Walking, being both a physical and mental activity, is the best way to get to understand the spatial dimensions and the significance of any area. It allows, in fact, both the direct contact with the soil and the free circulation of thoughts. Many pre-romantic and romantic writers imbued with Rousseauism and influenced by a new “sensorial” approach to reality adopted walking outdoor both as a theme and a poetic practice. Hiking, thus, became an individual activity and a literary genre in itself. Through the analysis of texts by Senancour, Hugo and Gautier, I intend to show that writing about walking in mountain areas – the chosen setting for this paper – gave rise to very specific styles and genres, and that these were meant to convey the factual elements of walking, as well as the unique subjectivity of this experience.
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