Perspectives on the road: narratives of motoring in Britain

Coulbert, E.A., 2013. Perspectives on the road: narratives of motoring in Britain. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.


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This thesis is a study of the travel writing inspired by automobile journeys in Britain in the period 1896 to 1930 and the new modes of subjectivity afforded by the motor car. In permitting greater access to the countryside away from railway stations, motorists were able to gain fresh perspectives on the landscape. Their journeys in the countryside invited them to ‘rediscover’ England and shape new versions of national identity based on a revival of pre-industrial pastoral idylls. This model of Englishness was directly influenced by car travel, particularly ideas of getting ‘off the beaten track’. A comparative study of the travelogues of American writers visiting Britain looks at their search for a shared heritage and the contrasting vision of England that they convey. The different experience of automotive travel and freedom to use the car as described by female writers in the period is also explored in two case studies. Many of the texts analysed in this work have never been discussed in scholarly studies and so this thesis aims to apply new material to the catalogue of home tour narratives, and to shed new light on the early years of automobile travel. This thesis also explores the car’s relationship to modernity in the narratives and concerns about the impact of motorised tourism on the landscape. By weaving together different theoretical concepts from travel writing, such as notions of the tourist and traveller, with historical studies of the car’s cultural impact in Britain, this work aims to establish the travelogues featured as a distinct sub-genre of travel writing studies.

Item Type: Thesis
Description: This thesis benefits from an Arts and Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Award, established by Nottingham Trent University in conjunction with the Coventry Transport Museum. The museum has supported this project by granting unrestricted access to its archives and records for the purposes of research. Some of the research gathered for this thesis has also featured in exhibitions at the museum and at the Coventry Festival of Motoring.
Creators: Coulbert, E.A.
Date: 2013
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed in the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 09:34
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2015 09:34

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