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Walking to Write

Following Patrick Leigh Fermor across Europe

David Wills

In 1933, Patrick Leigh Fermor set out to walk from Holland to Istanbul. The accounts of his journey published during his lifetime are regarded as classics of twentieth century travel literature. Since Fermor’s death in 2011, renewed interest in all aspects of his long life has included two tribute walks across Europe. Both published in 2014, Jeremy Cameron’s Never Again and Nick Hunt’s Walking the Woods and Water consider the continuities as well as changes which are apparent in Europe since Fermor’s day. In paying homage to Fermor’s physical and literary journey, these narratives demonstrate how engaging with a travel writer’s legacy can produce different outcomes.

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Walking with the Goat-God

Gothic Ecology in Algernon Blackwood’s Pan’s Garden: A Volume of Nature Stories

Michelle Poland

In order to understand Earth’s increasingly unpredictable climate, we must accept natural chaos and anthropogenic disturbance as a key component of our ecological and social future. Just as Heidi C.M. Scott’s Chaos and Cosmos (2014) powerfully demonstrates that a postmodern view of chaotic nature is shown to have been harbouring Romantic and Victorian literary foundations, this article further suggests that chaos ecology also has its roots in the Gothic. Drawing on Algernon Blackwood’s collection Pan’s Garden: A Volume of Nature Stories (1912), it tentatively begins to unearth some of the ways in which ‘walking with Pan’ could be anticipatory of ecological concepts recognised today. By rereading transcendental Pan from the context of a ‘Gothic ecology’, it explores how Blackwood transforms nature into a supernaturally powerful, inviting and terrifying character. In doing so, it becomes clear that disturbing Pan’s garden may have far greater consequences for Blackwood’s human wayfarers than for nature itself.

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Steven Lovatt

This article considers the writing of Dorothy Edwards (1903–1934). The uniquely strange narrative worlds of Edwards’ fictions have hitherto evaded systematic and coherent analysis. The article considers evidence from Edwards’ letters and from her works Rhapsody (1927) and Winter Sonata (1928) in order to suggest that the storyworlds are fundamentally conditioned, on the levels of both theme and narration, by Edwards’ experiences as a sufferer from depression. The article concludes with a consideration of the centrality of walking as an activity that has the potential to maintain both the existence of the storyworlds and also the mental health of both characters and author.

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Tom Hall and Robin Smith

This article considers welfare and the city and the ways in which pedestrian practices combine in the management and production of urban need and vulnerability as manifest in the experience and supervision of urban homelessness. The article combines writings on urban maintenance and repair with recent anthropological work on wayfaring (in which cities seldom figure). Fieldwork undertaken with rough sleepers, welfare workers and city managers in the city of Cardiff , Wales, provides the empirical basis. The main body of the article is organized around three walks through the centre of Cardiff with individuals variously implicated in care, repair and welfare in the city. In closing we assert the importance of a politics of street welfare in city space.

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Nigel Rapport

This article is an interweaving of three strands: an account by Imre Kertesz of his experiences in Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War, which he published as the novel, Fateless; an account of a walking tour in Suffolk that the German Anglophile, W. G. Sebald, published as the travelogue, The Rings of Saturn; and my own account of visiting the Auschwitz memorial site, which has been constructed on the edge of the Polish city still bearing the same name. Linking the three strands is the issue of the phenomenology of walking: the consciousness that is capacitated by this activity and the accompanying power to interpret one's life and surroundings in imaginative ways. Kertesz would walk the Nazi lager without stopping for death; Sebald would walk the Suffolk landscape without admitting the passage of time; I would walk Auschwitz without falling victim to the systemic constructions of others. For all, the physical activity is linked to becoming conscious of certain symbolic patterns in time and space. Walking, this article concludes, entails both a phenomenological objectivity, which may be appreciated by virtue of a common human embodiment, and a phenomenological subjectivity: an individual consciousness engaging in imaginative projects of disembodiment and otherness.

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Walking Without Purpose

Sensations of History and Memory in Nagasaki City Rupert Cox

Rupert Cox

This article engages with two well-known episodes in Nagasaki's history by examining the everyday relationships between the discursive space of museums and the embodied space of walking. It is an examination of the exhibitive strategies and image conventions of sixteenth-century painted screens, namban byôbu, which depict the contact between Iberian visitors and city residents, and photographs of the trauma inflicted on victims of the atomic bombing of 1946. These two images collide in the presentation of the city to tourists, and I examine the ways that a new program of guided walks creates the opportunity for participants to experience commonplace sounds as the ephemeral residue of history. These sensations are made possible by the peripatetic routes that the guides, being long-term residents of the areas, create out of their own experiences.

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Julie Sanders

There is much current interest in walking as a social and physiological practice in disciplines from literature to geography, from anthropology to performance studies. 'Walking Studies' impact Shakespearean scholarship and in particular work relating to Shakespeare-freighted sites such as Stratford-upon-Avon, where the loaded discourses of tourism and personal encounter are predominant in the practical experience of visitors. This article asks what it might mean, either for the individual or the collective, to 'walk with Shakespeare' and whether the 'Shakespeare' that we locate in these experiences is always already a construct, fashioned to feed the demands of a national economy and the gross national product by drawing millions of visitors to an otherwise fairly nondescript Midlands market town. It explores the possibility that walking with 'Shakespeare' may mean walking with an available icon but not with the complex textual, performative, and historical Shakespeares at the heart of academic scholarship.

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‘Off Path, Counter Path'

Contemporary Walking Collaborations in Landscape, Art and Poetry

Harriet Tarlo and Judith Tucker

This is a jointly authored practice-led article by a poet and artist who have produced place-based work based on slow-walking practices for exhibition and publication since 2011. It is developed out of close reading of our own work, our key consideration being whether and how collaborative walking and art together might be conceived of as counter-cultural. We consider our walking inheritance, from the Romantics, via Thoreau to mid-century painters and poets and contemporary ecocritical theorists including Doreen Massey, Yi-fu Tuan, Deirdre Heddon and Richard Kerridge. We trace changes in theoretical and artistic approaches to walking, perception and making art together. We reference other contemporary poet and artist pairings including Frances Presley and Irma Irsara and Thomas A. Clark and Laurie Clark. Finally, we consider how walking and working collaboratively in different artistic media might produce work that challenges and affects viewers in gallery and book spaces.

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“Two Wheels Bad”?

The Status of Cycling in the Youth Hostels Association of England and Wales in the 1930s

Michael Cunningham

The Youth Hostels Association (YHA) was founded to provide cheap accommodation for rural holidays. It catered to both walkers and cyclists. However, many perceived the organization as one that favored walkers and considered walking to be a superior form of travel. This perception is examined through the study of four areas; the dispositions and statements of leading figures, the literature of the YHA, the press response to its formation, and the policy interventions of the YHA. Despite this, the YHA had close institutional links with cycling organizations and many cyclists among its members. This article traces the YHA’s relationship with walkers and cyclists and, despite occasional tensions, shows that the two groups could be accommodated within the organization.

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Along the Lines of the Occupation

Playing at Diminished Reality in East Jerusalem

Fabio Cristiano and Emilio Distretti

Augmented reality enables video game experiences that are increasingly immersive. For its focus on walking and exploration, Niantic’s location-based video game Pokémon Go (PG) has been praised for allowing players to foster their understanding and relationship to surrounding spaces. However, in contexts where space and movement are objects of conflicting narratives and restrictive policies on mobility, playing relies on the creation of partial imaginaries and limits to the exploratory experience. Departing from avant-garde conceptualizations of walking, this article explores the imaginary that PG creates in occupied East Jerusalem. Based on observations collected in various gaming sessions along the Green Line, it analyzes how PG’s virtual representation of Jerusalem legitimizes a status quo of separation and segregation. In so doing, this article argues that, instead of enabling an experience of augmented reality for its users, playing PG in East Jerusalem produces a diminished one.