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

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Abstract

Literarytexts aid understanding of individuals’ perspectives on the geographicalmobilities of modernity. Pedestrianism in George Gissing’s The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft (1903) is driven by financialneed, but becomes a means of exploring city experiences. Gissing’s writingcombines an often violent rejection of urban modernity with an extremesensitivity to material details. These include distances and amounts of money.Hurry in Ryecroft, a fictionalizedmemoir, characterizes the youth of the protagonist as seen by him in retrospectfrom a leisured position much later in life. Ryecroft the character’s ownproximity to the end of his life itself puts him in the position of hurryingtowards his grave, a sort of hurry which instead of the details of 1880s Londondraws on reflective classical literature, for example by Horace. This chapterlooks at Ryecroft’s urban mobility through the lens of literary urban studies,asking how literary scholars can best draw on developments in sociology andhuman geography. This detailed exploration of Ryecroft relates it to literary predecessors but also remains closeto the specific topographies of London between 1880 and 1900. The chapterassesses the role of cultural conservatism and reactionary attitudes in modernity,which frequently manifest themselves in a self-contradictory anti-urban stance.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publicationArchitectures of Hurry: Mobilities, Cities and Modernity
EditorsPhillip Gordon Mackintosh, Richard Dennis, Deryck W. Holdsworth
PublisherRoutledge
Pages175–193
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-18960-4
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-72984-1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

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