William Wordsworth and Modern Travel

BookWilliam Wordsworth and Modern Travel

William Wordsworth and Modern Travel

Railways, Motorcars and the Lake District, 1830-1940

Romantic Reconfigurations: Studies in Literature and Culture 1780-1850, 12


May 7th, 2020



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This book explores Wordsworth’s extraordinary influence on the tourist landscapes of the Lake District throughout the age of railways, motorcars and the First World War. It reveals how Wordsworth’s response to railways was not a straightforward matter of opposition and protest; his ideas were taken up by both advocates and opponents of railways, and through their controversies had a surprising impact on the earliest motorists as they sought a language to describe the liberty and independence of their new mode of transport. Once the age of motoring was underway, the outbreak of the First World War encouraged British people to connect Wordsworth’s patriotic passion with his wish to protect the Lake District as a national heritage – a transition that would have momentous effects in the interwar period, when popular motoring paradoxically brought a vogue for open-air activities and a renewal of romantic pedestrianism. With the arrival of global tourism, preservation of the cultural landscape of the Lake District became an urgent national and international concern. This book explores how patterns of tourist behaviour and environmental awareness changed in the century of popular tourism, examining how Wordsworth’s vision and language shaped modern ideas of travel, self-reliance, landscape and environment, cultural heritage, preservation and accessibility.


Author Information

Saeko Yoshikawa is a professor in the Department of English Studies at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, Japan.