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British Travelers, Catholic Sights, and the Tourist Guidebook, 1789-1884


This study explores the development of British tourist guidebooks that became increasingly interested Continental Catholicism, its people, and its art and architecture over the course of the nineteenth century. The eighteenth-century Grand Tour, long the domain of young aristocrats, had been a secular pilgrimage to Rome and the capstone to a traditional Classical Oxbridge education. After the wars with France ended in 1815, however, transformations in transportation made Continental Europe accessible to middle-class British tourists. As this fresh generation of travelers went abroad, they cared less about Classical history and more about Roman Catholic cultural artefacts and practices. The dissertation shows that British tourist guidebooks, which frequently Orientalized their Catholic subject matter, became central to consolidating a specific British, Protestant identity from the 1810s onward.

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