A Voyage Around My Room

I’m sure I’m not the only person who thought, just now, of the small genre of stories of being cooped up. There are several I have encountered over the years, including “Voyage Around My Room” of Xavier de Maistre, written in 1790, while he was house arrest in Turin. Nice Guardian article here, and the opening of the book below. You can read the whole thing on various public domain sites.

What is more glorious than to open for one’s self a new career, — to appear suddenly before the learned world with a book of discoveries in one’s hand, like an unlooked for comet blazing in the  empyrean! No longer will I keep my book in obscurity. Behold it, gentlemen; read it! I have undertaken and performed a forty- two days’ journey round my room. The interesting observations I have made, and the constant pleasure I have experienced all along the road, made me wish to publish my travels; the certainty of being useful decided the matter. And when I think of the number of unhappy ones to whom I offer a never-failing resource for weary moments, and a balm for the ills they suffer, my heart is filled with inexpressible satisfaction. The pleasure to be found in travelling round one’s room is sheltered from the restless jealousy of men, and is independent of Fortune.

The opening of Voyage autour de ma chambre
A rather fancier room than I am traveling around. “Drawing Room of the Plas. Spa” by Julien Muère, and in the Met collection.

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