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89 - Transport

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 July 2019

Gary Totten
Affiliation:
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and editor of the journal
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Summary

Usages of the term ‘transport’ that align with travel appeared in English in 1483 as a verb meaning to ‘carry, convey, or remove from one place or person to another’, and in 1694 as a ‘means of transportation or conveyance’ (Oxford English Dictionary). Michael Kowalewski (1992b, 3) notes that various forms of transport such as ‘railroads, automobiles, and airplanes have all placed new demands on travellers’ eyes, nerves, and viscera’, emphasizing, as Wolfgang Schivelbusch (1986) argues in his study of railroad travel, how new modes of transportation influence us mentally, emotionally and socially. Travellers’ experience of different forms of transport changed as they became more familiar, meaning, as Kowalewski (1992b, 3) points out, that they can also become routine. In the early days of the automobile, while first-time drivers were too consumed with navigating the road to notice anything else, Kris Lackey (1997, 70) notes that those drivers who have the luxury of being chauffeured noticed more of the passing scene. Theodore Dreiser (1997, 25) provides a compelling example of the mental effects of such a chauffeured experience when he asserts in 1916 that automobiling ‘supplies just that mixture of change in fixity which satisfies me – leaves me mentally poised in inquiry’.

The rise of travel by rail and ship in the nineteenth century greatly facilitated travel and tourism, and the experience of travelling with others on a train or ocean liner eventually gave way to the more individualistic experience of travel in a car or motorcycle. The slow, reflective experience of a transatlantic voyage also contrasts with the experience of shooting the car through ravines and across hills, as in Dreiser's (1997, 475–76) effusive description of travel in Indiana's picturesque mountain regions. These developments in forms of transport were not just linked to the rise of tourism, however, for, as Helen Carr (2002, 70) reminds us, ‘[i] mprovements in transport were fanned by, and helped to fan, the empire building, trade expansion and mass migrations of the late nineteenth century’.

Women travellers also document the effects of different forms of transport. Anne Morrow Lindbergh's aviation narrative North to the Orient (1935) reveals her understanding, as Halia Koo (2003, 32) observes, that airplane travel represents ‘a new way of seeing the world’ and that female pilots, in particular, are unique representatives of this new mode of transport.

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Chapter
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Keywords for Travel Writing Studies
A Critical Glossary
, pp. 262 - 264
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2019

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