The Classical Grand Tour: An Approach to Teaching First-Year Writing in the Disciplines
Making a pilgrimage has always appealed to seekers of wisdom, be it to a secluded wilderness retreat or a bustling urban university. This course introduces students to just one way this journey was made in Enlightenment Europe, namely, in the Grand Tour of sites of antiquity and the "Oxbridge" mode of higher learning. Students compare word and image, because much of the experience of the Tour was in response to the landscape, ruins and masterworks of art. Observing its distinctly literary character, students sample, in translation, a few of the ancient writers that the Grand Tourists knew well - Ovid, Horace, Plato - and they also read poetry and fiction where the main character records and reflects on this journey. We question how gender, class, education and nationality determine who may appreciate, or even apprehend, the classical tradition. Non-fiction essays and multimedia raise the question of the tasks of a liberal education and of being an intellectual in the world. While working to improve college-level writing skills, many kinds of imagined audiences for reasoned, scholarly opinions are exercised, including journaling, interviewing, the documented scholarly essay (which has passed through several revisions) and writing multimedia for educators and the general public.
Keywords: Grand Tour, Cambridge, Oxford, Ancient Greece, Rome, Writing Instruction
Dr. Chris Ann Matteo
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Writing, The University Writing Program, The George Washington University