Views of Old Europe: A Grand Tour Across a Timeless Landscapeby Bayard Taylor
How do the experiences of today's tourist compare with those of more than a century ago? Views of Old Europe demonstrates that there are interesting differences, and some surprising similarities, between the present day traveler and his early modern counterpart. It is a highly engaging and well-composed account of a two-year long journey in the 1840s, mostly on foot, through Britain, Ireland, Germany, Italy, France, Austria and Switzerland. The work was so popular, that the original edition was followed by many further printings in less than two years. This new edition, with a new preface and index, is based on a revised 1850 version.
Although the book's talented young author, Bayard Taylor, went on to become a diplomat, essayist, and poet, his first employment afer leaving the family farm was as a printer's apprentice. The idealistic youth's cherished goal was to visit various European countries, to see first-hand the circumstances in which great culture and art arose. When Taylor's cousin asked him to be his companion on an extended journey through the Old World, Taylor, although without much money, found the opportunity too tempting to pass up.
This memoir is multi-faceted. A multitude of perceptive observations about European society are set against the background of the journey narrative, which keeps moving at a deliberate but very pleasant pace. In these observations, Taylor strikes just the right balance between panorama and detail. The communities of that time, in all their charm, ebullience, traditional customs, and protectiveness, are brought into clear focus, facilitated by the copious notes kept by the author.
Over the long course, a variety of beauties both natural and man-made were encountered: mountains, rivers, lakes and woods, as well as galleries, museums, churches, mansions, and cathedrals. But the tour had its share of challenges, including fatiguing hikes on back-roads, inadequate funds, and avoiding robbers. There was also a dearth of facilities conducive to material comfort and convenience, such as hotels, restaurants and shelters. Still, for Taylor, the advantages greatly outweighed the hardships, and fond reminiscences are evinced in his lovely prose.
- Anza Publishing
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.19(d)
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