“…the mountains that with clouds are crowned…”. Following Łucja Rautenstrauch née Giedroyć’s Alpine journey
The article describes an 1844 romantic trip through the Alps by the Polish writer Łucja Rautenstrauch from the princely family of Giedroyć (1798–1886), an account of which was later included in the memoirs In the Alps and beyond the Alps (1847). The author has established the route followed by the traveller: from Grenoble through the Chartreuse Mountains to La Grande Chartreuse, and from there to Geneva, Coppet and Ferney, then back to Montmélian from the Simplon Pass and through the Great St Bernard Pass, Maurienne Valley and Mont Cenis Pass to Turin. He demonstrates that Łucja Rautenstrauch often followed routes marked by famous events and distinguished people, choosing sites associated with such figures as Napoleon I, Voltaire, de Staël and Rousseau or with well-known literary works (The New Heloise, The Prisoner of Chillon). In her memoirs Rautenstrauch described the conditions and ways of travelling, local inhabitants (highlanders but also midgets, people affected by cretinism, a congenital disease) as well as Alpine nature. She paid particular attention to views of streams and rivers, precipices, ruins, sunsets, valleys, mountain passes and Mont Blanc, stressing, first of all, the wildness and danger of the mountains. In the Alps and beyond the Alps is thus an expression of the Romantic vogue for travelling, presenting an original image of the Alps in Polish literature – an image presented from the point of view of a woman.