Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Legitimate Idleness: Victorian Travel for Health. A free public lecture by Professor Sally Shuttleworth, Oxford University

Professor Shuttleworth is renowned for her interdisciplinary work which brings together literary studies, psychology, medicine, the Environmental Humanities and the History of Science. Professor Shuttleworth is a William Evans Visiting Fellow at the University of Otago between February and March 2020.

Middle-class Victorians had always travelled in Europe, but from the 1860s there was a huge rise in the numbers travelling in winter explicitly for their health. In this talk I focus on the ‘invention’ of Mentone on the Riviera, and Davos in the Swiss Alps, as winter health resorts. According to James Henry Bennet, the ‘creator’ of Mentone as a health resort, the British should take their cue from the swallows, and travel south in the winter. Sufferers from consumption, clergyman’s throat, or general overwork and the pressures of modern life, followed his siren call. Yet by the 1880s Mentone was supplanted as the health destination of choice by the rise of Davos. Basking in the sun in a natural winter garden was to be replaced, one commentator grumbled, by the refrigeration of invalids.

The talk will explore the medical, and cultural dimensions of these developments, and the lives of some of the more famous invalids who wintered there, from Robert Louis Stevenson and John Addington Symonds, to the charismatic preacher Charles Spurgeon and the decadent artist Aubrey Beardsley.

Date Thursday, 12 March 2020
Time 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Audience Public
Event Category Humanities
Event Type Lecture
DepartmentEnglish and Linguistics
LocationRobert Burns Building, Lecture Theatre Two
Contact NameDr Grace Moore, English & Linguistics Programme
Contact Phone+64 3 479 8629

Save this event