By Robin Jarvis (auth.)
Romantic Writing and Pedestrian shuttle is an exploration of the connection among jogging and writing. Robin Jarvis the following reconstructs the scene of jogging, either in Britain and at the Continent, within the 1790s, and analyses the mentality and reasons of the early pedestrian tourist. He then discusses the influence of this cultural revolution at the creativity of significant Romantic writers, focusing in particular on William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Coleridge, Clare, Keats, Hazlitt and Hunt. In readings which interact present debates round literature and commute, panorama aesthetics, ecocriticism, the poetics of gender, and the materiality of Romantic discourse, Jarvis demonstrates how jogging grew to become not just a robust technique of self-enfranchisement but additionally the point of interest of stressed textual energies.
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11 These are men whose 'mobile' political sympathies might well be seen as finding satisfactory displaced expression in the rigours of pedestrian motion. Coleridge and Hucks present a better-documented case of radical walking. Their walking tour took them from Cambridge to North Wales via Oxford, where Coleridge first hatched with Robert Southey the plan for an emigrant communitarian Utopia he called Pantisocracy. Though Hucks was not to be one of the original Pantisocrats, it is likely that he was caught up in Coleridge's visionary fervour, which undoubtedly sharpened the political edge of the whole tour.
Given the mistrust, intolerance and discrimination that awaited pedestrian travellers in the 1780s and 1790s, and the number of years it would take to destigmatise an activity later to be practised with religious fervour by the Victorian middle classes, how can one explain the choice of that first generation to travel in this way, involving themselves in difficulties and discomforts and endangering their social standing? What drove them to want to see their country, or foreign countries, in a way that their parents and grandparents would not have contemplated?
Freedom, finally, from a culturally defined and circumscribed self. This promise was implicit in what Leed nicely calls the 'indeterminacies of mobility', which the pedestrian traveller enjoys to a greater extent than any other. It is a point that provides a convenient bridge to my next chapter. 2 An Anatomy of the Pedestrian Traveller When the many pedestrian tourists introduced in Chapter 1 thought it proper in their written accounts to justify their mode of travel, their defence was invariably conducted in terms of the more complete freedom of movement permitted to the pedestrian.