Again, that is the new book by Jeremy Jennings, here is another excerpt: These grave misgivings [about travel] have persisted. “I have been reading books of travels all my life,” Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, “but I have never found two that gave me the same idea of the same nation.” Those who “travel best,” he added,
The post *Travels with Tocqueville Beyond America* appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.
Again, that is the new book by Jeremy Jennings, here is another excerpt:
These grave misgivings [about travel] have persisted. “I have been reading books of travels all my life,” Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, “but I have never found two that gave me the same idea of the same nation.” Those who “travel best,” he added, “travel least,” and, in Rousseau’s opinion, they travelled not by coach but on foot. Others have agreed. Writing at the end of the eighteenth century, Xavier de Maistre (brother to the more famous Joseph) resolved only to journey for forty-two days around his own room, “safe from the restless jealousy of men.” “We will travel slowly,” he wrote, “laughing as we go at those travellers who have visited Rome and Paris.” Heading north, Maistre discovered his bed. On this view, one travelled best by moving hardly at all. In the nineteenth century, John Stuart Mill displayed a similarly dismissive attitude. “In travelling,” he wrote, “men usually see only what they already had in their own minds.”
From another segment of the book:
Gustave de Beaumont not only travelled to America with Tocqueville but accompanied him on trips to England and Ireland and to Algeria. No one was better able to assess how Tocqueville travelled. Tocqueville’s way of travelling, Beaumont wrote, was “peculiar.” Everything was “a matter for observation.” Each day Tocqueville framed in his head the questions he wanted to ask and resolve. Every idea that came into his mind was noted down, without delay, and regardless of where he was. For Tocqueville, Beaumont continued, travelling was never just a form of bodily exercise or simply an agreeable way to pass the time. “Rest,” Beaumont wrote, “was foreign to his nature.” Whether or not his body was actively employed, Tocqueville’s mind was always working. Never could he undertake a walk as a simple distraction or engage in conversation as a form of relaxation. The “most agreeable” discussion was the “most useful” discussion. The worst day was “the day lost or ill-spent.” Any loss of time was an inconvenience. Consequently, Tocqueville travelled in a “constant state of tension,” never arriving in a place without knowing that he would be able to leave it.
Recommended, buy it here.
Books, Travel, Uncategorized