Art de voyager utilement (L') in Profitables curiosités

Title Art de voyager utilement (L')
in Profitables curiosités inouïes (Les)
Date 1650
Place Paris
Publisher Henry Le Gras - Jacques Le Gras
Type Treatise
Physical Description 6 parties in 1 vol. ; in-4 Features: Le projet du plan de la création du monde. 1650 ; La conduite du courtisan. 1646 ; L'art de voyager utilement. 1650 ; Le parfaict intendant. 1650 ; Le triomphe des dames. 1646 ; La science des sages. 1646
Language French
Content Advice on educational benefits of travel
General discussion of the utility of travel
General practical instructions for travels
Moral considerations of travel
NotesVery little is known of Gerzan, author of this dissertation on travels, published in a collection of writings.

The text is centered around the notion of 'prudentia', which is a defining element of the apodemic tradition since Justus Lipsius. However, Gerzan's understanding of this notion is slightly different. Maybe because the text was written during the upheaval of the Fronde, when French royal power is in crisis, it does not consider the usefulness of travel from the point of view of the state - the focus is on prudentia for the self.

Another difference from Lipsius and other apodemic classics is the mythological reference used. Instead of the well-rehearsed comparison with Ulysses, Gerzan compares the traveller to Hercules, fighting monsters - and the monsters are our inner vice and weaknesses.

Travelling even has a religious dimension for him: ‘It is true that the more we see other countries, the more we acquire knowledge, and thus the closer we get to God who knows and sees all things’ (12). A similar image of the traveller getting close to God's all-encompassing gaze features in Pecquet's 'L'esprit des maximes'.

Gallica digitized version shows Z93-1684

Master Copy: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris Z-8162

Digital Copy Web Link