A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy

Feelings in Laurence Sterne's A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy College

Travel literature became, after the novel, the most famous literary genre in the eighteenth century. Thanks to the geographical discoveries made by important navigators of that time, enlightened people finally could explore with their imagination a ‘new World’. Inevitably, the growing interest in knowing the other lands brought people to travel around the world not only for health reasons, but also for pleasure and to complete their cultural education – this was called by the British, Grand Tour, and it became very popular especially among the leisured classes. In this way, people travelled and recorded their own experiences in their books, becoming then travel literature very useful to those who wanted to know something about the world out of Britain. However, travel books had some important rules that writers must observe: firstly, they must provide a detailed description of costumes and traditions of the visited countries; and secondly, travel’s records must be objective – no space for the author’s impressions. Nevertheless, a real change was taking place in the second half of the century concerning the ‘sentimental novel’, and it was made just by Laurence Sterne who wrote his books with ‘feeling’.

Laurence Sterne’s A...

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