A View of a Valley

This week, I re-read sections of Tim Cresswell’s Place: A Short Introduction (Blackwell 2004) and on his recommendation picked up Raymond Williams’ novel Border Country (Horizon 1962).

This passage is just lovely:

“When Matthew got back from town, he walked slowly up the lane. In the bus, he had known so few people that he felt like a stranger. Even the faces he recognized were altered, or belonged to a different generation. In Gwenton he had met nobody he knew, and the simple shopping had been difficult, after London: the conventions were different. He had felt empty and tired, but the familiar shape of the valley and the mountains held and replaced him. It was one thing to carry an image in his mind, as he did, everywhere, never a day passing be he closed his eyes and saw it again, his only landscape. But it was different to stand and look at reality. It was not less beautiful; every detail of the land came up with its old excitement. But it was not still, as the image had been. It was no longer a landscape or a view, but a valley that people were using. He realized, as he watched, what had happened in going away. The valley as landscape had been taken, but its work forgotten. Far away, closing his eyes, he had been seeing this valley, but as a visitor sees it, as the guide-book sees it; this valley, in which he had lived more than half his adult life.”

(p. 89)

One Comment

  1. […] On the Move: Mobility in the Modern Western World (Routledge 2006). I was familiar with his Place: A Short Introduction which I read a few years back alongside Raymond Williams’ Border Count…. The book is as good an introduction to mobility as I’ve ever read, and it should be required […]


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