After the conference on the 14th and 15th of June 2013 in Strasbourg and at the Humanist library in Sélestat on “Religious Interactions from the Reformation to the Enlightenment,” Alsace and Lorraine in the Grand Tour will come under focus. The conference will be held on the 27th and 28th of September in Metz and at Château de Pange (in the department of Moselle, Lorraine).
Numerous studies have looked at the Italian Grand Tour, from the Elizabethan period onwards. However the peregrinations made by English travellers to Alsace, Lorraine and further into the Rhine valley are much less well known, despite a great deal of unexplored material.
Work will begin with, but not be limited to, a study of the travel literature which appeared in England in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries including the following texts: Coryat's Crudities: Hastily gobled up in Five Moneth's Travels (1611), Letters from the Right Honorable Lady Craven ... during her Travels through France, Germany, and Russia in 1785 and 1786, as well as Travels in France during the years 1787, 1788 & 1789 by Arthur Young, diaries, personal notes and all types of correspondence. The “Récits de voyage en Alsace, 1701-1918”, gradually digitized by Bibliothèque Nationale Universitaire, can provide material (this list is available from http://search.unistra.fr).
These accounts will help us understand why enlightened, informed and influential travellers were attracted to Alsace and Lorraine, and the impact of their accounts on the evolution of people’s thinking as well as on art. The importance of the Reformation, the presence of renowned printers in Strasbourg and above all in Basel, the rich heritage of Nancy, Strasbourg and Basel as leading intellectual centres will be considered.
The purpose of a Grand Tour which included Alsace and Lorraine should also be examined: was it religious, political, cultural, economic, didactic, sentimental, commercial? Who the travellers were is of interest as well, just as their perception of the notion of regional identity.
A diachronic approach is welcome. Did the Grand Tour in the 17th century fulfill the same interests and demands as it did in the 18th Century? Would the same type of traveller have come on this sort of voyage? How did differences, if any, reflect the evolution of the English perception of eastern France? When did the “mechanics of tourism” (Jeremy Black, Italy and The Grand Tour, p12) begin to take shape in these regions? Did the signing of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 (which marked the reunification of Alsace with France) or the reunification of the duchy of Lorraine to France in 1766 change the view of travellers?
The idea of passage is also an area of possible study. What accounted for the choice of route of English travellers making the trip back from Venice to Paris for example, either through Strasburg or via the Stuttgart-Metz corridor, and what did they remember about their (often) very short stay in Alsace or Lorraine? By retracing itineraries, one can inquire into whether their motives were logistical, linguistic, political, religious, cultural, picturesque… and in doing so to detect, if not determine, the reasons behind this less conventional Grand Tour. How attractive were places like Nancy and the Court of Stanislas, Lunéville, Strasburg, the cities of the Decapolis, Basel, the Rhine Valle, the Vosges and the Ardennes mountains? The geographic dimension to the question could integrate the recent methodological contribution of Psychogeography and Geocriticism which strive to analyse both the emotional and psychological impact of places on perceptions and emotions (see the work of Guy Debord, Bertrand Westphal, Merlin Coverley).
Material culture will also be of interest, that is to say the objects which were brought back and sent, books and prints acquired whilst en route, as well as drawings, sketches and pictures either made or bought. The recent exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, “The capture of The Westmorland: An Episode of the Grand Tour” showed the particular interest in recreating such a collection of objects.
This conference should thus make it possible to evaluate how the lasting memories of the travellers contributed to the construction of the image of Alsace and Lorraine, and how this vision could have been disseminated by the written word of the travellers who came to or through eastern France
Conference papers may be given in French or in English and will be published.
Proposals should be submitted by 28 February 2013 to Anne Bandry-Scubbi (email@example.com), Jean-Jacques Chardin (firstname.lastname@example.org), Pierre Degott (email@example.com). The Steering Committee of the Conference will notify authors of their decision by the end of March 2013.
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