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A Commentary On The Travel Writing Of Pierre Jean Grosley And Ramond De Carbonnières

1899 words - 8 pages

A Commentary on the Travel Writing of Pierre Jean Grosley and Ramond de Carbonnières

Each summer, for the past five years, I have traveled to Savary Island, B.C. to "repose my wearied spirit" on the mountains, the ocean, and especially on the absence of civilization and the regular amenities thereof. The island is divided: the western half submits to residents who wish for large homes and tennis courts while the eastern half (Indian Point) supports those who want to escape from those very things. There are only a handful of permanent residents on the eastern half and they have built their homes and gardens with a respect and reverence for nature that is rarely found in the city, or Savary Shores (the western half). The visitors to the island fit, generally, into the same western and eastern categories; all escaping the city, but only some willing to leave the city behind. It is a modern distinction between the tourist and the traveler. It is impossible to engage with nature without engaging with the people on Savary Island. I have found that encounters with both visitors and residents, negative or positive, have influenced my experience of nature and, in turn, knowledge of myself. Therefore, the effects of our Romantic Travelers' encounters with people (tourists, travelers or native residents) on their experience of nature have interested me greatly. Pierre Jean Grosley and Ramond de Carbonnières' travel writing provides two perspectives (the tourist and the traveler) of both nature and its human inhabitants. How each man engages with the people he meets mirrors the way he engages with his natural surroundings. My desire to blend in with the residents of Indian Point place my traveling experiences on par with de Carbonnières Travels in the Pyrenees. However, I am also very aware of the preconceptions I have of tourists, which is also evident in Grosley's New Observations on Italy and its Inhabitants.

A tourist is someone with a "pre-digested conception of what he or she sees and does not closely engage with the countryside or its people" . Most travelers of the Romantic Period would have read other travelers' journals before departing on their journeys. Pre-digested conceptions, then, were not uncommon but some relied more on these idea than others. Pierre Jean Grosley's 1769 New Observations on Italy exhibit many instances of these 'pre-digested' conceptions. Firstly, he utilizes Livy's words to describe his descent into Italy (see page 38). It is obvious that Grosley regards Italy, as was the popular conception, as an exotic and mysterious place; consider his fear of the supposed state-spies-as-fishermen (296). Grosley's interactions with the people he encounters are superficial and notably for his personal benefit. The travelers he meets on the River Brenta are only mentioned because they do not warn him of the dangers of oysters or their salesman (297). He notes the monks of the first priory in his journal because of their trout and...

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