J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Eastman on the Benefits of Travel in the 1700s, 27 Apr.

This Friday, 27 April, the American Antiquarian Society’s regional seminar series journeys to Providence for a talk by Carolyn Eastman at Brown University. It’s titled “Looking, Loving, and Losing: Sex and Gender on the Move in 18th-Century Travelogues.”

Eastman is a professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of A Nation of Speechifiers: Making an American Public after the Revolution. She offered this précis of her talk:
18th-century travel writers did not always adhere to strictly “objective” modes of description in their books. Interspersed throughout both published narratives and lay individuals’ travel diaries or letters are accounts that indicate how often fantasies of romance or sex were associated with the act of traveling.

My talk analyzes the infectiousness of published travelogues, some of which included quite operatic tales of love, sex, and loss, and considers how these may have inspired ordinary men and women on much less exotic voyages to scrutinize their fellow travelers or the people they encountered for promises of romance, or the dark side of love.
The event will take place in the Pavilion Room of the Peter Green House, 79 Brown Street (corner of Angell), from 4:00 to 5::30 P.M. Try to control yourself on the drive there.

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