Are We There Yet?: Virtual Travel and Victorian Realism by Alison Byerly

By Alison Byerly

Are We There but? digital shuttle and Victorian Realism connects the Victorian fascination with ''virtual travel'' with the increase of realism in nineteenth-century fiction and twenty-first-century experiments in digital fact. while the growth of river and railway networks within the 19th century made shuttle more straightforward than ever earlier than, staying at domestic and fantasizing approximately commute changed into a favourite hobby. New methods of representing place—360-degree panoramas, foldout river maps, exhaustive railway guides—offered themselves as substitutes for real shuttle. contemplating those representations as a sort of ''virtual travel'' unearths a shocking continuity among the Victorian fascination with creative dislocation and twenty-first -century efforts to exploit electronic know-how to extend the actual limitations of the self.

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Moving panoramas, long canvases that were unrolled before the spectator in imitation of a journey, added a dynamic and temporal dimension to this perspective, inviting the viewer to undertake a complete journey in the company of an expert guide. When the Illustrated London News, in its mission statement (May 1842, 1), promised “to keep before the eye of the world a living and moving panorama of all its activities and instances,” it was invoking a power to synthesize, reflect, and channel the disparate forms and events of modern life into a unified representational stream that would carry the reader/ viewer along with it.

Part Three highlights the connection between the expansion of railway networks and the evolution of information networks, such as the telegraph and telephone, that prefigure the Internet in their capacity to provide virtual agency, or “telepresence,” to those who travelled these early information superhighways. These networks play a critical role in the information systems known as novels. In the Sherlock Holmes stories of Arthur Conan Doyle and in Bram Stoker’s fin de siècle novel Dracula, railway networks form the nexus of multiple avenues of communication, and rail lines provide an extension of personal power and agency to those who master them.

53). The narrator stresses her specific location and sensory experience, describing what she sees, hears, and feels as the late-­ afternoon scene becomes cooler and darker. The sensory isolation that is essential to creating a feeling of immersiveness is here created through an auditory filter: “The rush of the water and the booming of the mill bring a dreamy deafness which seems to heighten the peacefulness of the scene. They are like a great curtain of sound, shutting one out from the world beyond” (54).

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