Monday, September 15, 2014


Going for a Country Walk

Kenneth Clark (1903-1983), Civilisation (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), p. 283:
In the eighteenth century a solitary walker was viewed with almost as much suspicion as he is in Los Angeles today. But the Wordsworths walked continually — De Quincey calculated that by middle age the poet had walked 180,000 miles. Even the unathletic Coleridge walked. They thought nothing of walking sixteen miles after dinner to post a letter. And so, for over a hundred years, going for a country walk was the spiritual as well as the physical exercise of all intellectuals, poets, and philosophers. I am told that in universities the afternoon walk is no longer part of intellectual life. But for a quantity of people walking is still one of the chief escapes from the pressures of the material world, and the countryside where Wordsworth walked, in solitude, is now almost as crowded with pilgrims as Lourdes or Benares.
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