The Englishman's England

The Englishman's England : Taste, Travel and the Rise of Tourism

3.88 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
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"If my journals should remain legible, or be perused at the end of 200 years, there will, even then, be little curious in them relative to travel, or the people, because our island is now so explored; our roads, in general, are so fine; and our speed has reach'd the summit." Or so one late eighteenth century traveller thought, reminding us that the English tourist industry is not the modern creation we often suppose.

In this fascinating and original study Ian Ousby investigates the landmarks chosen by the English for their leisure travel over the centuries. He looks in particular at four types of attraction still prominent on the tourist map of England: literary shrines, country houses, picturesque ruins and the natural landscape. All these first became objects of fashionable attention during the eighteenth century, when improvements in transport combined with a spirit of practical inquiry to breed the first generation of travellers who called themselves 'tourists'.

Drawing on a wide range of sources - journals, travel books and guidebooks, novels and poems, as well as many engravings - Ian Ousby traces the canons of taste which led the early tourists to seek out places like Stratford-upon-Avon, Chatsworth, Tintern Abbey and the Lake District, and records the stages by which these places acquired the trappings of the tourist attraction. Above all, he shows the development not just of an industry but of a state of mind marked, from its earliest phase, by the underlying fear that tourism is fated to spoil or even destroy the very thing it most admires.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 242 pages
  • 139.7 x 215.9 x 13.97mm | 312.98g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1910670855
  • 9781910670859
  • 3,597,545

Review quote

"Not a guidebook, not a travel book, but a pioneer work of what we must call 'tourist history', written, moreover, with elegance and style. Like all good history it contains valuable lessons for the future as well as the past, and should be required reading for all who know and care about the beauties, natural and architectural, of our country."

John Julius Norwich

"In relating the evolution of such attractions as Poet's Corner, Stratford-upon-Avon, Stonehenge and the Lake District, Ian Ousby - a specialist in both the literature and the topography of England -illuminates great stretches of this country's social and cultural history."

The Independent

"Witty, well-focused, highly pertinent... His slice of late eighteenth-century cultural history, from the, rise of road maps to the vain thunderings of Wordsworth against the depredations of vulgar trippers, is oddly reassuring in its ageless vision of good taste shuddering at the onrush of mass enthusiasm."

The Observer

"An entertaining and interesting read. Ousby considers the history of tourism through the growing 18th century desire to visit places of literary connection and natural beauty, along with the ever-increasing trend of touring country houses. This work is an intriguing social study and I particularly enjoyed Ousby's inclusion of snippets from contemporary accounts of some of the places still visited today. I imagine that this book will appeal both to the seasoned traveller and those interested in 18th century social history."

Nicki Markus

"The Englishman's England looked at what sites and objects drew the interest of the eighteenth century tourist. The author looked at travellers' letters, diaries, journals, and guide books to see what sites they visited and what they thought about them. I'd recommend this interesting book."

Deborah White - Reviewer

"This is the perfect book for people who enjoyed Bill Bryson's stories about traipsing around England and the landmarks he found in his walks. Ousby brings us an entertaining history of the tourism industry in England."

Jeimy Gonzalez - Educator

"Recommended for fans of travel writers such as Bill Bryson."

Christina Evans - Reviewer
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Rating details

8 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 12% (1)
4 75% (6)
3 0% (0)
2 12% (1)
1 0% (0)
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