This book illuminates a lesser-known aspect of the British history of travel in the Enlightenment: that of the Royal Society’s special contribution to the “discovery” of the south of Italy in the age of the Grand Tour. By exploring primary source journal entries of philosophy and travel, the book provides evidence of how the Society helped raise the Fellows’ curiosity about the Mediterranean and encouraged travel to the region by promoting cultural events there and establishing fruitful relations with major Italian academic institutions. They were especially devoted to revealing the natural and artistic riches of the Bourbon Kingdom from 1738 to 1780, during which the Roman city of Herculaneum was discovered and Vesuvius and Etna were actively eruptive. Through these examples, the book draws attention to the role that the Royal Society played in establishing cultural networks in Italy and beyond. Tracing a complex path starting in Restoration times, this new insight into discourse on learned travel contributes to a more challenging vision of Anglo-Italian relations in the Enlightenment.
About the Author
Manuela D’Amore is Assistant Professor of English Literature at the University of Catania in Italy. The author of literary translations and essays on Early Modern Literature and the Victorian Age, she has also written on British eighteenth-century travelers to Italy, America and the Middle East. Her Essays in Defence of the Female Sex: Custom, Education and Authority in Seventeenth-Century England, co-written with Michèle Lardy (Sorbonne I), appeared in 2012.
Table of Contents
I. Part 1 - Learned Travel before the Grand Tour: The Royal Society 1665-1700
2. The Fellows' Letters from Distant Countries: New Science, the "Other" and Imperialism
3. News from the Mainland: Mapping Physical and Intellectual Spaces before the Grand Tour
4. On the Ancients and the Power of Nature: The Special Case of Italy
II. Part 2 - The Grand Tour of South Italy: The Discovery of the Two Sicilies 1700-1800
5. Southern Paths for Learned Travelers: The Discovery of Herculaneum and of the Neoclassical Mediterranean
6. Images of "Sublime" Sicily
7. From Letters to Memoirs and Travel Accounts: The Fellows as "Cultural Mediators"
What People are Saying About This
“This work brings together, practically for the first time, lines of inquiry in two languages, over three centuries, crossing cultural and disciplinary boundaries. The result is a rich account of how the Protestant, rationalist Anglosphere came to terms with a Catholic, romantic, fragmented Italy; and how the British came away fascinated, sometimes appalled, and eventually enthralled. D’Amore augments her findings with an appendix of ten carefully edited letters from the Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions. This is an invaluable resource for all scholars of this period, of these places, and of the Royal Society’s scientific endeavors.” (Christopher Hodgkins, Professor of Renaissance Literature and Atlantic World Studies, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA)