This volume would not have come about without the support of the British Academy, whose Small Grants scheme allowed us to run two experimental cross- disciplinary workshops focusing on the Welsh and Scottish Tours of Thomas Pennant. The response to these two events, held in Glasgow and Aberystwyth in 2013, was genuinely inspiring: the act of assembling archaeologists, local historians, naturalists, literary critics, art historians and digital cartographers for the workshops brought out the extraordinary variety of Pennant's travel writing. This volume of essays, selected from a range of papers on offer, captures something, though by no means all, of the multivocal nature of these rich and relatively neglected texts. We hope it will go some way towards stimulating interest not only in the life and works of Pennant himself, but in the tour as a literary genre – intellectually rich, often intriguing, sometimes frustrating, but always full of surprises.
Our thanks are due to all who took part in these workshops, whether as speakers or as audience; to the Thomas Pennant Society for their enthusiastic support; to the National Library of Wales for the wonderful venue and for the generous participation of their staff; to the University of Glasgow Library Special Collections; and to the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow. Thanks too are due to Dr Alexander Deans and Dr Angharad Elias for their help in organizing the events, and to Dr Ailsa Hutton for her help with the illustrations. We are also much indebted to Dr Gwen Gruffudd for her painstaking copy- editing of these essays, and to the staff at Anthem Press for their expertise and support. Work on Pennant and the domestic tour continues to develop thanks to the award of a substantial grant from the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which is funding a four- year project entitled ‘Curious Travellers: Thomas Pennant and the Welsh and Scottish Tour, 1760– 1820’. We are extremely grateful to them for having seen the potential in this subject.
The book is dedicated to John Barrell, teacher, colleague and friend, whose brilliant work on landscape, politics and topography underpins so much of what we do: we hope that, in spite of everything, and following in the steps of Edward Pugh of Ruthin, he will come to appreciate the solid virtues of ‘that faithful writer, the late Mr Pennant Esq.’.