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Meifert-Menhard, Felicitas (2016): Travelling Towards Knowledge. Romantic Journeys and the Advance of Science. In: Bode, Christoph; Pink, Katharina (eds.) : Travel writing. Litteraria Pragensia : studies in literature and culture, Vol. 26. [Praha]: Univerzita Karlova v Praze, Filozofická fakulta. pp. 6-16
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This essay traces the connections between travelling and the development of a scientific agenda in Romantic poetry, using the example of Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812-1818). Starting from the assumption that there is an enticing correlation between the interest in science that Romantic poets held and the epistemological advancement made possible by developing travel in the period, this article seeks to examine interconnections between the act of travelling as rendered in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and the gathering of a distinctively scientific form of knowledge. In Canto II of the Pilgrimage, Byron records his journey to Albania and takes on a proto-anthropological pose to describe the cultural manners and festivities at the court of Ali Pasha. The essay closes with a brief comparison between Byron's poem and the narrative account of the journey to Albania as provided in John Cam Hobhouse's Journey through Albania and Other Provinces of Turkey in Europe and Asia (1817), a text that displays a more openly sociological agenda which counters Byron's anthropological interest.