Walking, Literature, and English Culture is a cultural history of walking in nineteenth-century England, assessing its importance in literature and in culture at large.Engaging with current debates about the relationship between industrialization and cultural production, and between technology and the picturesque, Anne Wallace examines the forces that transformed walking from an unwelcome fact of life to a celebrated activity for mind and
body. Rereading Wordsworth in the context of contemporary changes in transport, agriculture, and aesthetics, she articulates a previously unacknowledged literary mode - peripatetic. Walking and its representation is set in terms of specific historical circumstances, for examples the rise of enclosure,
which Wallace shows is partially undermined by the assertion of footpath rights. Her discussions move from eighteenth-century approaches to peripatetic through its varied uses in Victorian literature, notably in the work of Barrett Browning, Dickens, and Hardy.This is a major contribution to the study of rural English literature (and georgic), in which Anne Wallce demonstrates how a proper understanding of peripatetic significantly enriches our assessment of a text's
relation to its culture.'it provides an excellent survey of literary walkers and walkers in literature, and a most enticing bibliography. It is studded with unusual jewels.' Christina Hardyment, The Independent
`provides an excellent survey of literary walkers and walkers in literature, and a most enticing bibliography. It is studded with unusual jewels.' Christina Hardyment, Independent
'... academic but readable account ...intriguing, never pedestrian.'
The Observer Dec '94
'Dr Wallace has written an excellent book that presses far beyond what might appear to be the limitations of its subject. A history of the representation of walking turns out to be a valuable contribution to wider aspects of the culture of the last three hundred years in England.'
Patrick Swinden, University of Manchester, Notes and Queries, Vol. 41, No. 2, June 1994
'... fine study ... Anne Wallace has found a device which casts an illuminating and integrating light across a familiar landscape. She is well versed in the writings of transport historians, and has much to say to them.'
David Vincent University of Keele Social History Society Bulletin
'It is a complex inquiry embracing a wide range of material relevant to the main literary theme: Professor Wallace's scholarly analysis of walking as a literary mode is not easy reading; but any effort is rewarded by a deeper understanding of Wordsworth and other writers and a fresh perspective on an ordinary human activity.'
The Keswick Reminder
'The most illuminating and attractive part of the book is its substantial introduction, which is written with delight and irony.'
David Punter, University of Stirling, Modern Language Review 25, 1995
`Wallace presents her case for the rise of the peripatetic mode in a richly detailed context, with welcome information about changing conditions of travel, changing attitudes toward walking, the effects of enclosures upon roads and footpaths, and the pedestrian habits of authors...an important contribution to Romantic and Victorian studies.'
`...unique...Sticking to walking, Wallace begins by capturing our attention for this subject. The book starts with a genuinely fascinating chapter on the history of travel in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.'
Studies in English Literature 1500-1900
`Wallace is a talented writer and sensitive reader, whose passion for her subject is matched by her stubborn insistence that literature matters, in some fundamental way, in how we live our lives. Amidst the babbling and squabbling that dominate our critical discourse, hers is an invigourating new voice. ...an admirable book, learned yet unpretentious, passionatley involved in its subject, and written with an attention to the ring and shape of sentences
that has become all too rare. ...this book will become an important point of departure in discussions of English poetry of rural life. For allthis, we are indebted to Anne Wallace.'
European Romantic Review
`If the Victorian authors herein discussed came to the end of the road, literally, walking has remained critical for all of us. Wallace's book helps us to see it as something more than locomotion and cautions us to "read...texts consciously" (249), with the importance and impact of the pedestrian figure in mind.'
`refreshing and stimulating book...This is a lucid, substantial and enjoyable book, pioneering enough to provoke disagreement in many places...can be thoroughly recommended as offering a bold new light on nineteenth-century culture; it is the product of much labour and careful thought, and deserves to be widely read.'
Literature and History 5/1
`unusual but interesting and useful book ...'
Victorian Poetry, vol.32, Autumn Winter 1994