Essay about Writing About Glaciers in the Romantic Period

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Glaciers, an integral feature of any mountainous landscape, were the focus of interest, curiosity and admiration for many travelers in the Romantic period, especially those in the Swiss region of Chamounix. During the 18th and 19th century, four of the voyagers who wrote excerpts on the glaciers were Coxe, Bourrit, Ramond and Shelley; these travelers made similar comparisons to each other regarding the nature of glaciers and the emotions evoked upon their viewing.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, there was not a significant amount of scientific information known about the character of glaciers and therefore these travelers would not have had nearly the same exposure to factual information as a visitor in modern times. Even
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The glaciers were very different from picturesque and familiar aspects of the scenery such as lakes and meadows, and the sheer enormity of the glaciers would have rendered it difficult to formulate a description that could be appreciated by anyone who had not ever seen one.

In some instances, words cannot adequately achieve the same meaning, effect and impact that an image conveys; therefore it would have been difficult to achieve a parallel between visual and textual when describing the appearance of the glaciers.

In order to familiarize the unfamiliar, some viewers sought to compare the appearance of a glacier to something more familiar in order to gain a better understanding (a view simultaneously explored in presentation by Anne, Khagan and Luke). For example, Bourrit describes Mount Blanc as an obelisk and then further along in his passage characterizes the Bossons Glacier as similar to "a prodigious citadel built with strong towers;" Ramond offers

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