The essays in this volume, which range across Europe, America and Africa, and from the 18th to the 20th centuries, argue that the experience of travel, and the business of representing that experience, involved an obligatory engagement with the disturbing perception that travel's pleasures were inseparable from its dangers and ennuis. Despite the confidence of some medical authorities in their recommendations of the therapeutic benefits to be derived from ‘change of air' as a way of restoring a state of health, such opinions failed to establish a consensus, either amongst those who followed such peripatetic prescriptions, or amongst the medical professions in general. Mad doctors and climatologists alike were forced to adopt an essentially partisan stance in arguing their case for such recommendations, and were confronted by rival practitioners who could marshal counter-case histories which demonstrated diametrically opposed conclusions concerning the advisability of travel. To this extent, the history of travel and its pathologies is a particularly revealing instance of the way medical thinking was dependent on localised studies which might do more to challenge the universal applicability of generally accepted theories than they did to confirm their diagnostic reliability. The essays collected here not only contribute to our understanding of the conception and application of a variety of medical ideas, showing how they depended on beliefs about climate and corporeal constitution as well as often inconsistent data or récits culled from travellers and geographically dispersed case histories, but also open up illuminatingly complex perspectives on the uncertainties and dangers of the phenomenon of modern travel.
Richard Wrigley is Principal lecturer in History of Art, Oxford Brookes University. His publications include
The Origins of French Art Criticism: from the Ancien Regine to the Restoration (Oxford University Press, 1993), and numerous articles on the politics of visual culture in revolutionary France. He is currently preparing The Politics of Appearance : the symbolism and representation of dress in revolutionary France.
George Revill is Senior Lecturer in Cultural geography at Oxford Brookes University. His research interests are in music landscape and national identity and in the historical meanings of railway work. He is co-editor of The Place of Music (Guilford/Routledge), Landscapes of Defence (Longman) and co-author (with John Gold) of Representing the Environment (Routledge).
”… very inspiring and elucidating contributions …” in:
Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy: a European Journal, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2002
“… the editors have succeeded in producing a focused and coherent collection of essays…” in:
Social History of Medicine, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2002
“[The essays] succeed admirably in demonstrating the ambiguities inherent in the intersections between travel and languages of health and illness.” in:
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2003, pp.184-5
Table of contents
Notes on Contributors
George REVILL and Richard WRIGLEY
Letting Madness Range: travel and mental disorder c. 1700-1900
The Continental Journeys of Andrew Duncan Junior: a physician's education and the international culture of eighteenth-century medicine
Richard Jago's Edge-Hill Revisited: a traveller's prospect of the health and disease of a succession of national landscapes
‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner': a ballad of the scurvy
Lassitude and Revival in the Warm South: relaxing and exciting travel (1750-1830)
Pathological Topographies and Cultural Itineraries: mapping ‘mal'aria' in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Rome
The Railway Journey and the Neuroses of Modernity
Mobility, Syphilis, and Democracy: pathologizing the mobile body
The Politics of Medical Topography: seeking healthiness at the Cape during the nineteenth century
Sleepers Wake: André Gide and disease in Travels in the Congo