Robin Jarvis Quotes

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moderate social deviance or class non-conformism I have imputed to the first generation of pedestrians. Improved roads, after all, were one of the principal means by which the country was building a national communications network that would underpin the huge commercial and industrial expansion of the nineteenth century; changing the landscape of the country to produce the arterial interconnection of the modern state in place of a geography of more or less self-enclosed local communities; consolidating the administrative structures of the state and facilitating political hegemony over a rapidly growing and potentially unstable population; and promulgating a 'national' culture in the face of regional diversity and independence. With the main roads such powerful instruments of change, the walker's decision to exploit his freedom to resist the imperative of destination and explore instead by lanes, by-roads and fieldpaths, could well be interpreted as an act of denial, flight or dissent vis-a-vis the forces that were ineradicably transforming British society.

-Robin Jarvis


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Related Quotes
I shall let [Anne] Wallace put the case herself, at what I think is necessary length: 'As travel in general becomes physically easier, faster, and less expensive, more people want and are able to arrive at more destinations with less unpleasant awareness of their travel process. At the same time the availability of an increasing range of options in conveyance, speed, price, and so forth actually encouraged comparisons of these different modes... and so an increasingly positive awareness of process that even permitted semi-nostalgic glances back at the bad old days... Then, too, although local insularity was more and more threatened... people also quite literally became more accustomed to travel and travellers, less fearful of 'foreign' ways, so that they gradually became able to regard travel as an acceptable recreation. Finally, as speeds increased and costs decreased, it simply ceased to be true that the mass of people were confined to that circle of a day's walk: they could afford both the time and the money to travel by various means and for purely recreational purposes... And as walking became a matter of choice, it became a possible positive choice: since the common person need not necessarily be poor. Thus, as awareness of process became regarded as advantageous, 'economic necessity' became only one possible reading (although still sometimes a correct one) in a field of peripatetic meanings that included 'aesthetic choice'.' It sounds a persuasive case. It is certainly possible that something like the shift in consciousness that Wallace describes may have taken place by the 'end' (as conventionally conceived) of the Romantic period, and influenced the spread of pedestrianism in the 1820s and 1830s; even more likely that such a shift was instrumental in shaping the attitudes of Victorian writing in the railway age, and helped generate the apostolic fervour with which writers like Leslie Stephen and Robert Louis Stevenson treated the walking tour. But it fails to account for the rise of pedestrianism as I have narrated it.

Robin Jarvis
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