Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Sattelmeyer

Second Advisor

Dr. Randy Malamud

Third Advisor

Dr. Pearl McHaney

Abstract

Throughout the nineteenth century, walking for leisure and for spiritual endeavor in America correlated with the rise of literary romanticism. This burgeoning fashion of pedestrian travel, coupled with an impulse to experience the ever expanding nation, spawned a new and enduring subgenre in American letters – the walking text. Many scholars consider Henry David Thoreau and John Muir to be the century’s greatest literary amblers and naturalists; while their catalogs of walking literature are foundational, they are not exclusive. “Beautiful Day. Pleasant Walk: Walking and Landscape in Works of Estwick Evans, John D. Godman, Elizabeth Fries Ellet, and Bradford Torrey” aims to establish the importance of several underappreciated nineteenth century American pedestrians and landscapes. In addition to analyzing the development and importance of walking texts throughout the century, this dissertation also considers the geographies over which the authors traveled. The northern grounds of Ohio’s forgotten Great Black Swamp (Evans) and Philadelphia’s bucolic Wissahickon Creek (Godman), team with the southern worlds of rural Antebellum landscapes (Ellet) and Civil War battlefields (Torrey) to create a compelling map of nineteenth century America. Finally, through first-hand, authorial accounts this study discusses each terrain’s historical contexts as well as their current conditions.

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