Songlines: Ruskin and the Roads of Europe
Ruskin’s Europe can be understood as a network of roads, physical and imaginary, which interconnect in a single vital configuration. Ruskin saw this as a distinct terroir, a cultural and spatial ecosystem created over millennia. What he termed the ‘Old Road’ is an attempt to unify the topographical and historical discovery of physical journeying to a conceptual road of intellectual reflection and the imagination. Ruskin used, but lamented, the railways just as we use, but lament, the internet. These powerful tools come at a price, fore shortening encounter, memory and time. Ruskin fought to defend Europe’s old road as one we are in danger of forgetting and which he called on us to reclaim.
Keywords: Old Road • Ruskin • Roads • Tourism • Travel • Europe