This unusual little book on the philosophy of travel was a 2002 impulse buy from my days as a Harvard Coop trade book supervisor. I almost never read hardcovers (excluding picture books, of course), but this one’s jacketless nature and understated faux gold embossment appealed to me. I read somewhere recently that this type of cover will soon be much more prevalent, which I heartily endorse.
The Art of Travel is quasi scholarly in nature, generously illustrated in black and white, and well-suited for former French majors, as much of the text discusses oft-studied authors including Huysmans, Baudelaire, and Flaubert. My favorite chapter, On Eye-Opening Art, offers in-depth treatment of Vincent Van Gogh’s time in Provence and its profound influence on his painting techniques. I also enjoyed pondering de Botton’s views on the importance of discovering the sublime in nature. If you’ve read either How Proust Can Change Your Life or The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, please let me know if you recommend them. Thanks!