Iceland (1836): ‘L’Invitation au voyage’

Wendy S. Mercer

in The Life and Travels of Xavier Marmier (1808-1892)

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780197263884
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734830 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs

Iceland (1836): ‘L’Invitation au voyage’

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The year 1836 was an important year for Marmier, for it marked his first expedition with the Commission du Nord on board the corvette La Recherche to the Scandinavian countries. To his mind, his mission was clear: he was to observe the current state of literature and learning in Iceland in order to compare the intellectual relationship between the ancient and the modern – the Iceland of the sagas and the Iceland of the nineteenth century. Marmier was greatly impressed by the hospitality he received everywhere in Iceland, although a major focus of his criticism is the Danish trade monopoly. On Saturday 28 January 1837, Marmier finished the last page of his book on Iceland. His Lettres sur l'Islande is an important historical document in many respects. The descriptions of Icelandic life are still of great interest today as a record of social conditions at the time.

Keywords: La Recherche; Scandinavia; Marmier; Iceland; Lettres sur l'Islande; Danish monopoly

Chapter.  10827 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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