In the recent More Intelligent Life, a panel of writers take a stab at answering the question; if you could travel back in time, what would be your destination?
Eras and periods romanticized by those that were not fortunate enough to live through them. Including, London in the 1690s, pre-revolutionary Russia, or the Japanese Heian era. For those writers it’s about lifestyle, ideas, peoples, cultures and to witness something we can only read about.
I am reminded of Woody Allen’s last film Midnight in Paris — a life different from your own will always seem better. Owen Wilson’s character laments:
“I was trying to escape my present the same way you’re trying to escape yours. To a golden age… Look at these guys, to them their golden age was the renaissance. They’d trade belle Époque to be painting alongside Michelangelo. And those guys probably imagined life was a lot better when Kubla Khan was around. I’m having an insight now… it’s a minor one…”
Leading on to the realisation that in the 1920s (the era that he has inexplicably time travelled back to) they have no antibiotics.