Rousseau on the Tourist Trail

Watson, Nicola J. (2015). Rousseau on the Tourist Trail. In: Esterhammer, Angela; Piccitto, Diane and Vincent, Patrick eds. Romanticism, Rousseau, Switzerland: New Prospects. Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and the Cultures of Print. Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 84–100.



This essay looks at the post-Napoleonic tourist trail associated with Rousseau in Switzerland, reconstructing the tourist sentiment which the figure of the philosopher elicited. This was a complex meld of the biographical and the fictional, which solicited the self-conscious and performative occupation by the visitor of a Rousseauistic sensibility. By comparing and contrasting early nineteenth-century travellers’ accounts of visiting Voltaire’s chateau at Ferney and Rousseau’s homes, especially his farmhouse refuge on the Ile St Pierre in the Lac de Bienne, this paper traces the emergence and contours of a new, romantic type of tourist sensibility and matching practices created by and around Rousseau before considering the way in which this model was subsumed within the exilic appeal of the Byronic.

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