Ce qui commence à Calais : l’Europe, terrain de jeu de Ruskin
The account, in verse, of the Ruskin family’s first tour on the Continent, in 1833, opens with an evocation of Calais. This is only the first of a rather long series of passages expressing Ruskin’s singular interest in Calais. What is intriguing is that Calais, in Ruskin’s imaginary geography, is the place where one turns one’s back on familiar England to enter continental Europe, where everything is to be discovered, the place where, in a true art of travelling, a shift of the gaze begins. At the same time, it is the starting point of what Ruskin will call, at the other end of his work, The Old Road.
Keywords: “Grand contexte” • Comparatism • Imaginary geography • Calais’ experience • Disorientation • Europe awareness