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Travel as Metaphor

Travel as Metaphor: From Montaigne to Rousseau

Georges Van Den Abbeele
Copyright Date: 1992
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Travel as Metaphor
    Book Description:

    A detailed reading of Montaigne, Descartes, Montesquieu, and Rousseau, underscoring the foundational and potentially liberating force of travel in early modern French philosophy.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8372-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Introduction: The Economy of Travel
    (pp. xiii-xxx)

    When one thinks of travel, one most often thinks of the interest and excitement that comes from seeing exotic places and cultures. Likewise, the application of the metaphor of travel to thought conjures up the image of an innovative mind that explores new ways of looking at things or which opens up new horizons. That mind is a critical one to the extent that its moving beyond a given set of preconceptions or values also undermines those assumptions. Indeed, to call an existing order (whether epistemological, aesthetic, or political) into question by placing oneself “outside” that order, by taking a...

  5. Chapter 1 Equestrian Montaigne
    (pp. 1-38)

    Montaigne’sJournal de voyage en Italieopens with a wound, or perhaps with a couple of wounds, namely those suffered by an unnamed count in the liminary episode of the journal and those suffered by theJournalitself, given that the first page or pages of the manuscript have been lost. We are told in the text that the count’s wounds “were not mortal.”¹ It remains to be seen what we are to make of those suffered by the text.

    Thanks to them, we find ourselves as readers of Montaigne’sJournalalready en route, specifically at Beaumont-sur-Oise and not at...

  6. Chapter 2 Cartesian Coordinates
    (pp. 39-61)

    Contemporaneous with the great era of voyages of discovery is the impressive and persistent alignment of the motif of travel with the critical moment in French philosophical literature. In its most positive aspect, the advent of European contact with other cultures engaged a generalized questioning of Western values as embedded in sanctified Greco-Christian paradigms. The masters of medieval synthesis, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, had succeeded in grafting (respectively) Plato and Aristotle onto the Christian narrative of redemption. This redoubling of the pilgrim’s path to salvation by the Socratic quest for the absolute generated the great allegorical journeys found in Dante...

  7. Chapter 3 Montesquieu’s Grand Tour
    (pp. 62-84)

    In 1638, a year after the publication of Descartes’sDiscourse on Method, there appeared another discourse, one written by a certain Yves Dugué, theDiscours de la manière de voyager. As Normand Doiron has argued in a recent article, the appearance of this text (itself but a vulgarized translation of a German work) signals the rise of a subgenre derived from the perception in seventeenth-century France of travel narrative as an accreditable genre of writing.¹ This new genre, actually a metagenre, which Doiron calls the “art of travel,” would take the form of a didactic treatise outlining the rules by...

  8. Chapter 4 Pedestrain Rousseau
    (pp. 85-130)

    One of the most consistent themes of travel literature in the Age of Discovery is that of the pedagogical value of voyages for those who undertake them. At least since Montaigne’s “Of the Education of Children” (EssaysI, xxvi), travel has been grasped as literalizing the etymological sense of education as ane-ducare, a leading out from received prejudices and customs. The act of travel becomes pedagogically justified as “pleasurable instruction.”¹ The correlation is massively underwritten by the Lockeian epistemology of understanding gained through accumulated sensory perception, by the cultural practice of the young gentleman’s “grand tour,” and by various...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 131-170)
  10. Index
    (pp. 171-176)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 177-177)