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William Wordsworth and Modern TravelRailways, Motorcars and the Lake District, 1830-1940$
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Saeko Yoshikawa

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621181

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621181.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

The Railway Controversy in Wordsworth’s Lake District

The Railway Controversy in Wordsworth’s Lake District

(p.61) Chapter Two The Railway Controversy in Wordsworth’s Lake District
William Wordsworth and Modern Travel

Saeko Yoshikawa

Liverpool University Press

Chapter 2 explores how Wordsworth’s anti-railway arguments were variously redeployed by the Victorian conservationists, such as John Ruskin, Hardwick Drummond Rawnsley, and Gordon Wordsworth, all of whom campaigned against multiple railway projects in the Lake District. As the railway proposals became the subject of nationwide discussion, the question arose as to whose property the Lake District was, and who could claim a right to decide what to do with it: ‘stakeholders’ included local residents, farmers, aesthetic elites, and working-class tourists. Opponents of railways argued that the area’s aesthetic and literary value, and its Wordsworthian associations, were of national interest and also vital to local economic growth. Railway construction was thus debated, even by the anti-railway lobby, in terms of economics rather than what would now be termed environmental concerns. This chapter reveals how the railway controversy was an explosive mixture of aesthetics and class-struggle, democracy and populism, tourism and industrialization, commercialism, local economy and national heritage, and, lastly, an emergent environmental consciousness.

Keywords:   railway controversies, working-class tourists, John Ruskin, Hardwick Drummond Rawnsley, Gordon Wordsworth, local economy, national heritage, class-struggle

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