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Walking and the French Romantics

Rousseau to Sand and Hugo

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Christopher W. Thompson

Walking and the French Romantics explores for the first time the relationship between walking and Romanticism in France. It maps this relationship as theme and practice, no social history of pedestrian tours in nineteenth-century France having been written. In this connection, the legacy of Rousseau and Senancour proves stronger than has been recognized, in spite of the pull of Paris and its legendary urban flâneurs. The author brings out the role of painters and of figures like Nodier, Didier and Dumas in encouraging writers to go (or imagine themselves) on the road and shows how and why pedestrian touring became popular with authors in the late 1830s. He discusses the impact of this fashion on major Romantic writers such as Nerval, Sand and Hugo. Finally he describes how walking lost its particular cultural connection with Romanticism in the 1840s.
Contents: Walking and Romanticism in France – Social experience and literary creation – Analysis of the theme of walking in the works of Rousseau, Senancour, Nodier, Didier, Sand, Nerval, Hugo, and Töpffer.