chapter  4
18 Pages

The social challenge

Northern and central European societies on the eighteenth-century aristocratic Grand Tour 1
WithSarah Goldsmith

This chapter contributes to the reappraisal through few interlinked means. First, it utilizes the manuscript correspondence and journals of seven groups of British Grand Tourists, tutors and their families, to identify how Grand Tour was conceptualised in dialogues internal to elite society, as opposed to published discourses. Second, the chapter focuses on the Grand Tour’s northern and central European branch, and third, on the Grand Tour’s prioritisation of the social itinerary in northern and central Europe. The chapter argues that a travel through northern and central Europe exposed Tourists to a varied array of social cultures. It also argues that the Tour had serious socio-political aims and should be viewed as a key tool within elite strategies of pan-European networking. The chapter then demonstrates Grand Tour’s potential political influence upon European power plays through contributing towards an exclusive trans-European network of socio-political elite, European scholarship is identifying similar aims and activities in the continental equivalents of the Grand Tour.