European Travellers to Wales: 1750-2010

About the project

An Arts and Humanities research grant, worth £420,000, will enable Dr Kathryn Jones – a co-investigator on this project with principal investigator Professor Carol Tully at Bangor University and co-investigator Dr Heather Williams at the University of Wales Centre of Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies – to examine the representation of Wales and ‘Welshness’ in texts by European travellers from 1750-2010, focusing on key points in the period of Welsh modernisation from the Industrial Revolution to the post-devolution era (e.g. French Revolution; Romanticism; Welsh religious revival, twentieth-century exile).

Welcome to Wales

In detail

Within the vibrant field of travel writing, Wales has often suffered neglect.  Even where there is interest in travel to ‘Celtic’ nations, Wales has often been overlooked in both the artistic and critical imaginations in favour of Scotland and Ireland.  The project will focus primarily on texts by French- and German-speaking travellers, as these constitute the majority.  However, narratives from other parts of Europe and across the globe will also be considered.  The project will analyse travelogues, travel guides, almanacs, encyclopaedias, private correspondences, diaries, creative works and periodical contributions which have Wales or Welsh culture as their focus.  The definition of the traveller encompasses those travelling for the purposes of leisure, scholarship or commerce as well as those who remain in Wales on a more permanent basis, such as exiles and refugees.  Central is the role of Anglophone culture as a mediator between Wales and the European traveller.  While most studies of travel literature are one-directional, this study explores a three-way relationship, looking outward from Britain to the continent, then considering how Europe reflects back the perception of Wales and how that perception is then received in Wales itself. 

Attached to the project will be a Research Assistant and two AHRC PhD studentships (with one based in the Department of Languages, Translation and Communication at Swansea University and supervised by Dr Jones).  


Over the coming three years the project will undertake the following outputs:

Kathryn Jones

Dr Kathryn Jones is Associate Professor of French in the Department of Languages, Translation and Communication. Her research interests include travel writing; migrant writing; post-war and contemporary French and German literature; French and German postcolonial studies; war and conflict studies; gender studies; memory studies; literary, filmic and historical representations of the Holocaust, the Second World War and the Algerian war of independence.