The Romance of Travel Essay examples

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The Romance of Travel

Romance, as it confirms human agency with regards to understanding the world and organizing one's existence, is an enabling genre. Northrop Frye identifies "romance" in its questing, adventurous, persistently nostalgic, and "perennially child-like quality" as the "nearest of all literary forms to the wish-fulfillment dream" (186). Arguably, many of the texts that we have examined over the course of the term can be understood as (more or less) participating in the affirmative conventions of romance in the ways that they show men and woman turning travel into a journey.

Take for instance Gilpin's essay "On Picturesque Beauty:" what a light hearted quest ("the searching after effects") it is that he assigns
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However, applying some of the conventions of romance to Gilpin's essay allows one to read it, not merely as aesthetics, but as a document that turns purely recreational travel into a purposeful journey.

Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey" also has the features of romance cited above -- most notably in the nostalgic reminisces of the poet's early relationship with nature. Incidentally, the poem was composed during the summer (the season that Frye assigns to his mythos of romance). More significant to the subject of this commentary though is the change in the poet's relationship to nature that is the subject of the poem. Passed are the "coarser pleasures of [his] boyish days" (74) when nature was "all in all" (76) to him, a "feeling and a love, / That had no need of a remoter charm, / By thought supplied" (81-83), for the poet has learned to hear in nature "the still, sad music of humanity" (92) and has felt in nature that "presence" that "rolls through all things" (103) and that has prompted those "best portion[s] of a good man's [his own] life, / His little, nameless, unremembered acts / Of kindness and of love" (34-36). In "Tintern Abbey" the relationship of man to nature is not to be one of aimless stasis; rather it is to be a meaningfully dynamic communion that yields both understanding and agency to those travelers who participate in it.

Goethe's Italian Journey is a work that is

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