Edward Thomas as a Travel Book Writer
Grzegorz MorozUniversity of Białystok, Poland
Grzegorz Moroz. In 1984 at Warsaw University he defended his M.A. thesis entitled The Catholic Novels of Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene which had been written under the supervision of dr Jacek Wiśniewski, who later agreed to be the supervisor of Grzegorz Moroz’s Ph.D. dissertation. It was entitled When the Going Was Good and Fees Handsome: Travel Books of Evelyn Waugh and was defended at Warsaw University in 1993. Currently, Grzegorz Moroz is a full professor of English at the University of Białystok; his main areas of research include Anglophone and Polish travel writing and British ‘reluctant modernists’.
The aim of this paper is to examine Edward Thomas’s literary representations of his walks and bicycle rides from the perspective of the development of the genre of the travel book in Britain. The paper provides a brief outline of the history of the synergy and friction of travel books with the genres of the novel and the autobiography, and the ways in which the developing naturalist and pedestrian discourses influenced travel books and travel accounts. A key argument constructed and developed in the second part of the paper is that the combination of Thomas’s dissatisfaction with the loose collage-like nebulousness of his early travel accounts from Beautiful Wales (1905) to The South Country (1909) and his wide knowledge of 19th-century British travel writers resulted in two ‘conventional’ travel books The Icknield Way (1913) and In Pursuit of Spring (1914), in which Thomas relied on such standard generic features as the diary format and the central role of the narrative persona.
Keywords:Edward Thomas, Robert Macfarlane, travel books, travel writing, nature writing, pedestrianism
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