Tramping: The Cult of the Vagabond in Early Twentieth-Century England
The figure of the tramp as a socially unconstrained aesthete occupied a distinctive position in the English cultural imagination of the early twentieth century. The writing of Edward Thomas and W. H. Davies and the painting of Paul Nash, as well as sub-genres of popular literature and journalism such as the rural travelogue, all contributed to the idealisation of the lone male wanderer in leisurely motion through the pre-First World War English landscapes. The figure even gave its name to a literary journal of the period, The Tramp (1910-11). Tracing some of those wanderings, the essay examines representations of tramping in the period, exploring its links to contemporary developments of national and regional representation through pastoral idioms. It also suggests the ways in which this characteristic performance of Edwardian and Georgian otium provides a vehicle for the expression of more contested national-cultural experience, heralding the more overtly political genres of social vagrancy made familiar by George Orwell and others in the 1930s.
Citation : Featherstone, S. (2014) Tramping: The Cult of the Vagabond in Early Twentieth-Century England. In: Monika Fludernik and Miriam Nandy (eds.) Idleness, Indolence and Leisure in English Literature. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 235-251
ISBN : 9781137403995
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Arts