Three Nineteenth-Century British Travellers in Palestine: Walking and the Art of Critique

Mohammad Sakhnini

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In Jerusalem, many Christian, Muslim and Jewish pilgrims, European excavators, writers, local peddlers, and Ottoman soldiers crossed paths despite the different purposes of their walks. This essay examines the travel accounts of three Britons who enjoyed walking in a city whose economic, social and religious life was, in part, sustained by pedestrianism. James Silk Buckingham, Robert Richardson and John Ashworth, toured Jerusalem on foot; and in so doing, they showed how walking was essential to the British modern experience, one fraught with tensions over the value of living in modern society shaped by the ethos of progress. Their encounters with traces of the Biblical and Muslim heritage of the Holy City gave rise in their travel accounts to opportunities to create in their writings cultural and discursive sites of truth production while struggling to maintain the autonomy of the self in a modern world dominated by de-personalising forces. 1 Walking for these three travellers was, as Frédéric Gros put it in his A Philosophy of Walking, “a gentle shock-free rolling of happy legs” which generates “a labyrinth of stories” in which “challenges arise and “their solutions are found”. 2.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)99-119
    Number of pages21
    JournalEnglish Studies
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 2023


    • encounter
    • Holy Land
    • Jerusalem
    • modernity
    • Palestine


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