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'The Travelling Carriage in Old Times': John Ruskin and the Lakes Tour in the Age of William IV

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/06/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Yearbook of English Studies
Volume48
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)101-123
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article focuses on John Ruskin’s early writings about the English Lake District, and it considers the way these writings portray both his family’s tours of the region and the conditions of Lakeland tourism in the age of William IV. Building on these considerations, the article then examines the relation of these coaching holidays to Ruskin’s advocacy of coach travel as a more morally and aesthetically sound mode of transportation than the railway. Ruskin’s thinking in these matters, the article contends, was informed by much more than sentimentalism. Rather, his thinking was guided by his association of coach travel with specific aesthetic and moral virtues: with the ability to perceive the beauty of natural forms and the freedom to cultivate that ability through the unhurried study and admiration of the natural world. In highlighting Ruskin’s promotion of these virtues, the article demonstrates how they contribute to an ethics of travel that underpins the reflections on travelling found throughout his works.

The article appears as part of volume focussed on Writing in the Age of William IV, edited by Maureen McCue, Rebecca Butler and Anne-Marie Millim.