Panorama of Social Life

Public Lecture Series „Urban and Elegant: The Aesthetics of Living in the Modern European City“

Thursday, 6 July 2017

German Historical Institute, 17 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NJdhi_logo
Seminar Room, 1st Floor
6:30 pm – 8 pm

Free admission

Professor Annegret Pelz
University of Vienna

Diary, Scrapbook, Panorama of Social Life.

Prince Hermann von Pueckler-Muskau‘s „Pictorial Souvenirs“ from England

The talk focuses on the most fashionable German nobleman and writer of widely appreciated books on landscape gardening and traveling: Prince Hermann von Pueckler-Muskau. After having travelled through England in 1826-1829, Pueckler-Muskau published his observations on the fashionable world and social life in a four-volume work entitled “Briefe eines Verstorbenen“ (1830–1831). The animated and witty book was very soon translated into English by Sarah Austin and appeared on the book market as “Tour of a German Prince” (1831-1832).

A lesser-known fact is that the Prince kept journals during his travels: four leather-bound folio volumes with notes on prints, portraits and caricatures, which he collected while traveling. Little attention has been paid to these “scrapbooks”, or more precisely, albums, in which he documented and reflected on his travels. This talk considers the relationship between these travel albums and Pueckler’s literary work. It sketches the social and cultural background of Pueckler’s travels and highlights the transition from private journal to public book series, from pictorial souvenirs to literary text.

This talk is a part of the Public Lecture Series “Urban and Elegant: The Aesthetics of Living in the Modern European City” given by leading academics, which provides an overview of the European landscape of the so-called ‘elegant world’ to a broad audience and discusses specific media, spaces, and cultural practices of European urban elites and their lifestyle in the 19th Century.

The Public Lecture Series “Urban and Elegant” is organised and chaired by Dr Anna Ananieva, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.

The talk will be followed by a Q&A session and a wine reception.

Annegret Pelz is Professor of German Literature at the University of Vienna and currently Head of the Research Platform “Mobile Cultures and Societies. Interdisciplinary Studies on Transnational Formations.” She has published widely on women’s writing, travel writing and travel literature, on portable media and mixed-media collection formats such as the album and the notebook.


Annegret Pelz is the author of three monographs and editor of seven volumes, among them Beobachung aufzeichnen (2016); Album. Organisationsform narrativer Kohärenz (2013);  Reisen durch die eigene Fremde. Reiseliteratur von Frauen als autogeographische Schriften (1993).


Please book your free ticket here, as this would help us to plan for the wine reception.

Go to the previous event in the series


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 655429.