Railways and Culture in Britain: The Epitome of Modernity

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Manchester University Press, 2001 - History - 338 pages
The nineteenth-century's steam railway epitomised modernity's relentlessly onrushing advance. In Railways and culture in Britain Ian Carter delves into the cultural impact of train technology, and how this was represented in British society.

Why, for example, did Britain possess no great railway novel? The book's first half tests that assertion by comparing fiction and images by some canonical British figures (Turner, Dickens, Arnold Bennett) with selected French and Russian competitors: Tolstoy, Zola, Monet, Manet.

The second half proposes that if high cultural work on the British steam railway is thin, then this does not mean that all British culture ignored this revolutionary artefact. Detailed discussions of comic fiction, crime fiction and cartoons reveal a popular fascination with railways tumbling from vast (and hitherto unexplored) stores of critically overlooked genres. A final chapter contemplates cultural correlations of the steam railway's eclipse. If this was the epitome of modernity, then does the triumph of diesel and electric trains, of cars and planes, signal a decisive shift to postmodernity?
 

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Railways and culture in Britain: the epitome of modernity

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This intriguing though somewhat esoteric book is part of the "Studies in Popular Culture" series that has, in previous volumes, considered such topics as country music, comic book art, superheroes ... Read full review

Railways and culture in Britain: the epitome of modernity

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This intriguing though somewhat esoteric book is part of the "Studies in Popular Culture" series that has, in previous volumes, considered such topics as country music, comic book art, superheroes ... Read full review

Contents

Rain steam and what?
67
Anna Karenina
100
La Bęte Humaine
117
Crime on the line
167
Crime on the train
202
comic fiction
240
Eric Ravilious William Heath Robinson
261
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About the author (2001)

Ian Carter is Professor of Sociology at the University of Auckland.

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