• Mapping ‘Wordsworthshire’: A GIS Study of Literary Tourism in Victorian Lakeland

      Donaldson, Christopher; Gregory, Ian; Murrieta-Flores, Patricia; University of Birmingham; Lancaster University; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2015-08-14)
      This article answers the call for scholarship that models the implementation of geographic information systems (GIS) technologies in literary-historical research. In doing so, it creates a step change to the integration of digital methodologies in the humanities. Combining methods and perspectives from cultural history, literary studies, and geographic information sciences, the article confirms, challenges, and extends understanding of Victorian literary tourism in the English Lake District. It engages with the accounts of several nineteenth-century tourists, paying specific attention to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s English Notebooks and Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley’s A Coach Drive at the Lakes, which are examined alongside contemporaneous guidebooks and other commercial tourist publications. In the process, the article draws attention to a spatial correlation between the route of the Ambleside turnpike (the Lake District’s principal coach road) and the major literary sites to which Victorian Lakeland visitors were guided. Recognizing this correlation, we contend, helps to deepen our appreciation of how the physical and imaginative geographies of the Lake District region interrelate. Specifically, it helps us appreciate how the Victorian fascination with the Lakeland’s literary associations was modulated not only by interest in the region’s other attractions, but also by material conditions on the ground.
    • Reading Victorian rags: Recycling, redemption, and Dickens's ragged children

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2014-12-24)
      In Victorian Britain rags were not only associated with the inadequate clothing of the poor, they were also viewed as a valuable commodity, widely collected for recycling into paper. This essay examines rags as simultaneously despised and precious objects, tracing the connections between Victorian accounts of poverty, the industrial recycling of rags into paper, and the redemption narratives created by Charles Dickens about rescued children. A supporter of Ragged Schools and champion of rags recycling, Dickens drew on the idea of the transformation of dirty rags into clean paper in his representations of ragged children. To him, the recycling of rags indicated the civilizing forces of modernity, and reading Dickens's representations of ragged children in this context reveals how cloth recycling became a paradigm for society's duties towards destitute children. This essay explains Dickens's juxtaposition of ragged children with references to rag-dealing in his novels; by this means he suggested that street children, like their ragged clothing, were capable of being purified and transformed into social usefulness.