Martina Engelbrecht (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)
Three Englishmen in Rome: Descriptions of Italian architecture by Richard Lassels, John Evelyn and Joseph Addison
My presentation will focus on descriptions of Italian architecture that were composed by three Englishmen who went on the Grand Tour in the second half of the seventeenth century: Richard Lassels, John Evelyn and Joseph Addison. My interest is to indicate how their strategies of describing a building evolve from an object-centered perspective to a point of view which takes both the author’s previous knowledge and his in-situ experience into account. By pointing out the author’s speech intention, the perspective chosen as well as the literary devices employed, I will aim at explaining how the relation between the describing author and the building described gradually changes with new strategies of describing architecture being applied. Based on a stylistic analysis of description samples, I will raise the questions (1) if the descriptions indicate that the three English travelers meet Italy and its architectural heritage with expectations that were raised by the study of previous descriptions (intertextual references) and (2) if the travelers make use of descriptions to record to what extent their experience of visiting the monuments could meet their previous expectations.