Venice & the Grand Tour
For well over a century, the Grand Tour of France and Italy - which included a stay in Venice - served as the ultimate in finishing schools for the young male elite of Great Britain. This book explores Venice's magnetic hold on the imagination of the Grand Tourist and connects the ideology of the Tour to the mythology of Venice. According to Bruce Redford, the Tour offered a heady combination of aesthetic, social political, and sexual experience, and it provided its alumni with a life-long source of cultural and political authority. Yet from the beginning the Tour was also viewed with deep suspicion: it was feared that the very experiences that completed the British gentleman might well undo him. The aspiration and ambivalence that characterize the Tour attached themselves most powerfully to the experience of Venice. Drawing on a wide range of materials - from guidebooks to portraits, from satirical poems to garden pavilions - Redford investigates Venice's power of attraction for the British, and shows that it was a source of many echoes and metaphors of Britain's own cultural, political, and geographical situation.
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Redford (English, Univ. of Chicago) examines the uses of the "grand tour" of France and Italy for young English gentlemen of the period 1650-1800, explaining why it was held in contempt as well as in ... Read full review