The Smell of the Continent: British Travellers in Europe 1814-1914
Richard Mullen, James Munson

The Smell of the Continent: British Travellers in Europe 1814-1914

The nineteenth century saw a transformation of British travel to Europe: from the aristocratic Grand Tour of the eighteenth century to the mass tourism of the early twentieth. Indeed, mass tourism is largely a British creation. How this transformation took place is the subject of this book. It picks up where the many books on the Grand Tour end.

The book will be a vast canvas made up of individual people ranging from well known travellers such as the Trollope family to people famous in other ways such as Gladstone and Queen Victoria. We follow these individuals as our continuous narrative links as they travelled to see how travel developed after Waterloo and then exploded into mass tourism. Travel was a mirror of Victorian life: it gradually expanded both in numbers and in comfort.

The book is divided into two parts. The first looks at the realities of travel: how people got passports, coped with money, crossed the channel, bought souvenirs, kept in touch. We discuss the various groups of travellers: culture-vultures, the scandalous, gays, commercial travellers and women. We look at the development of guide books and at why people travelled: for education, health, religion or a foreign honeymoon. We look at those who lived permanently in Europe and at the influence of all this travel on English life, literature and politics.

The second part looks at the places people visited: Paris, the Rhine, the South of France, Italy, Switzerland, the Austrian Empire and lesser visited places such as Spain or Norway. We discuss how people kept in touch with Britain, how they smuggled goods past Customs and what were their reactions when they came home.

Book Details:

  • Author: Richard Mullen, , James Munson
  • Published Year: 2007
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Macmillan

Richard Mullen,

RICHARD MULLEN was born in the United States where he took two university degrees and then came to Oxford in 1969 to study for a doctorate in modern history. He afterwards taught British and American history, modern politics and Victorian literature in the Universities of Oxford and London. His first published work was a scholarly edition of the nineteen volumes of The Pamphleteer, the single most important collection of early nineteenth century pamphlets. It was this work that expanded his expertise in nineteenth century politics to include social, religious and literary history.In 1981 he...
More about Richard Mullen,

James Munson

James Munson read Modern History at Oxford University between 1966 and 1969. In 1968 he won the Matthew Arnold Historical Essay Prize and, in the following year, began his doctorate in Victorian religious and political history. In 1974 he received his D. Phil. degree.For ten years he taught history in the University. In 1981 he began writing scripts for BBC Radio and Television and by 1991 he had written scripts for over 60 programmes. His seven part series on Queen Victoria, written with Richard Mullen, led to a highly successful BBC book and two othJames Munson has also written for a w...
More about James Munson

Book Reviews

  • "There are striking and entertaining details on every page of Richard Mullen and James Munson’s exuberant gleanings from mountains of 19th-century books and manuscripts."
    Daily Telegraph
  • "They tell excellent tales, with no meandering circumstantial details. Their book is cheerful, generous-spirited and makes excellent holiday reading."
    Times Literary Supplement
  • "This unusually rich social history of the British and Europe … There’s an eye-opener on every page... The Smell of the Continent is full of fascinating information on guidebooks and garlic; coupons and couriers; diligences and diarrhoea; and much more. The illustrations are wonderful too."
    Suzi Feay, The Tablet
  • "With a book as good as this one to read, why not spend it [the annual holiday] at home?"
    Clive Aslet, Country Life
  • "This erudite but always entertaining book."
    Tim Moore, Daily Mail
  • "A fascinating exploration of the early days of mass travel to the Continent."
    Choice
  • "This entertaining study of the beginnings of the British love affair with European travel contains a lot of fresh information. crammed with quotations from a wealth of contemporary sources, this is a boisterous, fact-packed read."
    Geographical
  • "This entertaining study of the beginnings of the British love affair with European travel contains a lot of fresh information. crammed with quotations from a wealth of contemporary sources, this is a boisterous, fact-packed read."
    Geographical
  • "This highly entertaining book."
    Liverpool Daily Post
  • "An interesting and well-written account of Victorians abroad."
    Living France
  • "This spirited history."
    Sunday Herald
  • "The two authors... have produced a witty account that leaves the reader wondering how we got away with it but pleased we did."
    Daily Express
  • "A peach of an idea... There is, however, nothing tediously academic in their presentation. The only problem is that the snowstorm of engaging... letters, novels, magazine articles and biographies keeps you constantly flipping to notes."
    Christina Hardyment, BBC History Magazine
  • "This is... pure charm...The diligent authors have done prodigious research but wear their learning lightly... I shall certainly be giving this book as a Christmas present to many friends."
    AN Wilson, Reader’s Digest
  • "Entertaining overview …their extensive research and vast reading … This is an entertaining and sometimes surprising, thought-provoking history."
    Sunday Times
  • "...This sprightly investigation … the authors have spent decades collecting these marvellous anecdotes and quotes, many from unpublished sources … sometimes they sound rather like tour guides themselves. But ones of the jolliest kind, that you’d like to tip."
    Claire Harman, Sunday Telegraph
  • "…a lovely book, vastly entertaining, affectionate , funny and stuffed full of quotes and excerpts from the travelers themselves. …endlessly fascinating and compulsively readable. Enjoy."
    Bookseller
  • " ...a glorious travel-book compilation."
    Miranda Seymour, Daily Telegraph
  • "a glorious travel-book compilation"
    MIranda Seymour, Daily Telegraph