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Chemins de fer et vision des paysages anglais

Listed author(s):
  • Charles-François Mathis
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    [fre] L'introduction des chemins de fer en Angleterre dans le premier tiers du XIXe siècle provoque des bouleversements considérables, tant sur le visage offert par le pays, que sur le regard qui est porté sur lui. Une résistance à l'expérience du voyage en train, et particulièrement à la façon dont elle modifie la perception des paysages traversés, est notable. C'est que les chemins de fer remettent en effet en cause les modes de vision du paysage tels qu'ils ont été élaborés par les théories romantiques et pittoresques. Un véritable trauma du regard se produit alors, perceptible dans les nombreux témoignages de l'époque, qui dénoncent un paysage fragmenté, confus, monotone, et au bout du compte trop détaché de celui qui voudrait l'admirer. D'où, sans doute, le reproche de déracinement que ses détracteurs opposent au chemin de fer, qui semble en effet mettre à mal les fondements d'une certaine définition de l'identité anglaise. [eng] When railways were introduced in England, they not only changed the face of the country, but also the ways it was perceived. A great number of contemporaries disliked the new perception of the landscapes offered by the experience of railway journeys, which seemed indeed to shatter the principles of this vision as they were established by picturesque and romantic theories and practices. Railways were thus blamed for offering fragmented, monotonous, whirling landscapes, and for creating a gap between the observer and the object of its admiration. Hence the criticism made by the fiercest opponents of railway travel, who denounced its destruction of a real knowledge of the country by its inhabitants, thus damaging a particular definition of English national identity.

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    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Histoire, économie et société.

    Volume (Year): 24 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 123-146

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    Handle: RePEc:prs:hiseco:hes_0752-5702_2005_num_24_1_2539
    Note: DOI:10.3406/hes.2005.2539
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