Wales and Scotland in European Travel Writing 1760–1870
National Library of Wales, 16-17 April 2016
“Le Pays de Galles ressemble entièrement à la Suisse” J-J Rousseau
A one-day conference jointly organized by two AHRC-funded projects: European Travellers to Wales 1750–2010 & Curious Travellers: Thomas Pennant and the Welsh and Scottish Tour 1760-1820
A one-day conference looking at perceptions of Wales and Scotland in a century’s worth of travel- writing from Continental Europe. What attracted travellers from France, Germany, Switzerland, and the Low Countries to venture beyond the attractive bustle of London to the Celtic peripheries? How aware are writers of the cultural differences within the United Kingdom? What sources and literary influences inspire them, and shape their experience?
We are particularly interested in exploring European translations of (or borrowings from) the trail-blazing works of Thomas Pennant (author of numerous Tours in Scotland and Wales 1769–1778) and William Gilpin (Observations on the River Wye 1782), and others. How are these key works mediated in different European languages, and do they colour Continental experiences of Wales and Scotland, as they undoubtedly did for British travellers? Pennant himself travelled on the Continent in 1765, and formed important links with some of the foremost members of the scientific community: to what extent did these networks help to spread knowledge of his work across Europe?
Potential topics could also include:
- Translating travel texts
- Literary tourism: Gray, Ossian, Herder, Scott
- Continental Celtic connections and prehistoric landscapes (particularly post-Renan and Arnold)
- The aesthetics of landscape/picturesque – parallels with Alps
- Scientific tours, natural history or geology – European networks and influences.