Grand Tour

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I call the five years of my life after Gymnasium and before my undergraduate studies my "Grand Tour" (ages 18-22). Although this is not meant to imply that I am in any way a wealthy British nobleman, these years closely resemble the traditional Grand Tour that young men of the 18th and 19th centuries often took.

My time was spent traveling the world (including Asia, North America, Europe, and South America). However, most of this time was spent in Europe. My goal in setting out on my Grand Tour was to fully educate myself in the many cultures of the world (with a strong emphasis on Europe) in a way that no university or book could do.

I attempted, in any of the many places I visited, to embrace the facets of these "foreign cultures", including language, history, geography, climate, crops, food, clothes, customs, politics, laws, art, architecture, and trade regulations. I was able to develop relationships with foreigners, maintain these relationships, and upon leaving their country, continue correspondence with my new-found friends.

I plan to use this article (and maybe category) to write about my travels and experiences. I highly recommend a Grand Tour to every young man or young woman before starting university.


Based on a long foot journey through European countries he took in 1608, it is credited with beginning the craze of the Grand Tour, and introducing the use of the fork to England.
  • Beckford, William (1986). The Grand Tour of William Beckford (1760-1844). Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books.
A series of original letters describing the events of his experience while abroad on the Grand Tour, including people he encountered places he visited, and his changing perspective of the world.
  • Black, Jeremy. The British Abroad: The Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992.
Focuses more on the industry of tourism, than the educational aspects of the Grand Tour. Outlines everything from transportation to food to dangers or travel in Europe.
  • Black, Jeremy. The British and the Grand Tour. London: Croom Helm, 1985.
Many of Black's works discussed similar issues; however, this particular book took a different slant because it focused on the educational intentions of the Grand Tour. This included financial assistance, choosing an appropriate route and the impact of hiring a tutor to prepare the student. It also included lodging and extracurricular activities.
  • Bohls, Elizabeth. Women Travel Writers and the Language of Aesthetics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Bohls' work examines the travel writings of seven prominent eighteenth century women: Mary Wollstonecraft, Dorothy Wordsworth, Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, Janet Schaw, Lady Mary Wortly Mantagu, and Helen Williams.
  • Boxer, Marilyn and Jean Quataert. Connecting Spheres: European Women in a Globalizing World, 1550 to the Present. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
This collection of essays edited by Boxer and Quataert examines the role of women in European history and focuses on women’s experiences throughout the centuries.
  • Chard, Chloe (1997). Grand and Ghostly Tours: The Topography of Memory. Eighteenth Century Studies 31.1:101-108.
This article focuses on the Grand Tour and its ever-changing purpose. The essay highlights women’s roles as travelers-mainly that they assume the role of "detached spectators".
  • Hibbert, Christopher. The Grand Tour. London: Thames Muthuen, 1987.
This book went country by country discussing the important sights, cities, lodging, restaurants, and obstacles. Also explored historical and political activity that could influence the tour.
  • Korte, Barbara. English Travel Writing. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Korte's book houses the works of several authors from the eighteenth century who traveled abroad, describing different aspects of travel. The scenic and romantic aspects of literature and travel are emphasized.
  • Lambert, R.S. The Grand Tour: A Journey in the Tracks of the Age of Aristocracy. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1935.
This is a series of articles from The Listener,a publication of the eighteenth century. Each article describes a different leg of the journey of the Grand Tour. It discusses less popular routes and the eventual decline of the Grand Tour.
  • Trease, Geoffrey. The Grand Tour. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1967.
This book discusses the proper mannerisms while abroad, the different types of things to bring along, money matters such as subsidies, as well as quotes from Grand Tourists themselves, explaining the adventures.

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