A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain
Britain in the early eighteenth century: an introduction that is both informative and imaginative, reliable and entertaining. To the tradition of travel writing Daniel Defoe brings a lifetime's experience as a businessman, soldier, economic journalist and spy, and his Tour (1724-6) is an invaluable source of social and economic history. But this book is far more than a beautifully written guide to Britain just before the industrial revolution, for Defoe possessed a wild, inventive streak that endows his work with astonishing energy and tension, and the Tour is his deeply imaginative response to a brave new economic world. By employing his skills as a chronicler, a polemicist and a creative writer keenly sensitive to the depredations of time, Defoe more than achieves his aim of rendering 'the present state' of Britain.
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From Harwich therefore, having a mind to view the harbour, I sent my horses
round by Maningtree, where there is a timber bridge over the Stour, called
Cataway Bridge, and took a boat up the River Orwell, for Ipswich. A traveller will
Ipswich is seated, at the distance of 12 miles from Harwich, upon the edge of the
river, which taking a short turn to the west, the town forms, there, a kind of semi-
circle, or half moon upon the bank of the river. It is very remarkable, that though ...
comparison, than Ipswich is supposed to be. And if it be otherwise at this time,
with some other towns, which are lately increased in trade and navigation, wealth
, and people, while their neighbours decay, it is because they have some ...
What people are saying - Write a review
This journal of a series of trips "circuits" around England in the 1720's is part travelogue, part witty examination of legends, fables, & "history, part economic catalog, and part survery of facts of England.
It's written by Daniel Defoe-writer, journalist, soldier, & spy. Although less well known than some of his other works, it's well written and worth the effort.
The book captures England on the cusp of dramatic change. England was emerging into peace and prosperity after decades of dynastic and religious wars. Defoe captures English life just at the beginning of industrialization.
While popular with social historians and economists for all the detail it provides about life in this period, Defoe's witty and direct prose make it an interesting read for anyone wanting to learn more about 18th Century England.
A Summary of Defoes Career
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