Michael Tomko

Andrew W. Mellon Regional Fellow in the Humanities

20062007 Forum on Travel

Michael Tomko

Assistant Professor, Literature, Villanova University

Finding Others Within: Travel, British Romanticism, and Religious Difference

A reconsideration of travel has recently enriched, enlivened, and expanded the geographical scope of British romantic literature and culture. The emerging map of romanticism is transatlantic, and cosmopolitan. In this book project, Prof. Tomko extends and redirects this critical trend, examining how romantic period writers journeyed within Britain to sites redolent with wounds and memories of regional and religious conflict. Drawing on various accounts of the role of religion in nation formation, he will argue that romantic journeys to ruined abbeys, holy wells, and deconsecrated churches in England and Ireland not only revealed a deeply fractured sense of national history that troubled the British entry into modernity but also became what Edward Said has called a “traveling theory” that framed an approach to “savages” encountered in the imperial project as comparable to pre-modern, “Dark Age” Catholics.