were important, Stowe argues, in moulding a peculiarly democratic, yet essentially class-based, sense of personal and group identity. Combining literary and cultural analysis, he suggests new ways of understanding 19th-century Americans' concept of their nation and its place in the world.
Princeton University Press