The early seventeenth-century traveler Thomas Coryate’s five-month tour of Western Europe culminated in Coryats Crudities, one of the strangest travelogues published in early modern England. This edition abridges the Crudities’ more than 900 pages to a manageable size, focusing on episodes most likely to be of interest to students—such as Coryate’s descriptions of Venetian mountebanks, courtesans, and Jews; his crossing of the Alps; and his attendance at a Corpus Christi celebration in Paris.
The selection of contextual materials includes illustrations from the first edition, along with a sampling from another eccentric feature of the Crudities: a collection of mock commendatory poems making fun of Coryate and his journey.
“Philip S. Palmer’s judicious selection captures the full flavor and range of Coryate’s idiosyncratic and outlandish adventure. For the first time, this landmark text in the history of travel writing is made available in accessible format, allowing new generations of readers to appreciate its wit, energy, and carefully-constructed eccentricity. Coryate’s delight in oddities and in recounting his personal misfortunes is thoughtfully balanced in this edition against his equally important interests in exploring what could be achieved by travel and what it meant to be a tourist.” —Claire Jowitt, University of East Anglia
“From his famous encounter with a Venetian courtesan to his celebration of the Great Tun of Heidelberg; from the Palace of Fontainbleu to the clock towers of Strasbourg; and whether describing great art treasures or the peculiarities of tavern meals, Coryate is invariably entertaining and informative.… We should be grateful to Philip Palmer, whose judicious selection makes Coryate widely available for general readers, and who provides enough explanation for us to comprehend the work while allowing it to speak for itself.” —Andrew Hadfield, University of Sussex