The Grand Tour

"As such it (the Grand Tour) fulfilled a major social need, namely the necessity of finding young men, who were not obliged to work and for whom work would often be a derogation, something to do between school and the inheritance of family wealthŠIt allowed the young to sow their wild oats abroad and it kept them out of trouble, including disputed with their family, at home."           (Black, 122)

Welcome to the Grand Tour, it is wonderful that you have decided to finish your education traveling, studying, and immersing yourself in foreign cultures on the Continent. This trip will help you to develop social and intellectual skills that benefit any refined, upstanding British gentleman. One will return from his travels with a broadened mind as well as a good command of foreign languages, a new self-reliance and self-possession as well as a highly developed taste and grace of manners.

The Grand Tourist should embrace the facets of foreign culture including language, history, geography, climate, crops, food, clothes, customs, politics, laws, art, architecture, and trade regulations. While abroad, one is representing British society. Travelers are expected to develop relationships with foreigners, maintain these relationships, and upon return to England, continue correspondence with their newfound friends. The tour is usually a feature of the English aristocratic culture, but not solely limited to the upper class. Sending one’s eldest son abroad to complete his education and prepare for a career is reasoning behind the popularity of the Grand Tour during this century, especially the later half of the 18th century.


Ann Radcliffe’s, The Italian, is an 18th century novel, set in Naples, Italy. The novel portrays Italian culture and the Italian for the first time in popular literature. The exotic and mysterious portrayal of Italian culture encourages the 18th century English youth to discover and experience Italy for themselves. The exotic and gloomy, dark elements of the novel provoked a sense of wonderment and curiosity in many English desiring to visit exotic, foreign Italy. The depiction of extreme picturesque landscapes on the coast of Naples paints a picture of rocky, unstable, aesthetic features that are foreign to many British traveling at this time. However, the sense of grandness and beauty of the landscape portrayed throughout The Italian, provides an ulterior interest in reading the novel, one searches to discover the secret beauty of the Italian geographical landscape.

Love in Excess, by Eliza Haywood, is also a novel that alludes to scenes set in Italy. Following Alovysa’s death and Melliora’s departure, Count D’elmont escapes to Italy to overcome his heartbreak and escape the pressures of daily life. Love in Excess portrays Italian women as figures of romance, encouraging acts of unfaithfulness and sexual activity. Haywood describes these women as exotic, beautiful, voluptuous, and conniving, a complete juxtaposition to the typical English woman. The Count refers to the differing climates and cultural differences between England and Italy. The warmth of the Italian countryside seems to pacify his extreme feelings of love and anxiety. The count discovers his true feelings while residing in Italy, a country of eroticism and amours love.

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