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The Grand Tour and the Expansion of the British Mind: Cultural Imperatives in the Eighteenth Century

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Hensley, Katherine Lydia. “The Grand Tour and the Expansion of the British Mind: Cultural Imperatives in the Eighteenth Century.” (Under the direction of Dr. Brent Sirota.)

During the eighteenth century, many British young men of wealth and standing traveled to the Continent as a means of completing their education. As part of that experience they were introduced to many of the courts of Europe along with some of the highest achievements in art, architecture and music. It was expected that these men would return home with the refinement and connoisseurship expected of a gentleman ready to enter into adult society. In both the experience of the Grand Tour as lived by participants and the perception of the Tour at home it is possible to see the echoes of larger issues in eighteenth-century British society, particularly those of national identity, consumption, luxury and masculinity. This work proposes that the Grand Tour can add an important dimension to the study of the period when viewed alongside more traditional approaches to eighteenth-century history.

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