The Imprisoned Traveler: Joseph Forsyth and Napoleon's Italy (Transits: Literature, Thought & Culture, 1650-1850) (Paperback)

The Imprisoned Traveler: Joseph Forsyth and Napoleon's Italy (Transits: Literature, Thought & Culture, 1650-1850) By Keith Crook Cover Image


The Imprisoned Traveler is a fascinating portrait of a unique book, its context, and its elusive author. Joseph Forsyth, traveling through an Italy plundered by Napoleon, was unjustly imprisoned in 1803 by the French as an enemy alien. Out of his arduous eleven-year “detention” came his only book, Remarks on Antiquities, Arts, and Letters during an Excursion in Italy (1813). Written as an (unsuccessful) appeal for release, praised by Forsyth’s contemporaries for its originality and fine taste, it is now recognized as a classic of Romantic period travel writing. Keith Crook, in this authoritative study, evokes the peculiar miseries that Forsyth endured in French prisons, reveals the significance of Forsyth’s encounters with scientists, poets, scholars, and ordinary Italians, and analyzes his judgments on Italian artworks. He uncovers how Forsyth’s allusiveness functions as a method of covert protest against Napoleon and reproduces the hitherto unpublished correspondence between the imprisoned Forsyth and his brother.

Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press. 

About the Author

Keith Crook taught for many years at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK, where he is now an Honorary Fellow, specializing in eighteenth-century literature. His main publications are on Samuel Johnson and Swift. He published the standard scholarly edition of Joseph Forsyth’s Italy in 2001.

Praise For…

"[There is] value and significance of Forsyth’s travel account, and Keith Crook has provided us with an excellent vademecum to its intricacies and, in the process, a powerful reminder of its cultural significance."
— Romantic Circles

"The Imprisoned Traveler, which includes a series of letters he was able to send from captivity to his brother in Scotland, offers an expertly detailed tribute to the man and his work in the wider aesthetic and political contexts of Romantic Europe."
— Times Literary Supplement

"Forsyth did not get to see the second edition of his work, which saw the light thanks to his brother, for he died soon after his liberation in 1815. Crook has assumed the privileged role of updating the twenty-first-century scholarly appreciation of Forsyth's seminal account of Napoleonic Italy, and Crook's book is a must on any shelf of specialised Romantic travel writing on Italy."
— The BARS Review
Product Details
ISBN: 9781684481620
ISBN-10: 1684481627
Publisher: Bucknell University Press
Publication Date: December 13th, 2019
Pages: 266
Language: English
Series: Transits: Literature, Thought & Culture, 1650-1850