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Mary Shelley

History of a Six Weeks' Tour is a travel narrative by the British Romantic authors Mary Shelley (pictured) and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Published in 1817, it describes two trips taken by Mary, Percy, and Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont: one across Europe in 1814, and one to Lake Geneva in 1816. It consists of a journal, four letters, and Percy Shelley's poem "Mont Blanc". Apart from the poem, the text was primarily written and organised by Mary Shelley. In 1840 she revised the journal and the letters, republishing them in a collection of Percy Shelley's writings. Part of the new genre of the Romantic travel narrative, History of a Six Weeks' Tour exudes spontaneity and enthusiasm; the authors demonstrate their desire to develop a sense of taste and distinguish themselves from those around them. The romantic elements of the work would have hinted at the text's radical politics to 19th-century readers. The text's frank discussion of politics, including positive references to the French Revolution and praise of Enlightenment philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, was unusual for a travel narrative at the time. History of a Six Weeks' Tour sold poorly but received favourable reviews. (Full article...)

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