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Title: William Lithgow's 'Totall Discourse' (1632) and his 'Science of the World' : a seventeenth-century Protestant traveller's view of Europe and the near East
Author: Burns, James Robert
ISNI:       0000 0001 3510 916X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis is an examination of William Lithgow (1582-1645?), and travel and travel writing in the early seventeenth century. Lithgow's chief work, 'The Totall Discourse of the rare Adventures and Painefull Peregrinations ...' (1632), is notable for its outspoken treatments of Roman Catholicism in Europe and Palestine, its melancholy assessments of Mediterranean civilisation, its remarks on combined English and Scottish colonial enterprises in Ireland, and its 'eye-witness' descriptions of the Spanish Inquisition. The four main chapters of this study examine these episodes along Lithgow's itinerary and highlight characteristics of his self-presentation in each: Italy (Protestant/Catholic antagonism), the Mediterranean (tensions between the use of sources and first-hand observation), Ireland (responses to colonialism), and Spain ('fictionality' in contemporary travel narratives). To establish the likely reasons and sources for Lithgow's narrative style, the thesis examines several calamitous events before, during, and after his travels; his religious upbringing and educational background; and his response to and adoption of other texts and generic models -- fictional and nonfictional, classical and contemporary, Catholic and Protestant. Unlike better-known English travel writers, such as Moryson, Coryat, and Sandys, Lithgow substantially rewrote and reissued his account twice -- the 1614 edition of his first journey was rewritten in 1623, then further descriptions of his second and third journeys were added to the 'Totall' 1632 edition. Changes to successive editions suggest his increased preoccupation with appearing as a divinely-countenanced Protestant pilgrim and with presenting his endeavours as the pursuit of the 'science of the world', or the careful compiling of first-hand observations and information from other sources. By focusing on his long-neglected work, the thesis examines how Lithgow refashions his narrative and his narratorial persona, considers the similarities and differences between the 'Totall Discourse' and other works, and seeks to qualify the author's reputation as 'lying Lithgow'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Travel writing