Sensibilities of Seeing

  • Heidi LiedkeEmail author


Drawing on texts from Victorian periodicals and recent scholarly criticism from the field of cultural studies, Liedke breaks down the concept of seeing, its relation to the travellers’ perception and spatial practice of idling and its role for the re-subjectification of the world. Against the background of the dichotomy of “travellers” versus “tourists” emerging in the Victorian period and the growing influence of the railway, this chapter argues that one can use their respective sensibilities of seeing as a distinguishing criterion between tourist and traveller and develops the idea of idle traveling as a way of seeing, in contrast to tourism as a symbolical form of blindness. Liedke then illustrates how these changes in perception mechanisms brought about an “inward-turn” in the realm of travel and links this to virtual travel as a popular leisure activity in the mid-nineteenth century, exemplified by Dickens’s and Banvard’s panoramic (River) travels.


  1. Aguiar, Marian. 2011. Tracking Modernity: India’s Railway and the Culture of Mobility. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anon. 1838. “Trip on the Clyde and Loch Lomond.” Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal (18 August): 237–38.Google Scholar
  3. Anon. 1862. “Boating.” All the Year Round (9 August): 514–15.Google Scholar
  4. Anon. 1877. “Three Weeks in Rhineland: On the Mosel, the Lahn, and the Neckar.” Leisure Hour (9 June): 364–96.Google Scholar
  5. Banvard, John. 1847. Description of Banvard’s Panorama of the Mississippi River, Painted on Three Miles of Canvas: Exhibiting a View of Country 1200 Miles in Length, Extending from the Mouth of the Mississippi River to the City of New Orleans; Being by Far the Largest Picture Ever Executed by Man. Boston: John Putnam.Google Scholar
  6. Beaumont, Matthew, and Michael Freeman. 2007. “Introduction.” In The Railway and Modernity: Time, Space, and the Machine Ensemble, edited by Matthew Beaumont and Michael Freeman, 13–43. Bern and Berlin: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  7. Benedict, A. 1873. “Boating at Home and Abroad.” Leisure Hour (2 August): 484–88.Google Scholar
  8. Benjamin, Walter. 1968. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” In Illuminations, edited by Hannah Arendt, 217–51. New York: Schocken.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 1982. Das Passagen-Werk: Erster Teil. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1999a. “Paris, the Capital of the Nineteenth Century: Exposé of 1935.” In The Arcades Project, translated by Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin, 3–13. Cambridge and London: Belknap Press. Google Scholar
  11. ———. 1999b. “Paris, the Capital of the Nineteenth Century: Exposé of 1939.” In The Arcades Project, translated by Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin, 14–26. Cambridge and London: Belknap Press.Google Scholar
  12. Bird, Hazel Sheeky. 2014. Class, Leisure and National Identity in British Children’s Literature, 1918–1950. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Boorstin, Daniel. 1987. The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America. New York: Atheneum.Google Scholar
  14. Buzard, James. 1993. The Beaten Track: European Tourism, Literature and the Ways to ‘Culture’, 1800–1918. Oxford: Clarendon.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Byerly, Alison. 2013. Are We There Yet? Virtual Travel and Victorian Realism. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  16. Cardinal, Roger. 1997. “Romantic Travel.” In Rewriting the Self: Histories from the Renaissance to the Present, edited by Roy Porter, 135–55. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Crary, Jonathan. 1990. “Techniques of the Observer.” In Techniques of the Observer. On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century, 97–136. Cambridge and London: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  18. Curtis, Barry, and Claire Pajaczkowska. 1994. “‘Getting There’: Travel, Time and Narrative.” In Travellers’ Tales. Narratives of Home and Displacement, edited by George Robertson, Melinda Mash, Lisa Tickner, Jon Bird, Barry Curtis, and Tim Putnam, 199–215. Futures: New Perspectives for Cultural Analysis. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. “Cycling and Camping.” 1899. Cycling (29 July): 43–44. 19th Century UK Periodicals.Google Scholar
  20. Cynic, A. [Leslie Stephen]. 1869. “Vacations.” The Cornhill Magazine (August): 205–14. 19th Century UK Periodicals.Google Scholar
  21. Dickens, Charles. 1842. American Notes. New York: John W. Lovell.Google Scholar
  22. ———. 1856. “Railway Dreaming.” Household Words 13 (320) (10 May): 385–88.Google Scholar
  23. Dickens, Henry F. 1882. “A Holiday on the Meuse.” All the Year Round (22 July): 16–25.Google Scholar
  24. Duncan, James, and Derek Gregory. 1999. Writes of Passage: Reading Travel Writing. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Elliot, Frances. 1881. The Diary of an Idle Woman in Sicily. London: Bentley & Son.Google Scholar
  26. Evangelista, Stefano. 2009. British Aestheticism and Ancient Greece. Hellenism, Reception, Gods in Exile. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  27. F. A. J. 1874. “Boating at Home and Abroad.” Leisure Hour (7 November): 711–16.Google Scholar
  28. Ferris, Ina. 1999. “Mobile Words: Romantic Travel Writing and Print Anxiety.” Modern Language Quarterly 60 (4): 451–68.Google Scholar
  29. Foucault, Michel. 2000. “Different Spaces.” In Aesthetics, Method and Epistemology, edited by James Faubian, 175–85. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  30. Freeman, Michael J. 1999. Railways and the Victorian Imagination. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Fussell, Paul. 1980. Abroad: British Literary Traveling Between the Wars. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Gagnier, Regenia. 2010a. Individualism, Decadence and Globalization. On the Relationship of Part to Whole, 1859–1920. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  33. ———. 2010b. “The Unclassed and the Non-Christian Roots of Philanthropy.” In Individualism, Decadence and Globalization. On the Relationship of Part to Whole, 1859–1920, 116–35. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  34. Gilbert, Helen. 2002. “Belated Travel: Ecotourism as a Style of Travel Performance.” In In Transit: Travel, Text, Empire, edited by Helen Gilbert and Anna Johnston, 255–74. Travel Writing Across the Disciplines: Theory and Pedagogy. New York et al.: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  35. “gipsy | gypsy, n.”. OED Online. March 2018. Oxford University Press. Accessed April 9, 2018.
  36. “gipsy, v.”. OED Online. March 2018. Oxford University Press. Accessed April 9, 2018.
  37. Harvey, David. 1989. The Condition of Postmodernity. An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change. Oxford and Cambridge: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  38. Hodgkinson, Tom. 2012. “Introduction.” In The Idle Traveller: The Art of Slow Travel, by Dan Kieran, 9–16. Basingstoke: Automobile Association.Google Scholar
  39. Hudson, W. H. 1893. Idle Days in Patagonia. London: Chapman.Google Scholar
  40. Jasen, Patricia. 1993. Review of The Beaten Track: European Tourism, Literature, and the Ways to ‘Culture’ 1800–1918, by James Buzard. Victorian Review 19 (2): 77–79.Google Scholar
  41. Johnston, Judith. 2013. Victorian Women and the Economies of Travel, Translation and Culture, 1830–1870. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  42. Kowalewski, Michael. 1992. “Introduction: The Modern Literature of Travel.” In Temperamental Journeys. Essays on the Modern Literature of Travel, 1–16. Athens and London: University of Georgia Press.Google Scholar
  43. “Leisure.” 1867. Saturday Review (23 March): 360–61. ProQuest.Google Scholar
  44. “Leisure.” 1871. Saturday Review (22 July): 106–7. ProQuest.Google Scholar
  45. Liedke, Heidi. 2015. “‘…and Now Is the Time I Want It.’ Laurence Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey Read as Romantic Ramble Versus Ego Trip.” In Real and Imaginary Travels. 16th–18th Centuries, edited by Anne Bandry-Scubbi and Rémi Vuillemin, 57–67. Strasbourg: PU de Strasbourg.Google Scholar
  46. “Modern Amusements.” 1876. Times (20 June): 3. Times Digital Archive.Google Scholar
  47. Nord, Deborah Epstein. 2006. “Introduction: Children of Hagar.” In Gypsies and the British Imagination, 1807–1930, 1–20. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  48. “The Novel of the Future.” 1891. Speaker (31 January): 126–27. ProQuest.Google Scholar
  49. Otter, Chris. 2008. The Victorian Eye. Chicago: Chicago University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Ousby, Ian. 1990. The Englishman’s England: Taste, Travel and the Rise of Tourism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Pemble, John. 1987. The Mediterranean Passion. Victorians and Edwardians in the South. Clarendon: Oxford.Google Scholar
  52. Pfaffenberger, Bryan. 1983. “Serious Pilgrims and Frivolous Tourists: The Chimera of Tourism in the Pilgrimage of Sri Lanka.” Annals of Tourism Research 10: 57–74. ScienceDirect.Google Scholar
  53. “The Profit of Idleness.” 1863. London Review (3 October): 354–55. ProQuest.Google Scholar
  54. “Rev. of The Traveller’s Oracle.” 1827. Blackwood’s Magazine 22 (131) (October): 445–65. ProQuest.Google Scholar
  55. Schivelbusch, Wolfgang. 1986. The Railway Journey. The Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  56. Shelley, Mary. 1844a. Rambles in Germany and Italy in 1840, 1842, and 1843, vol. 1. London: E. Moxon.Google Scholar
  57. ———. 1844b. Rambles in Germany and Italy in 1840, 1842, and 1843, vol. 2. London: E. Moxon.Google Scholar
  58. Simmel, Georg. 1921. “Sociology of the Senses: Visual Interaction.” In Introduction to the Science of Sociology, edited by Robert E. Park and Ernest W. Burgess, 356–61. Chicago: University Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  59. Stables, Gordon. 1886. “Summer Rambles in My Caravan.” Leisure Hour: 547–51. ProQuest.Google Scholar
  60. Sterne, Laurence. [1768] 2008. A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Thompson, Carl. 2011. Travel Writing. The New Critical Idiom. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  62. Urry, John. 2002. The Tourist Gaze. 2nd ed. Theory, Culture & Society. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  63. Vadillo, Ana Parejo, and John Plunkett. 2007. “The Railway Passenger; or, The Training of the Eye.” In The Railway and Modernity: Time, Space, and the Machine Ensemble, edited by Matthew Beaumont and Michael Freeman, 45–67. Bern and Berlin: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  64. Whymper, Edward. [1871] 1936. Scrambles Amongst the Alps. London: John Murray.Google Scholar
  65. Wordsworth, William. [1798] 1815. “Tintern Abbey.” In Poems by William Wordsworth: Including Lyrical Ballads, and the Miscellaneous Pieces of the Author. With Additional Poems, a New Preface, and a Supplementary Essay. In Two Volumes, vol. 2, 73–80. London: Longman et al.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Koblenz-LandauLandauGermany
  2. 2.Queen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations