Wanderlust: a history of walking

Blog follower Ch alerted me to the book Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000, viii, 326pp.).

Wanderlust book cover

Joseph Anthony Amato’s review of the book (Journal of Social History 35.1 (2001) 209-210) claims “This work is not quite a history of walking nor is it a study of Wanderlust. Rather, title notwithstanding, it is essentially a perceptive cultural commentary about what writers, thinkers, protesters, and Solnit herself have made of their walking in the last two centuries.”

In conducting internet searches I found the following quotations from the book (a copy of which I must locate and read):

  • For [Jane Austen and the readers of Pride and Prejudice], as for Mr. Darcy, [Elizabeth Bennett’s] solitary walks express the independence that literally takes the heroine out of the social sphere of the houses and their inhabitants, into a larger, lonelier world where she is free to think: walking articulates both physical and mental freedom.”
  • “A path is a prior interpretation of the best way to traverse a landscape.”
  • “Roads are a record of those who have gone before.”
  • “Many people nowadays live in a series of interiors…disconnected from each other. On foot everything stays connected, for while walking one occupies the spaces between those interiors in the same way one occupies those interiors. One lives in the whole world rather than in interiors built up against it.”
  • “Thinking is generally thought of as doing nothing in a production-oriented society, and doing nothing is hard to do. It’s best done by disguising it as doing something, and the something closest to doing nothing is walking.”

6 thoughts on “Wanderlust: a history of walking

  1. June

    How true – many people now living in a series of interiors – disconnected in all ways. The whole world is available to anyone who is interested and how fortunate that some continue to connect it by their feet and their senses.


    1. Tasmanian traveller Post author

      I feel sure there are some people on this earth who have never been into the country leave alone wilderness, and maybe feel disinclined to walk in city parks because all that green and living things which are not human beings are foreign to them.



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