Pedestrianism, Money and Time: Mobilities of Hurry in George Gissing's 'The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft'

A3 Book section, Chapters in research books

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Jason Finch
Editors: Phillip Gordon Mackintosh, Richard Dennis and Deryck W. Holdsworth
Place: London and New York
Publication year: 2018
Publisher: Routledge
Book title: Architectures of Hurry: Mobilities, Cities and Modernity
Title of series: Routledge Research in Historical Geography
Start page: 175
End page: 193
ISBN: 978-1-138-72984-1
eISBN: 978-1-315-18960-4


texts aid understanding of individuals’ perspectives on the geographical
mobilities of modernity. Pedestrianism in George Gissing’s The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft (1903) is driven by financial
need, but becomes a means of exploring city experiences. Gissing’s writing
combines an often violent rejection of urban modernity with an extreme
sensitivity to material details. These include distances and amounts of money.
Hurry in Ryecroft, a fictionalized
memoir, characterizes the youth of the protagonist as seen by him in retrospect
from a leisured position much later in life. Ryecroft the character’s own
proximity to the end of his life itself puts him in the position of hurrying
towards his grave, a sort of hurry which instead of the details of 1880s London
draws on reflective classical literature, for example by Horace. This chapter
looks at Ryecroft’s urban mobility through the lens of literary urban studies,
asking how literary scholars can best draw on developments in sociology and
human geography. This detailed exploration of Ryecroft relates it to literary predecessors but also remains close
to the specific topographies of London between 1880 and 1900. The chapter
assesses the role of cultural conservatism and reactionary attitudes in modernity,
which frequently manifest themselves in a self-contradictory anti-urban stance.


Last updated on 2020-09-04 at 08:28