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The Rise of the Grand Tour: Higher Education, Transcultural Desire and the Fear of Cultural Hybridisation - Invited article

Maurizio Ascari

Abstract


Although the Grand Tour is often implicitly circumscribed to the eighteenth century, its origins actually date back to the sixteenth. The present article aims to reassess the contrasting responses this new phenomenon elicited. While the crown actively fostered transcultural experiences, regarding them as conducive to political and diplomatic wisdom, scholars and playwrights presented them as the fall from a condition of purity. Preoccupations concerning the newly acquired national and religious identity of England and Britain mingle in these texts with reflections on language, manners and morals. This anti-cosmopolitan campaign takes on different nuances, alternatively stigmatising the travellers’ affectation and portraying them as devilish. In the first half of the seventeenth century, however, a new paradigm of knowledge as based on experience asserted itself. This led to a reassessment of travelling as a useful social practice and ultimately to the systematisation of the traveller’s gaze. Moreover, the pressure the Ottoman Empire exerted on the Eastern borders of Europe contributed to alert Britons to a new religious and cultural faultline, prompting them to reassess their perception of intra-European differences.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ling-2015-001-asca



 


Linguæ & - Rivista di lingue e culture moderne
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