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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I have not room to describe the particular apartments, nor is it of moment. The
great staircase is at the south-west corner of the house, and the guard-chamber
and rooms of state take up the south side of the house, as the king's lodgings do
the east side, which the Lord Commissioner makes use of in time of parliament;
and the west side would be supposed to be the queen's lodgings, if such a thing
was to be seen again in Scotland, but at present are out of use. The north side is
Here the kings of Scotland, for some ages, kept their Courts on occasion of any
extraordinary ceremony. And here King James V reinstituted, or rather restored
the Order of the Knights of St Andrew, as the Order of Knights of the Bath were
lately restored in England. Here he erected stalls, and a throne for them in St
Michael's Church, and made it the Chapel of the Order, according to the usage at
Windsor. Also he first ordered the Thistle to be added to the badge of the Order;
and the ...
This palace was in those days a great monastery, and famous on occasion of this
stone in the chair; the monks appropriating to themselves not the custom only, but
the right of having all the kings crowned on it, as if it had been a sacred right, and
instituted in heaven; and that the kings would not prosper if they were crowned
any where else. But enough of fable, for this, I suppose, to be no other; yet, be it
how it will, this is no fable, that here all the kings of Scotland were crowned, and
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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