studies in travel writing

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de Maistre, Xavier, A Journey around my Room [1795], translated by Andrew Brown, introduced by Alain de Botton (London: Hesperus, 2004).

When he finds himself imprisoned in his room for six weeks, with only his butler and his dog to keep him company, Xavier de Maistre decides to embark on one of the most ambitious travels of all time. Arrested in Turin after a duel in the Spring of 1790, this twenty-seven year-old Frenchman copes with his confinement and fills his days by taking a journey around his very own bedroom. Whether travelling from his bed to his sofa, or all the way over to the mirror, he wears his ‘travelling outfit’, consisting of his pink and blue pyjamas.

Out of his forced reclusion comes one of the finest pieces of literature of the nineteenth century. De Maistre’s new take on the travel literature of the past was to inspire many future writers, such as Marcel Proust and Victor Hugo. Journey around my Room is presented here with de Maistre’s companion piece Nocturnal Expedition around my Room.

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