Legitimate Idleness: Victorian Travel for Health

12 March 2020 5:30pm — 6:30pm

Middle-class Victorians had always travelled in Europe, but from the 1860s there was a huge rise in the numbers travelling in winter explicitly for their health. In this talk I focus on the ‘invention’ of Mentone on the Riviera, and Davos in the Swiss Alps, as winter health resorts. According to James Henry Bennet, the ‘creator’ of Mentone as a health resort, the British should take their cue from the swallows, and travel south in the winter. Sufferers from consumption, clergyman’s throat, or general overwork and the pressures of modern life, followed his siren call. Yet by the 1880s Mentone was supplanted as the health destination of choice by the rise of Davos. Basking in the sun in a natural winter garden was to be replaced, one commentator grumbled, by the refrigeration of invalids. The talk will explore the medical, and cultural dimensions of these developments, and the lives of some of the more famous invalids who wintered there, from Robert Louis Stevenson and John Addington Symonds, to the charismatic preacher Charles Spurgeon and the decadent artist Aubrey Beardsley.

hese free events are hosted by the English & Linguistics programme at the University of Otago, with the support of the University’s Humanities Division.  
The local contact is Dr Grace Moore (grace.moore@otago.ac.nz).

Additional details (including an abstract) may be found here: https://www.otago.ac.nz/english-linguistics/news/events/otago732291.html

Burns 2 Lecture Theatre, University of Otago
FREE, all welcome


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