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Not So Barren or Uncultivated: British travellers in Finland 1760–1830

Authors: Tony Lurcock

Published by CB Editions

ISBN: 9780956107398

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"This fascinating survey of the British in Finland."
Paul Binding, Times Literary Supplement

"Lurcock’s own commentary is often at least as worth reading as the texts themselves."
Yvonne Hofmann, Vasabladet

Finland in the eighteenth century was not a destination for the faint-hearted. Travellers told of winter temperatures which froze brandy in the bottle, and of summer journeys when they were eaten alive by bugs and mosquitoes. But they also wrote lyrical accounts of sledging over the ice from Stockholm, and of the idyllic beauty of Finland’s lakes and islands.

Part anthology, part history, Not So Barren or Uncultivated brings to life these forgotten journeys and gives a picture of Finland at a time when it was little known to the outside world. It also presents the familiar figure of the Englishman Abroad in very unfamiliar terms. Lurcock’s book is informative, affectionate, and full of surprising and entertaining episodes.

"A fine integration of travellers’ texts and commentary... It is a valuable work of scholarship and also very readable as a result of the neat and economical manner of handling the scholarly apparatus."
David Wilson, Jyväskylä University

"This book is a gem: entertaining, fascinating, astonishing... Tony Lurcock’s clever collage of these [travellers’ accounts] from the past adds to the enjoyment... I’ve learned a lot about Finland 250 years ago. Lovely book."
Finland Forum

"Tony Lurcock’s engaging book... combines an informative historical account with short biographies and extracts from the journals and published writings of some twenty British travellers who visited Finland in the mid-eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries... Samuel Johnson observed that 'the true state of every nation is the state of common life'. For an introduction to that 'common life' and to the history of this part of northern Europe in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries it would be hard to better Tony Lurcock’s excellent volume. Impeccably researched, written in an accessible, lively and lucid style, with useful appendices, notes, and bibliography, this is a gem of a book which will delight the scholar and the general reader alike."
Mara Kalnins, Notes and Queries

Tony Lurcock grew up in Kent and was educated at Oxford. He became lecturer in English at Helsinki University, and subsequently at Åbo Akademi. He returned to Oxford for research, and taught there, and in America, until his recent retirement.

Also available as an eBook here.

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