A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain was first published in three volumes between 1724 and 1726. This edition follows the text of the illustrated, abridged edition first published by Yale University Press in 1991, with minor emendations....
|Title||:||A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain|
|Number of Pages||:||524 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain Reviews
Defoe was a pioneer of psychogeography... Maybe the first writer interested in urban archeology, city decay...Consider this passage: “This town is a testimony of the decay of public things, things of the most durable nature … [The decay of the town] seems owing to nothing but to the fate of things, by which we see that towns, kings, countries, families, and persons, have all their elevation, their medium, their declination, and even their destruction in the womb of time, and the course of nature.”
Let's pause for a second and consider the concept of the gap year. That glorious 12 month sojourn away from home before you return to the damp British shoreline to commence a university education (one senses that in the light of tuition fee hikes and fuel price rises that gap years and university educations are probably soon to disappear from the societal radar, however that is another matter). So what do you do on a gap year? Sign up for some travel mixed with a worthwhile and possibly altruistic activity which might enhance your CV and leave you with a warm and fuzzy sense of well being, plus allow you to dazzle your fellow goggle-eyed 19 year old university pals with stories like... and then it turned out she was a man, or but of course snakes blood just takes a bit like Jack Daniels really. Alternatively you can lie on a beach in Thailand and imagine what altruism feels like. Daniel Defoe, most famous for his fictional literary output (you may know him, in a Troy McClure style, from such literary greats as Robinson Crusoe, Journal of a plague year and Roxana) had himself his very own gap year. Or actually it was two years but things moved at a slower pace then so it probably amounts to the same thing, then being 1724 - 1726. Defoe set off on a grand tour of the whole island of Great Britain (I love how we awarded our own country the moniker of "Great", it cracks me up every time I think about it. Could have been Good Britain, Kind Britain or even moderately successful Britain but we chose "Great".) with the basic aim of seeing what was out there. Keep in mind that this was a time when if you said you were going to travel from London to Liverpool people would have said "Liverpool England, or Liverpool Canada?" because both seemed equally implausibly far away and foreign in a time without the benefit of train travel or BBC roving reporters.Defoe wound his way up and down the length and breadth of England, Scotland and Wales (but studiously avoided Ireland) in an attempt to get to grips with what was really going on outside of London. As a former spy and journalist, a lot of his observations are based around imports, exports, trade routes, communications and keeping an eye out for rabble rousing religious types. Each time he arrives at a city he is careful to compare it on the Daniel Defoe sliding scale of "it's not quite as good as London" but he does identify the unique merits in many new and growing towns such as Liverpool and Manchester. He also likes chatting to the country yokels and uses words such as ruddy and wholesome a lot. People in London must have been left with the impression that the rest of the UK was populated by a gang of rosy-cheeked simpletons. He notes that the welsh can be uncommunicative, that the Scots are "not all slow" and that merchants in Hull are good businessmen. Always good to know.Having spent two years poking about in castles, cathedrals, ruins, ports, fisheries, rivers and roadside taverns Daniel returned to London and produced what is essentially the first travel guide to the UK. Sometimes comedic, sometimes factual and very much reflective of the social and political movements of the time, Defoe has captured a view of Britain on the brink of epic change. A unique vision of nationhood and a written testament to a man who once stood in a pillory and subsequently rose to become one of the most celebrated writers of his time.
Pat Rogers calls this text the "true English epic," and for good reason. Defoe's tours, or circuits, throughout Great Britain, provide a fascinating micro- and macrocosm of Great Britain in the early eighteenth century, and are still referred to by scholars as an accurate representation of the economic, geographic, and social features of the time. Don't pick this up expecting a novel or a solid plot; however, don't expect simple dry analysis, either. Again, to borrow Rogers words, he "hit on the best blend of objective fact and personal commentary; the neatest amalgam of gazetteer and traveler's tale; the densest mixture of history and prophecy, myth and reportage, observation and impression, formal coverage and informal anecdote."It took me a long time to read this book, but even if I wasn't doing research directly on it, it would be well worth it for the far better understanding I have of 18th-century Britain. An invaluable resource for folks doing research on the 18thC.
milestone in English reporting and travel writing
This is a book I probably wouldn't have finished if I didn't have to read it for class! It was very long, tedious and repetitive. I thought 'On the Road in 18th century Britain' was going to be a fun class :(