Friday, September 4, 2009

Walking in their Footsteps

Speaking of the Bronte sisters, I just stumbled across an article from the Smithsonian by William Ecenberger entitled "The Full Bronte," about a walking tour dedicated to the Bronte sisters' lives and work.

What makes such a tour interesting goes beyond the opportunity for sightseeing--instead, it is the act of actually walking that makes the tours noteworthy. Ecenberger points out that walking was a popular past time in 18th and 19th-century England:
Indeed, it can be argued that much of 18th- and 19th-century English literature was born afoot. Not only the Bront√ęs, but Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Samuel Coleridge, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Sir Walter Scott, Jane Austen and Thomas Carlyle were all members in good standing of the walkers club. (In fact, previous Wayfarers walks have focused on Hardy, Wordsworth and Scott, and there are plans for an Austen walk.)
Walking can be both stimulating and cathartic, something we seem to have forgotten in our modern era of cars, scooters, and mondo SUVs. I, for example, walk about 20 minutes to work in the morning, a time I use to prep myself for the day. Walking home, I use the exercise and fresh air to wash away my day's worries.

My point is that I would seriously love to go on one of these tours, even if I did end up like Elizabeth Bennet with mud to my knees.

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