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Sublime Transport: Ruskin, Travel and the Art of Speed.

Garratt, Peter



Brian Murray

Mary Henes


Towards the end of George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, Tom Tulliver’s uncle Mr Deane observes that the defining quality of modern life is its speed. Life, he tells Tom, ‘goes on at a smarter pace’ than a generation before, accelerated by the effects of ‘steam’.1 Reclining after an intake of snuff (a gesture poised curiously between idle recreation and stimulation), he warms to his theme: Why, sir, forty years ago, when I was much such a strapping youngster as you, a man expected to pull between the shafts the best part of his life, before he got the whip in his hand. The looms went slowish, and fashions didn’t alter quite so fast —I’d a best suit that lasted me six years. Everything was on a lower scale, sir —in point of expenditure, I mean. It’s this steam, you see, that has made the difference —it drives on every wheel double pace and the wheel of Fortune along with ‘em … I don’t find fault with the change, as some people do.2


Garratt, P. (2015). Sublime Transport: Ruskin, Travel and the Art of Speed. In B. Murray, & M. Henes (Eds.), Travel Writing, Visual Culture and Form, 1760-1900 (194-212). Palgrave Macmillan.

Acceptance Date Nov 30, 2013
Online Publication Date Nov 9, 2015
Publication Date 2015-11
Deposit Date Jan 10, 2013
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Pages 194-212
Series Title Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture
Book Title Travel Writing, Visual Culture and Form, 1760-1900.
Chapter Number 10
ISBN 9781137543387