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Travel, taste, and tourism in Southey’s Letters from England (1807)

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-05-17, 10:07 authored by Carol Bolton
This essay focuses on Robert Southey’s account of a walking tour of the Lake District in Letters from England: By Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella (1807), to demonstrate how this region became a contested site in the early nineteenth century. While his eponymous Spanish traveller enthusiastically embraces the “new science” of aesthetics and guide-book strategies to describe its topography, we see Southey undermining these linguistic techniques to criticise the impact of tourism on the Lakes. The inclusion of Southey’s more knowing interpolations on his domicile and the use of narrative constructs from travel-writing and romance genres are also employed to critique established views of the Lake District. Southey’s intention was to present an authentic version of the Lakes that would compete with other published ‘guides’, but instead his account (and his dual-voiced narrator) questions the meanings of realism, art, and nature. In fact his erosion of the truth and objectivity that guide-books sought to establish puts his authority and those of his fellow authors into doubt, making this a most Romantic text in its controversial engagement with the nature of reality.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • English

Published in

The Wordsworth Circle

Volume

52

Issue

1

Pages

118-133

Publisher

The University of Chicago Press

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© The University of Chicago

Publisher statement

This article is not a part of the repository’s Creative Commons License. “Travel, taste, and tourism in Southey’s Letters from England (1807)” by Carol Bolton (The Wordsworth Circle, Volume 52, Issue 1). © 2021 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations in critical articles and reviews. For more information, contact the University of Chicago Press, 1427 E. 60th St., Chicago, IL 60637.

Acceptance date

2020-02-17

Publication date

2021-01-31

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

0043-8006

eISSN

2640-7310

Language

  • en

Depositor

Dr Carol Bolton Deposit date: 5 March 2020

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