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French Romantic Travel WritingChateaubriand to Nerval$
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C. W. Thompson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199233540

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199233540.001.0001

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The Pleasures and Challenges of Subjectivity

The Pleasures and Challenges of Subjectivity

From Dreams, Humour, and Self‐Consciousness to Autobiography

(p.90) V The Pleasures and Challenges of Subjectivity
French Romantic Travel Writing

C. W. Thompson

Oxford University Press

In 1830, an emphasis on real and armchair travel for sheer pleasure brought a new emphasis on the varieties of subjective experience which made travel books self‐conscious and frequently humorous (absorbing after Sterne, the influence of Heine and Hoffmann), as well as more than ever fragmentary and digressive. This is illustrated by the many feuilletons in contemporary journals, by Gautier's and Nerval's travels, and by the proliferation of pastiches and parodies such as those by Janin, Nodier, and Balzac. But this emphasis on subjectivity also encouraged a strengthening of the links between travel and autobiography inaugurated by Chateaubriand, and this would be seized on by writers such as Custine (Mémoires et voyages, 1830), Lamartine (Voyage en Orient, 1835), and Nerval (Promenades et souvenirs, 1854–5).

Keywords:   dreams, humourous, self‐conscious, subjectivity, autobiography, armchair, feuilletons, Sterne, Hoffmann, Gautier, Custine, Lamartine, Nerval

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