Reading and Writing Travels: Maximilien Misson, Samuel Waring, and the Afterlives of European Voyages, c.1687-1714

Richard Ansell. English Historical Review. Volume 133, Issue 565, December 2018.

Travel writing often underpins studies of how people in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland understood themselves and the wider world. Scholars have focused on the representation of foreign encounters in print, however, with little attention given to how readers used travel books. Most histories of travel similarly deal only with experiences abroad, with few considering the return home. This article uses one work, Maximilien Misson’s New Voyage to Italy, and one reader, Samuel Waring, to explore the ‘afterlives’ of travel and travel books, closing the gap between the history of travel and the study of travel literature. Waring, a gentleman from Ireland, accompanied Misson to Italy in 1687-8, taking notes that reveal the origins of an influential book. He returned to A New Voyage to Italy in the decades afterwards, generating valuable evidence of contemporary engagement with travel writing. Waring’s notes and drafts hint at the reception of Misson’s book and place it within a body of ‘travels’, particularly in English and French. This transnational dimension complicates arguments about travel literature and national identity, but Waring instead encourages scholars to examine the role of books in self-fashioning. He used his reading, memories and souvenirs to present himself as a gentleman, a connoisseur and an example to his family, discussing Italy with returned and armchair travellers. The afterlives of travel and travel books provide a more complex understanding of how, and to what social ends, people with lived or vicarious experience of ‘abroad’ built understandings of the world beyond Britain and Ireland.

Travel writing often underpins studies of how people in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland understood themselves and the wider world. It has provided evidence for the construction of British national identity in opposition to a European ‘other’ and, more recently, for political, economic, cultural, religious and military links with the Continent. At the same time, accounts of longer-distance voyages have featured prominently in explorations of imperialism and its development. European and colonial themes are usually pursued by different scholars with varying purposes, but both approaches have tended to focus on the moment of encounter with the foreign as represented in print. The ways in which readers engaged with travel books, though surely the most pressing question for studies that use these texts to examine identity-formation, remain unaddressed. Furthermore, most histories of travel deal only with experiences abroad, with few considering the return home. As a consequence, neither historical nor literary studies have, to date, fully explored the roles of travel and travel books in individual self-fashioning and wider identity-formation, which were longer-term processes informed by reading as well as personal experience. This article uses one publication, Maximilien Misson’s A New Voyage to Italy, and one reader, Misson’s friend Samuel Waring, to close the current gap between the history of travel and the study of travel literature. It establishes the significance of ‘afterlives’, in terms of reading, writing, reflection and discussion, for the social and cultural impact of travel and travel books in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

From its first publication in the early 1690s, A New Voyage to Italy appeared in many French, English, Dutch and German editions, offering to readers throughout the long eighteenth century an account of travel through the Low Countries, Germany and Italy. Historians and literary scholars have recruited Misson to illustrate accounts of the Grand Tour or exemplify the tropes of contemporary travel writing, while his text has also featured in explorations of the early Enlightenment and modern tourism. Misson is often cited, but his work is rarely analysed. A New Voyage to Italy fits awkwardly with studies that consider travel writing within the framework of national identity, a common approach that leaves little room for the complexities of a book written by a French Protestant migrant, printed in several countries and consumed by a transnational, multilingual readership. Most scholarship on travel writing, at least in English, has yet to incorporate Robert Darnton’s insight that books rarely respect the boundaries of language or nation. Travel writing, so often used to study national identity, in fact has claims to be among the most transnational of genres. This aspect of travel books should not detract, however, from their undoubted importance for identity-formation in a more general sense. When individuals projected themselves as returned travellers, or when communities pieced together understandings of ‘abroad’, it was a result of personal experience fusing with a diverse range of printed material, drawn from English and foreign-language sources. Misson’s New Voyage to Italy, while a deeply transnational work, at the same time allows us to pay attention to more complex, localised processes, often hidden by a preoccupation with national identity.

This article encourages a closer examination of travel books and their uses by focusing on one of Misson’s companions on his original journey. Samuel Waring barely appears in the printed texts of A New Voyage to Italy, though various French and English versions end with thanks for his company on the voyage. English editions from 1699 onwards also carry a letter from Misson ‘To Samuel Waring Esq.’, mentioning correspondence between the two men, discussing the reception of A New Voyage to Italy and laying out hopes for further publications. Waring, it emerges, was not only a travelling companion but also an avid reader of Misson’s successive editions, which he consumed alongside other travel accounts in the decades after their voyage. Foreign experience, and reading travel literature at home, helped to establish and maintain Waring’s position as a prominent local gentleman in the north of Ireland. His example permits us to move the analysis of travel writing beyond its concentration on national identity, forged or revealed in immediate encounters with the foreign, and towards longer-term self-fashioning through reading. Between them, Misson and Waring highlight the neglected afterlives of travel, demonstrating that journeys became and remained formative as they were remembered, reworked and put to use with the help of books. Print worked on individuals alongside the complementary or competing influences of personal experience and social interaction; Waring was not only a reader but a traveller, collector and conversationalist too. All of these activities came together in his engagement with Misson’s texts.

Scholarly work on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century travel writing still tends to overlook reading, despite the long-established move towards the study of readers in the history of the book. Tony Claydon’s Europe and the Making of England, for instance, assumes that books found a readership from the existence of successive editions and infers responses from the texts themselves, while Katherine Turner relies on printed citations and book reviews for the views of a later ‘reading public’. Studies of the language and form of travel writing, meanwhile, acknowledge different priorities, showing little interest in readership. The absence of travel readers owes much to the scarcity or obscurity of archival evidence, but Daniel Woolf’s study of histories, and David Allan’s work on the Scottish Enlightenment, have proved that manuscript sources can enable scholars to reconstruct the readership of groups of texts. An investigation of Waring and Misson brings additional texture and depth to recent work on individual travel books or readers, where the continued discovery of annotations and journals stands alongside new digital opportunities for studying intertextuality. A focus on their relationship offers more, however, generating rich evidence of how books, memory and conversation came together after the actual period of travel. As a dual object of study, Misson and Waring shed light on the origins and reception of an influential work, but they also chart the personal and social significance of what Waring called ‘one of the chieffest & most satisfactory adventur[es] of my whole life’. They direct historians and literary scholars towards the afterlives of travel, a shared ground on which to explore the effects of both lived and vicarious contact with the world beyond Britain and Ireland.


The papers of the Waring family of Waringstown, County Down, are divided between a private collection and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, but the latter portion contains correspondence, travel journals, detailed notes on A New Voyage to Italy and draft letters to its author. Samuel Waring, then aged 27, travelled in 1687-8 with Misson and his pupil, Charles Butler, the 15-year-old future earl of Arran. Waring, who made the journey with the financial sponsorship of Butler’s grandfather, the duke of Ormond, exemplifies a long identified but little analysed phenomenon: the patronage that broadened foreign experience among and below the gentry. Aware of the significance of the opportunity, he gathered copious notes, drawings and souvenirs that he treasured at home. Waring and his travels have figured in the work of Toby Barnard, who places foreign voyages within the social and cultural history of the Protestant community in Ireland. Barnard supplies a rare exploration of how travel shaped, and was shaped by, life at home, but Waring’s journey and his reading also relate to pressing issues in the history of travel and the study of travel books.

Two questions immediately arise. First, how far can the foreign experiences of Waring, an Irish Protestant gentleman, represent the wider travel culture of British and Irish elites? And secondly, how might his reading practices at home in Ireland reflect broader engagement with travel writing throughout the British Isles? It has become clear, in answer to the first question, that Protestant travellers from Ireland shared a travel culture with their counterparts from Britain. They prepared for continental voyages by travelling through England, encountered foreign destinations in English company, tended to describe themselves abroad as Englishmen, and were usually taken to be so by locals. Irish residence and connections offered access to networks that facilitated and shaped some continental activities, producing occasional differences from the experiences of English travellers, but European voyages broadly allowed families to turn their Irish incomes towards affirming or establishing membership of an English elite. The continental travels of Protestant landowners from Ireland were far more similar to those of their English counterparts than to the experiences of their Irish Catholic neighbours, who were more likely to travel in military, mercantile or seminarian capacities. Waring’s reliance on patronage highlights an aspect of travel that has been neglected by scholars, but here, as in other respects, he represents a shared travel culture among British and Irish Protestants.

Readers from Ireland likewise participated in a shared British and Irish print culture. Almost all material printed in Ireland was in English, while evidence of contemporary collections suggests a heavy weighting towards publications arriving from England and continental Europe. Irish was the first language of the majority, but its print culture was comparatively minor in this period, attracting few beyond a handful of antiquarians and evangelists. The only text that Waring appears to have owned in Irish, for instance, was a grammar. In Barnard’s words, print ‘represented one of the greatest successes in bringing the Irish, if not to English political authority, then into its linguistic and cultural orbit’. This dependence on England is clear in the case of Waring, who probably bought books there while travelling to and from Italy, and who definitely obtained reading matter from the English market in later life. His younger brothers, John and Richard, supplied him with books from London, as did Misson, and English newspapers arrived regularly at Waringstown. Family and friends ensured that Waring received a flow of printed material from England, even as he rooted himself more securely in Irish society and government in the years after his foreign voyage. Irish readers certainly ‘responded to fashions—intellectual and cultural—originating in continental Europe’, but so too did their English and Scottish counterparts. From his home in the north of Ireland, Waring participated in British cultures of travel and print. The ways in which he used his experiences and his books, then, can fairly claim to be more broadly suggestive of cultural strategies in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland.


A New Voyage to Italy was a remarkably popular work, enjoying transnational and multilingual success. The original French text ran to at least seven editions from 1691 to 1743, all printed in the Netherlands; four English editions came out between 1695 and 1739; two German translations appeared, in 1701 and 1713; and at least one in Dutch, in 1724. Misson had always intended his account to be ‘useful to those who shall afterwards undertake the same Voyage’. He included instructions for travellers in the earliest editions, and in 1714 recognised that ‘for some Time pass’d… young Travellers have made use of this Relation’, adding further guidance in the margins. The Nouveau voyage d’Italie became something of a bible for French travellers to Italy in the first three quarters of the eighteenth century; many, it is clear, ventured south with Misson in hand. Scholars have outlined a similar trajectory for the English editions, judging A New Voyage to Italy to be ‘one of the most popular and comprehensive travel accounts of the century’, ‘the standard guide of the period’, or ‘one of the two or three most popular guidebooks’, at least until the publication of Thomas Nugent’s Grand Tour in 1749. Misson appears as an invaluable companion in the printed correspondence and papers of notable British travellers, and the book supplies descriptive or historical detail for the letters and journals of lesser-known eighteenth-century figures. Travellers from the Low Countries also incorporated passages from A New Voyage to Italy into their own journals. Reading guidebooks abroad might even be a shared experience. The Blathwayt brothers borrowed the works of Misson and other travel writers on their way through Germany in 1705, reading eagerly in preparation for a further journey southwards. A Scottish antiquarian in Rome lent A New Voyage to Italy to a teenage countryman, John Ramsay, who read it aloud to his father, a fellow traveller, as late as the 1780s. Misson thus shaped both collective and individual encounters with Italy across the long eighteenth century.

Misson, like other writers of European voyages, also proved popular among an international readership of armchair travellers. The many editions of his book certainly suggest that it had long-term appeal, as does his appearance in John Harris’s 1705 collection of continental and global voyages by Englishmen and foreigners, republished in the 1740s and 1760s.A New Voyage to Italy was a fixture of elite French libraries throughout the eighteenth century, serving both as a practical guide to Italy and as an entertaining travel account. Misson recognised the dual usage of his book, acknowledging in 1714 that he would not have made changes for the benefit of travellers had he ‘only had a Regard to other Readers’. Travellers abroad clearly benefited from Misson’s encyclopaedic approach to destinations and sights, but his accessible epistolary format and forthright opinions may explain this broader popularity. Misson self-consciously located his work within the travel genre, adapting the title of Richard Lassels’s influential Voyage of Italy (1670) and including a preface that differentiates his ‘New Work’ from previous writing. The decision to use ‘familiar Letters’ rather than a more traditional descriptive account would, he hoped, allow him to avoid tired subjects without being ‘accus’d of Forgetting any thing’, though later prefaces and traces of correspondence with Waring suggest that Misson had met with precisely such criticism.A New Voyage to Italy nevertheless helped to start an epistolary trend in English and French travel writing that would only fade in the early nineteenth century.

The letter format allowed for an opinionated account, particularly with regard to Catholicism. Misson censured Roman superstition, like his near-contemporary Gilbert Burnet, and his lengthy treatments of Pope Joan attacked Catholic writers, Lassels implicitly among them, for rejecting the legend. A female pope was, after all, useful evidence of Roman hypocrisy. Misson’s French editions, published in The Hague, Utrecht and Amsterdam, may have been freer than Parisian books to include anti-Catholic material, a feature that might also explain some of their success in translation among a British and Irish Protestant readership. If, as Claydon has suggested, the popularity of Lassels demonstrates a ‘slow and uneven transition’ in English culture away from ‘vehement anti-popery’, Misson represents its persistence. Prejudice also alienated readers, however. The Catholic earl of Perth wrote from Italy to warn his Protestant sister that Misson was ‘the most infamous lyar in nature’, while French Catholic travellers and writers felt obliged to question his representations. Either way, A New Voyage to Italy was a prominent text that attracted both readers at home and travellers abroad, and those, like Waring, with a foot in each camp.

Misson’s contemporary popularity is reflected in modern scholarship, and his name is well known among historians of travel, but the facts of his life and work have remained relatively unexplored. He was born in Lyon, probably in the late 1650s or early 1660s, the second son of a Huguenot pastor. Maximilien began training for the ministry, but eventually became a judge in the parlement of Paris, a position that he lost upon the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. This upheaval for the French Protestant community drove his father, mother and siblings to London, via Great Yarmouth, in November 1685. Maximilien soon found employment as a travelling tutor to Charles Butler on the trip which produced the New Voyage to Italy, possibly before leaving Paris, and the whole family was naturalised in 1687. He may have fought in William III’s Irish campaign after his return from Italy, but he was certainly away from London in 1694-5, leading the bishop of Durham’s nephew on another Italian voyage. Misson later complained that this absence had led to numerous errors in the first English translation of his book. He is often credited with Mémoires et observations faites par un voyageur en Angleterre, published at The Hague in 1698, but the most convincing studies attribute the work to Henri Misson de Valbourg. Although plans for another account of Germany came to nothing, Maximilien Misson appears to have edited the 1708 New Voyage to the East-Indies for a fellow French Protestant, François Leguat. He began to take a prominent role in the London Huguenot community around this time, writing in support of the ‘French prophets’ who had recently arrived in England, but it was for his continental travels that he remained best known. Misson stayed with his family in London, aside from a ‘Country Retirement’ that allowed extensive changes to the 1714 edition, from the late 1690s until his death in 1722.

It would be possible to assess Misson’s impact in the usual fashion, establishing intertextual relationships between A New Voyage to Italy and subsequent travel literature. There is plenty of evidence for such intertextuality—unsurprisingly, given the extent to which travel writers in general borrowed and built upon the work of predecessors. Joseph Addison’s preface to his 1705 Remarks on Several Parts of Italy lists Misson among ‘the authors of our own country’, finding that he ‘has wrote a more correct account of Italy in general than any before him, as he particularly excels in the plan of the country, which he has given us in true and lively colours’. Misson’s work remained a point of reference across the eighteenth century. Later writers held him up for his ‘very just’ and ‘accurate’ observations, the hallmark of ‘a pretty exact traveller’ of ‘learning and judgment’, or criticised him for the occasional ‘great Blunder’, sometimes blamed on linguistic misunderstandings, and for ‘tedious’ sections such as his ‘long dissertation upon Pope Joan’. Henry de Blainville went furthest in the latter course, finding that Misson ‘has a great many Narrations of Things that are trifling, useless, or false, and many Omissions of what is essential’. ‘If all the praise of Misson and all the complaints about him could be gathered’, observes Percy G. Adams, ‘one would have materials for a small volume’. Such an approach is achievable in the age of EEBO and ECCO, but Waring’s manuscripts offer a rare chance to consider a deeper and more personal engagement with Misson’s texts.

Misson’s work, with its transnational origins and reception, suggests that travellers, writers and readers across Europe shared common approaches to Italian travel. Recent work is right to question the adoption in non-anglophone scholarship of the term ‘Grand Tour’, a coinage of English historiography that risks imposing too much uniformity on European practices of travel, but, especially at higher social levels, a continent-wide trend of extended, formative journeys remains clear. British, Dutch, French and German travellers visited the same Italian destinations, which they viewed through the prism of a shared classical education. Readers across Europe, meanwhile, enjoyed many of the same published guides, especially those originally appearing in French. Misson himself drew on predecessors working in both English and French; a translation of Addison’s Remarks on Several Parts of Italy even served as the fourth volume of Misson’s 1722 French edition. If travellers and readers of different nationalities engaged with Italy in similar ways, it becomes more difficult to deploy their texts in accounts of national identity. Parallels between the Italian encounters of British and French travellers and readers, for instance, complicate the suggested development of a Francophobic Britishness during the long eighteenth century. Although travel writing regularly provides anecdotal evidence of a European ‘other’, Katherine Turner is right to argue that ‘much of it actually resists such a role’. Travel books still have much to say about identity-formation, but any account must recognise the nature of their production and consumption. A New Voyage to Italy certainly demands a transnational approach, within which the example of Waring suggests how reading material of diverse origins might feed into patterns of self-fashioning and social interaction at home.


The Warings have allowed historians of early modern Ireland to explore upward social mobility. John, a Lancashire tanner, crossed the Irish Sea in the early seventeenth century and the family took advantage of the following decades of war and reconstruction. John’s third son, William, managed neighbouring estates, bought land and encouraged linen manufacture. By the time that William’s son, Samuel, reached adulthood, the Warings had attained ‘an unchallenged place in the county squirearchy’, forming part of ‘the solidly Protestant county gentry which then managed provincial Ireland’. Their position depended upon land but also ‘owed much to intangibles’. If the key to being thought a gentleman was, in Ireland as elsewhere, to play the part convincingly, growing financial means allowed the Warings to buy the university education and conspicuous mobility that, alongside office-holding and hospitality, were an essential part of social reproduction. An annual rental income of around £600, allied to the interest due on loans to other landowners, brought the family towards the £1,000 a year that David Hayton deems ‘sufficient to denote a gentleman of “quality”‘.

Even so, a lengthy and culturally enriching continental voyage would have been beyond the reach of the Warings. Wealthier families from Ireland, such as the Percevals and Boyles of County Cork, spent between £300 and £500 a year sending their eldest sons to Italy in the 1670s and 1680s, while the Warings’ comparably modest neighbours in the north, the Rawdons, estimated an annual minimum of £170 each for sons attending a Parisian academy. William Waring’s income sent Samuel to Trinity College Dublin and John to Cambridge, and he later set up both John and Richard in London. Family funds would not, however, have carried Samuel as far as Italy, which he only reached with Butler and Misson under the patronage of the duke of Ormond. The exact financial arrangements remain unclear, but Ormond’s annual income of £24,000 rendered them a formality. Like other wealthy noblemen, such as the duke of Chandos in the 1720s, Ormond decided that a teenage traveller required the good influence of an older companion alongside the customary tutor. The Brydges family would choose army officers, but Waring was probably recommended to Ormond by tutors at Trinity. He had received his BA there in 1681, and the duke was chancellor of the university.

Ormond himself had been prominent in the exiled court of Charles II, and his son, Thomas, earl of Ossory, learned from tutors and academy masters in Caen and Paris between 1648 and the early 1650s. The duke’s means provided generous English and foreign education for his grandsons. James, Charles’s elder brother, travelled to Orange at the age of 10 in the 1670s and may have continued his French upbringing after a period at Oxford. Ormond took care in choosing Huguenot tutors for James, mobilising his correspondents and seeking the best recommendations, and when Charles Butler’s turn came, Misson probably emerged from a similar process. The precise links between Ormond and Misson remain unclear, but the duke may have employed diplomatic connections in Paris to engage the tutor. Ormond recognised the social advantages of the French language and French manners, ‘undeniably the most gracefull’, while Ossory thought that ‘the only way to render’ his eldest son ‘considerable’ was ‘to have him bred up and live at a quite different rate then the young nobility of our parts doe’. The Butlers evidently applied this logic to Charles as well, a decision from which Waring reaped benefits.

Misson’s texts and Waring’s notebooks trace a twelve-month journey from London, through the United Provinces and Germany, to Italy in 1687-8, but Butler and Misson had already spent time in France and the Low Countries without Waring. Misson wrote to a French acquaintance in February 1686, explaining that he and Butler, an impressive young man from among ‘the richest and noblest of England’, were boarding at a Parisian academy. They intended to remain for a year or eighteen months before touring France, Italy, Germany and the Low Countries, staying abroad for three years. These plans changed amid the fallout from the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes: tutor and pupil were in Brussels by November 1686, intending to spend the winter in Flanders and Holland, and Misson had joined his family in London by April 1687. Contemporary travellers in France attest to sudden restrictions on the mobility of Huguenot tutors, which probably convinced Ormond to recall his grandson to England and summon Waring over from Ireland to join them. Waring visited his brother at Cambridge in June 1687, but may not have had time for an English tour of the kind that prefaced the continental experiences of other gentlemen from Ireland. He met Butler and Misson in London the following month, though Butler’s illness delayed their Channel crossing until October, when Misson dates the first letter of his published account from Rotterdam. The party avoided France entirely on their way to Italy and returned to London in October 1688. Misson may have imagined that readers of his original French text would have been less interested in an account of France, but the practicalities imposed by the political situation also explain why such an influential book ignores an important destination.

Butler left little trace of his impressions of the voyage of 1687-8, but within his retinue Misson and Waring created printed texts and manuscript notebooks respectively. Studies of early modern British journeys to continental Europe often draw solely on sources that are properly labelled ‘travel literature’, taking printed accounts as direct evidence of experiences abroad. Jeremy Black has suggested a more rigorous categorisation of sources into ‘manuscript accounts, accounts published by contemporaries, and those published subsequently’. Black further insists that ‘travel literature should be sharply differentiated from letters and journals never intended for publication’ or writings shared only in ‘a small and intimate circle’. In these terms, Waring and Misson produced a manuscript account never intended for wide publication alongside a work of travel literature conceived with a broad readership in mind. Black’s pioneering archival work has opened the study of the British abroad to social as well as cultural history. An emphasis on manuscripts should not be allowed to sideline printed material, however, and nor should different kinds of documents be treated in isolation.

Five of Waring’s notebooks relating to the voyage are held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, all bound in the same blue paper but carrying varying mixtures of chronological accounts, commonplace-book entries, draft letters, contact lists and illustrations—together comprising an alternative view of what would become a famous journey. Misson regularly writes of ‘we’ and ‘us’, but includes little on the travelling party, despite his promises of a personalised account. His printed texts are restricted by the non-autobiographical conventions of contemporary travel writing, but Waring’s notebooks are freer to include evidence of company and day-to-day activities. Cardinal Howard, a great patron of travellers, and Sir John Litcott, James II’s diplomatic representative, shaped the group’s encounters with Rome, while a supporting cast of English innkeepers and merchants, from Venice to Livorno, feature in journal entries and lists of contacts. Butler and Waring, like other Protestant travellers from Ireland, also took advantage of Irish Catholic networks. Misson usually omits the contacts that allowed access to particular buildings or collections, but Waring reveals that ‘our Irish fathers’ facilitated some Roman sightseeing. A range of English and Irish networks, as well as Ormond’s money, lay behind an influential French guidebook and its translations into English, Dutch and German.

Waring’s notebooks also hint at the dynamics of the travelling party. He and Misson were brought together by social distinctions among English-speaking visitors to Rome, which are well illustrated by a trip the party took with Cardinal Howard to the papal palace on the Quirinal Hill. While Butler accompanied the cardinal, his usher, a bishop, an Irish nobleman and an English gentleman in the first coach, Waring and Misson rode in the second with another tutor and three of the cardinal’s servants. The pair walked through Rome together in search of ‘any noveltie’, though sometimes, when Misson accompanied his pupil to social engagements, Waring was left to explore the city alone. Misson evidently kept a journal, occasionally mentioned in A New Voyage to Italy, and Waring later attributed ‘what advantages I made in my travels’ to his companion’s ‘extraordinary’ example of curiosity and note-taking.

Waring’s notebooks also attest to personal interests, for all that they were inspired by Misson. They feature illustrated comparisons of beds, rooms and houses in Italy, Germany and Holland alongside parallels between Italian pastimes and the football, bowls, billiards and ‘Scotch long bullet’ of home. Waring’s Ulster background may have encouraged a particular interest in irenicism and confessional strife in Germany, as Raymond Gillespie has suggested, while his family’s involvement in the linen industry may lie behind descriptions of Italian popular and elite dress. This fragmented and diverse account offers an alternative view of the journey to that presented in Misson’s polished, printed letters, but it also differs from most evidence presented in studies of the Grand Tour. Current work tends to focus on the heyday of Italian travel in the mid-to-late eighteenth century, by which point itineraries and responses appear increasingly uniform. The Southwell family of County Cork and Gloucestershire illustrates the growing formalisation of travel narratives written in early adulthood, from Robert’s rough commonplace books for France and Italy, compiled in 1659-62, and filled with company and conversation, via his son Edward’s Dutch journals, containing detailed daily entries from the 1690s, to a pinnacle of presentation with his grandson, also Edward, who travelled through France, Italy, Germany and the Low Countries in the 1720s. The youngest Southwell clearly reworked his journals at home, producing flawlessly bland accounts of places visited. Waring’s fragmentary notebooks fall near the beginning of this arc, but the existence of A New Voyage to Italy may also have discouraged him from writing up his travels more presentably. Like other seventeenth-century travellers, he would nevertheless embellish and share his notebooks in the decades to come.

Waring also brought home printed material, like most contemporaries with the means to do so. Books have always featured prominently in treatments of the Grand Tour, including John Stoye’s classic study, and recent work has confirmed their importance. Print prepared travellers for foreign experience, educated them during their journeys and, when reread at home, reinforced the linguistic and cultural improvements that they had achieved. Young travellers such as Sir Philip Perceval, who set out from Ireland a decade before Waring under the supervision of another Huguenot writer, Jean Gailhard, recognised that a collection of ‘the best and most curious books’ from each destination would ‘entertaine your selfe’ at home ‘and keepe your selfe from forgetting what languages you learned in your travells’. An impressive library also served, alongside other forms of collecting, as conspicuous evidence of travel in the years afterwards, forming part of a traveller’s ‘strategy of self-documentation’. Printed books purchased abroad might then complement manuscript journals in family archives, shaping the foreign encounters and vicarious travels of later generations. A collection of books might even, through the often surprisingly open shelves of country house libraries, extend the influence of Italian voyages into local communities. The acquisition, circulation and display of print featured strongly in the intended and actual benefits of foreign voyages, for travellers, their families and even their neighbours. Waring’s experience affords us exceptional insight into the place of books in these afterlives of travel.

The role of print in Waring’s travels can be ascertained from a list of forty-seven books, twelve pamphlets and eight plays that appears, with prices, in the middle of one notebook. Some of the entries—military textbooks, architectural works, grammars and well-established travel accounts—may represent purchases made in preparation for travel, perhaps even in England under the guidance of Misson, but others, such as an assortment of Italian plays, are more likely souvenirs of the voyage. Under ‘Pamphlets’, Waring lists guides—’Reliques of Aix le Chapell’, ‘Habits of Strasburg’—of the kind produced by enterprising locals. He purchased more books on his return home, judging by the probable publication dates for some entries. Waring could not have bought the unattributed ‘Remark on Italy’ before his departure if it is by either William Bromley (1692) or Joseph Addison (1705), while the ‘Delights of Holland’ may be a book of 1696 by William Mountague. Other genres prove more amenable to definite dating: Aphra Behn’s History of the Nun; or, The Fair Vow-Breaker, included with the pamphlets, was not published until 1689, and the ‘Apologie for the clergy’ may well be Alexander Monro’s 1693 contribution to Scottish debates—pertinent reading for an Ulster landowner. Little survives of Waring’s library, which he kept in a jealously guarded closet. His alphabetical list, in which he leaves gaps to be filled with future purchases, nevertheless suggests a long-term record of buying travel-related material—before, during and after his journey.

Waring offers us a third layer of documentation beyond manuscript notes and purchased books, as there is textual evidence for his acquisition of cheap or free souvenirs. He could not afford original oil paintings or marbles, the level of collecting that dominates accounts of Italian travel in the long eighteenth century. Instead, Waring bought engravings and prints, which he framed at home, as a more economical method of displaying his improved taste. A range of modest objects, from Italian playing cards and stones collected in the Roman catacombs to a licence for eating meat during Lent, similarly attested to his experiences in Italy. Commemoration on the cheap might lead to awkward situations, as when Waring noticed a Dominican in Mannheim giving each of his pupils ‘a litle knack, a crucifix or sort of lockett with the virgin Marys Picture & our Saviours in it’. He paid a boy two pence for one of the objects, but the catechist ‘bidd him gett it from me for I would burne it being a protestant, soe that the child crying I was forced to restore it’. Little trace now remains of these miscellaneous souvenirs, easily dispersed over centuries and usually separated from manuscript journals by modern archival practices, but they were integral to how travellers documented their voyages and presented them at home. Waring’s acquisitions offer the perspective, unusual in historiography, though not in contemporary experience, of a traveller who only reached Italy through others’ patronage and, of necessity, memorialised his journey on a budget.


Waring revisited his notebooks, printed material and souvenirs in the years afterwards, reliving and reworking his travels at home. Within this practice, he afforded a special position to reading and engaging with A New Voyage to Italy. Waring got hold of each of Misson’s successive editions, ‘runing them over in my chamber where I endulgd my fancie to the utmost’. He often read the text to ‘refresh my memory in the Ideas I then received’, going through the ‘whole booke… yearly’. This intensive reading arose from Waring’s relationship with the author, but the habit of returning to guidebooks in later years shaped many well-born male travellers’ memories and encouraged them to view Italian travel as a one-off event appropriate to their age, gender and social standing. This type of travel has attracted the most scholarly attention, but it was by no means the only model. Men, women and children undertook diverse journeys during the early modern period, at different stages of life and according to their various budgets and inclinations. For Waring, like many gentlemen and noblemen in Ireland, Britain and continental Europe, travel in late adolescence or early adulthood was nevertheless a rite of passage. Marriage in 1696 to Grace Holt, the daughter of a clergyman from County Meath, was a ‘fatal knot’ that promised ‘noe more of these rambls but in Imagination’. Waring continued to travel far, however, in his reading, discussion and correspondence, reshaping his memories of continental Europe and putting them to use.

Waring’s description of reading alone in his chamber suggests passivity, but he engaged actively with Misson’s texts. A New Voyage to Italy became a resource, as Waring noted changes to successive editions, translated passages from Italian, and used its illustrations as inspiration for further drawing. Most of the evidence for Waring’s reading appears in a complicated notebook that travelled with him to Italy, judging by ‘Sam: Waring his Booke 1687’, ‘SW CB’ and ‘Charles Butler’ scrawled on its cover. It seems to have been filled at home, however, and dating its eclectic entries can prove difficult. They begin with a 1697 claim of ownership by William Close, Waring’s nephew, but continue with notes in Waring’s hand on additions to the 1714 edition of A New Voyage to Italy. Most of the notebook is taken up with draft responses to Misson’s 1699 printed letter, seemingly composed in the years soon afterwards. These are interspersed with extracts from Latin treatises, Waring’s translation of an Italian letter that first appears in Misson’s 1714 edition, and a draft treatise on fir trees that Waring must have completed before its anonymous publication in 1705. The notebook nevertheless brings together rich evidence of Waring’s active reading about and beyond his own travels.

Waring considered Misson’s printed letter of 1699 to be a public declaration of their friendship ‘to the whole world’. He fussed over his reply, summarising Misson’s points, drafting five full responses, revising sections over thirty-one pages, and even rehearsing apologies for the length of his letters. Waring probably wrote a little after 1699, as he informs Misson that, while ‘I had for some time heard of the Publication of the 2[n]d Edition of your Travels into Italy, yet I had not the perusal of it untill my return latly to this Citty; where entering one of our stationers shops I was not a litle pleasd to have it putt into my hand’. This episode probably took place in Dublin, which Waring visited regularly on business, and where he sat in parliament between 1703 and 1715. The latest book that Waring mentions in his drafts, excluding English translations of works already available in French, is William Dampier’s New Voyage Round the World of 1697. Misson kept Waring up-to-date with London releases, sending Martin Lister’s 1699 Journey to Paris in the year of its publication, ‘according to your desire’, and other works as soon as they emerged, so the drafts would surely mention Addison’s famous Remarks, particularly given their endorsement of Misson, if they had been written much after 1705. They probably represent Waring’s engagement with travel books up to around 1700-1705, some fifteen years after his voyage.

Waring’s drafts praise A New Voyage to Italy, but they also demonstrate that his reading was transnational, multilingual and chronologically broad. His short list of ‘Authors that have writt of Italy’ comprises Gilbert Burnet, Richard Lassels and the botanist John Ray as writers in English, but also the Frenchmen Charles Patin, Pierre du Val (‘Du la val’), Jacques de Villamont (‘Vilamot’) and Jean Dumont, alongside Franz Schott of Antwerp (‘Scot’). While Waring knew of early seventeenth-century authors in Schott and Villamont, he continued to engage with travel writers like Dumont, first published in French in 1694, who printed their accounts after his own voyage. He offers Misson succinct verdicts: Burnet gives ‘noe more than a view of the Government & Policie of the several states he past thro’; Villamont focuses on curiosities, ‘as if these were the only thing there worth a strangers notice’; Lassels extols ‘the riches and magnificencie of the Romish Church’; Ray provides long botanical catalogues, taking the rest of Italy ‘en passant’; and Dumont relishes only those places ‘where he finds the Belle Donne’. Only Burnet, Lassels and Schott appear on the booklist described above, but Waring was clearly familiar with all of these authors.

The languages in which Waring read these texts are difficult to determine. Du Val, Patin and Dumont had all appeared in English translation by the time that he wrote, but Villamont would only have been available in French. Waring owned books in that language, judging by the fact that his papers include an illustration taken from Misson’s 1691 first edition, and drawings inspired by a plate that features only in French versions from 1698 (see figs. 3 and 4). Here, Waring stands for many among the British and Irish elite, who from the late seventeenth century increasingly bought French texts, doing so in even greater numbers from the middle of the eighteenth century. Confusion over the nationality of Schott, whom Waring describes as an overzealous ‘native’ of Italy, indicates that he may have misunderstood one of many Italian editions, which give the author as Andrea or Francesco Scoto, rather than the Latin original or English translation. Perhaps he had bought the book on his journey and incorporated it into his collection at home, just as the acquisition of Italian books during travel shaped grander private libraries in the period. Waring was eager to demonstrate how far these other books ‘come short of that variety & those usefull instructions’ to be found in A New Voyage to Italy, but in doing so he revealed the breadth and depth of his reading.

Few studies give much indication of how readers viewed the genre of ‘travels’, but Waring’s draft letters offer us some hints. He found that each writer related ‘what he thought most diverting & usefull’, displaying ‘a relish & palate peculiar to himselfe, as diferent from each other as their very stiles or methods are’. Readers who had ‘occasion to make use of them’ were left to compare authors and ‘the different bent of their inclinations’, drawing out the required information. Authors, on the other hand, as Claydon has argued, perceived ‘a collaborative enterprise’, in which they ‘consciously contributed to a shared stock of fact and opinion’. Beyond Italy, there remained gaps in this sum of knowledge. Waring urged Misson to publish his travels through Germany, as promised in the 1699 letter, ‘because we have nothing that has been latly writt on that Country, but what was performed by one—Brown printed in the year—’ (though Misson had abandoned the plan by the 1714 edition of the New Voyage to Italy). Waring may not have read Edward Brown’s 1677 account of Germany, but he recognised that Misson was contributing to a body of knowledge with which he himself continued to engage as a reader. This corpus included accounts of both continental destinations and those further afield. Misson’s own literary production, after all, ranged from writing up his Italian journey to editing Leguat’s East Indian travels. Criticism of A New Voyage to Italy, moreover, prompted Waring to offer Dampier’s New Voyage Round the World as evidence that nothing more could be ‘expected from a traveler then a faithfull topography, and a true & ingenious relation of all present occurrances and what offers it selfe readily to his observation or view’. Waring’s drafts filter his wider reading through his engagement with Misson’s texts, but he was clearly familiar with a much broader range of travel writing.

As the years passed, Waring continued to read A New Voyage to Italy actively. He told Misson that he had, with the 1695 and 1699 editions in hand, been ‘soe curious as to compare the former & this latter Edition in a manner page by page’. He did the same for the 1714 version, compiling a list of ‘Mr Missons additions in his 3[r]d edition of his Travels to those of his Second’. The changes made in 1714 also allowed for more creative engagement. Waring translated a letter about tarantula venom, sent to Misson from a French bookseller in Naples, and added to the second volume in the original Italian. The letter inspired investigations by other scholarly readers, including George Berkeley and John Friend, but Waring translates loosely and does not always capture the Italian accurately. He interprets the correspondent’s services to Misson at the end of the letter, for instance, as a continuation of his determination to help tarantula victims, though crossings out indicate that he found it a tricky passage. Waring attempted this translation, presumably armed with his copy of Florio’s 1611 dictionary, a quarter of a century after his voyage. His collection of plays, pamphlets and guidebooks may have helped him to maintain his familiarity with the language, in the likely absence of opportunities for conversation, keeping alive the improving effects of travel.

A New Voyage to Italy may also have given Waring inspiration for drawing. One of his notebooks on Italian and German travel, in particular, intersperses its text with sketches. It is not always clear whether Waring drew during the journey itself or filled blank pages at home, but the answer for some images may lie in their resemblance to illustrations in Misson’s printed work. A plate of female dress in Nuremberg, which appears only in French editions from 1698 onwards, bears strong similarities to sketches of women in Waring’s notebooks (figs. 3 and 4). It seems unlikely that Waring had any involvement in the production process, so he was probably improvising upon Misson’s illustrations. He must also have taken similar inspiration from elsewhere, as drawings in notebooks and on loose papers depict Ancient Egyptian figures, and various machines without any counterpart in A New Voyage to Italy. Misson describes a visit to the antiquarian collection of Giovan Pietro Bellori, but Waring particularly noticed his Egyptian items, which Bellori had received from the traveller Pietro dalla Valle.A New Voyage to Italy also mentions a visit to the ‘mangl’d and dismember’d’ cabinet of the late Jesuit polymath Athanasius Kircher, who owned ‘several mechanical engines’; a note by Waring records his delight in ‘the water Inventions, the perpetuall motion’. Images of neither collection appear in Misson’s works, but the carefulness of Waring’s colour illustrations suggests that he produced them at home. Whether he used printed material or his own sketches to do so remains unclear. In the same notebook, full-page drawings of buildings do sometimes expand upon marginal doodles that accompany text elsewhere on Dutch, German and Italian buildings, interiors and furnishings. Memory, manuscript and print combined, as, through reading, noting, translating and drawing, Waring relived his travels in the decades afterwards.


Waring read A New Voyage to Italy and other texts in his chamber and closet, but the role of books in the afterlives of travel reached beyond solitary reminiscence. Active, sociable reading and discussion helped to turn foreign encounters into social and cultural capital. European experience was not enough for aspiring gentlemen, and, though historical studies usually deal only with encounters abroad, there remained plenty of work to do at home. Travel added to the blend of marriage, office-holding, hospitality and other methods through which the standing of a family with disposable funds might be advanced. Barnard has established that returning travellers acted as cultural pundits among their neighbours, displaying souvenirs, distributing gifts and pontificating on local taste. Waring, in particular, cultivated an amateur architectural expertise. His interest in building is clear from his Dutch, German and Italian observations, as well as the drawings added after his return home. This recording and reworking of foreign experience combined, in the decades after the voyage, with his reading of texts like Vitruvius Britannicus, from which Waring copied illustrations and took inspiration for his own plans. The fruits of travel and reading fed into his building work at Waringstown and his advice on the projects of neighbouring gentlemen, strengthening his local and national standing. Waring also raised and maintained his position through what Neil Kenny has termed ‘travel-talk’. If ‘all men talke of their travells’, as one contemporary, Sir Robert Southwell, told his son, discussion of foreign experiences offered shared points of reference with elite acquaintances. Voyages, as Southwell advised his nephew, furnished ‘materials to enter into Manly Conversation’.

Once home, men like Waring entered a community of returned travellers. Scholars have begun to explore travel as training for conversation, but Waring’s example suggests how that preparation might be used in the years afterwards. He told Misson about ‘a gentleman in this City’, probably Dublin, ‘who tho unknown to us was in Italy while we were there & since that spent some time in several Cittys on the Rhine, where he made his observations and out of them framd a description of that famous River’. The traveller lent his manuscript, ‘Rhenigraphia’, to Waring, who hoped that it would contribute to Misson’s intended account of Germany. Shared reminiscence forged new links and strengthened older connections. Charles Butler stayed at Waringstown for a year after the Italian voyage in 1690, and, after his elevation to the earldom of Arran, he ‘often rememberd’ Waring in meetings with Misson and Samuel’s brothers in London. Ties to the Butlers remained strong when Waring sent his manuscript on fir trees to Charles’s brother, the second duke of Ormond. Attachment to the Butlers proved of limited use, however, especially once the indebted second duke had fled into Jacobite exile, and Waring continued to serve in Hanoverian parliaments, where he upheld an independent, localist outlook. Conversations about foreign voyages nevertheless played a decisive role in converting the memory of expensive journeys into conspicuous social success.

Waring turned to A New Voyage to Italy and other travel books to bolster his prestige, securing the social and cultural capital acquired through travel. His association with such a notable work, particularly after his appearance in the 1699 appendix, guaranteed him authority in his circles. Waring met with ‘inquis[i]tors in relation to’ Misson’s book, presumably in County Down, Belfast and Dublin, and fielded queries as ‘an eye wittness of the whole relation’. He found ‘soe many varieties of fancies to be pleased as there are mouths to ask questions withall’, telling Misson that he had been quizzed on ‘matters that neither you nor I thought of while abroad’. Reading evidently allowed untravelled acquaintances in Britain and Ireland to participate in ‘travel-talk’, as Allan confirms for the later eighteenth century, and as Kenny finds for France and Germany. Waring thought armchair travellers not so different from the real thing, comparing himself to an Italian antiquary, ‘surrounded with a club of curious observers’, who each, as he remembered from St Peter’s in Rome, pursued his own ‘darling object’. Waring defended A New Voyage to Italy from accusations that it overlooked the interests of his neighbours and evidently conveyed their ‘objections’ to Misson, who confronted them in his published letter by re-emphasising the personal nature of his observations. Misson had requested such feedback in print, and his correspondence with Waring reveals that he responded with changes to successive editions. It thus becomes clear that travel writers constructed their genre in collaboration with engaged readers, thereby completing the most elusive connection, from reader to author, in Darnton’s ‘communications circuit’.

Waring used books to maintain his expertise in the years after his journey. He failed to answer only one question among the ‘reasonable’, finding himself unable to offer ‘some parallel betwen the old Rome & the new … and to relate what of the old Rome is now standing’. Waring told Misson that he had ‘taken a litle pains by collection, out of yours & other bookes’, to provide an answer that ‘seemd as gave them & my selfe some satisfaction, tho I could not at the same time justify the truth or exactness of it either’. Waring may have enjoyed an unusually close relationship with one particular author, but his resort to books in order to sustain and embellish memories of travel seems to have been more typical. Dudley Ryder, a contemporary law student in London, with similar social ambitions, found that he could give acquaintances ‘but very little account of matters’ in Paris, despite having been there, and decided to ‘get some book of travels to France in order to refresh my memory’. Indeed, the English translation of Germain Brice’s 1684 Description nouvelle de ce qu’il y a de plus remarquable dans la ville de Paris offered itself to returning travellers in precisely these terms. Readers of travels, to borrow Allan’s conclusions on Scottish Enlightenment texts, undertook a social practice rather than a solitary pursuit, finding opportunities for self-fashioning. Recollections of travel stood alongside conversation and reading as the years passed, uniting personal experience and the printed word in the maintenance of prestigious expertise.

Waring shared both his continental experiences and his later reading with family members. One notebook bears an improvised title page, ‘Mr Waren traveals throug Germany and Italy 1687’, in an adolescent hand. It may have belonged to his nephew, judging by the similarity of the writing to ‘Wm Close’s Book 1697’ in the front of the collection of draft letters to Misson. William was then in his teens—planning for his career appears in correspondence the following year—so his uncle’s manuscripts featured in the final stages of his upbringing. Waring wrote ‘ffor Mr Wm Close 1697’ on the same page, hinting at a passing-down of experience, but the fact that Waring used the notebook to record changes to Misson’s 1714 edition suggests that Close returned it afterwards. Uncle and nephew demonstrate that print and personal experience came together in a family engagement with travel culture, as Waring provided Close with both reading notes and journals he kept abroad. Another annotation, identifying ‘a draft of a letter to Max. Misson, who wrote an Account of Italy during a tour made in Company with Mr Waring’, appears in a third and possibly later eighteenth-century hand, implying that Waring’s notes remained a resource for subsequent generations. Here, as in Jill Bepler’s study of the seventeenth-century German nobility, printed books and manuscript family archives worked together to document voyages for the use of posterity. Knowledge of travel thereby extended beyond travellers themselves to their relatives and acquaintances, through letters, discussion and shared notes. As Katharine Glover finds for women in eighteenth-century Scotland, these kinds of vicarious journeys encouraged those left at home into ‘a much wider frame of cultural reference’. Waring insists on the centrality of both memory and reading to individual self-fashioning as a returned traveller, but he also hints that first-hand experiences and shared texts might enjoy longer and more extensive afterlives among family members and in wider social circles.


Over decades, Waring drew on both his own experiences and Misson’s published texts to fashion himself as a gentleman, a connoisseur and an example to his family. His travels alone would merit attention, as his dependence on patronage, his personalised notes and his cut-price collecting set him apart him from the wealthy young noblemen who usually populate scholarly work on the Grand Tour. Waring’s example shows that such journeys were, in Stoye’s words, ‘tiny mission[s] to the continent’, helpfully directing our attention away from the privileged few in the first carriage to the clients, tutors and servants in the second. Even more valuably, he and Misson encourage scholars to follow their subjects home. Most studies of travel writing show relatively little interest in how books were used, while social, cultural and art historians tend to drop travellers once they have returned. The relationship between Waring and Misson, forged in ‘the fateauges of a long & toilsome Journey’ and maintained over many years in manuscript and print, offers us an alternative perspective. It affords us access to the overlapping afterlives of travel, taking in writing, reading and the working through of foreign experience at home.

With respect to the origins and reception of A New Voyage to Italy, Waring’s notebooks flesh out the actual travelling party, obscured in Misson’s published texts, and place the book within wider cultures of travel and print. They provide evidence of readership beyond print runs and intertextual references, hinting at an enthusiastic but critical reception in British and Irish circles. Waring places A New Voyage to Italy within a body of published ‘travels’ available to readers with diverse needs, from prospective and returned travellers to those in search of vicarious foreign experience. This stock of knowledge incorporated accounts produced in several languages, which for Waring included at least English, French and Italian—though whether foreign works were read in their original language or in translation depended on the abilities and preferences of readers. If travellers from different countries encountered Italy in similar ways, writers and readers equally suggest a convergence of national travel cultures. A New Voyage to Italy is itself remarkably transnational: a Huguenot refugee, for whom ‘England is become my dear Country’, based his book on a journey funded by an Irish nobleman and facilitated by English and Irish networks, both Protestant and Catholic; editions and translations produced in The Hague, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Leipzig and London enjoyed an extensive and engaged readership in France, the Netherlands, Germany, England, Ireland and beyond. This background and reception seem unlikely to make the book particularly unusual, though a more definitive answer would require a broader study of travel books and their readers. Misson and Waring certainly suggest the difficulty of disentangling ‘national’ travel cultures, and using them to make arguments about national identity.

Recognising this problem complicates the ways in which travel books have featured in the historiography of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but Waring and Misson suggest how they might still make a contribution. Studies of travel writing have often sought revelations of national identity in encounters with the foreign, especially as presented in published texts, but scholars might more profitably look towards the role of books in the afterlives of travel. Print offered resources with which returned travellers might nurture and build upon foreign experiences, prolonging improvements and reaping their social benefits. Waring’s observations, reading, correspondence and conversation provide substantial evidence of travel as preparation for elite sociability and adult life, tracing his transformation of Italian experiences into British and Irish social and cultural capital with the help of books, memories, notes and souvenirs. Such processes of self-fashioning were particular to individuals, but they took place in social contexts. Waring discussed travel with those who had shared his experience first-hand, but also with those who had pieced together knowledge through reading—revealing something, too, of the afterlives of Misson’s texts. Although Waring may be exceptional, given his connections to a well-known author, a similar case could be made for most of those who have left substantial traces of their reading; even shreds of evidence tend to reveal ‘the obstinate individualism of the reader’. What the sustained relationship of Waring and Misson certainly shows is the need to recognise slower processes of self-fashioning at home, in which reading played a central role, rather than focusing exclusively on a supposed forging of national identity at the moment of foreign encounter. The entwined afterlives of travel and travel books offer a more complex and satisfying understanding of how, and to what social ends, people with lived or vicarious experience of ‘abroad’ built their understandings of the world beyond Britain and Ireland.