Tweeting Ben Jonson’s walk: Experiencing the spatial-temporality of the “Foot Voyage”

Katherine Groundwater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1618, the playwright Ben Jonson walked from London to Edinburgh. In 2009 details of that walk were recovered in a manuscript account. In 2013, Jonson’s ‘Foot-Voyage’ was tweeted real-time from July to October, and a linked blog hosted a digital map deepened with information from the text. Jonson’s ‘virtual’ journey was to enhance public engagement, his absorption into new communities echoed by exchanges with their twenty-first century inhabitants. Simultaneously, the tweets suggested the spatial-temporality of Jonson’s actions in a manner not discernable in the linear narrative, revealing their kinetic quality. This stimulated a rethinking of the walk’s historical temporality, which challenges the historical distance between walker and audience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-124
JournalCultural and Social History
Issue number1
Early online date30 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • historical temporality
  • deep mapping
  • social media
  • digital humanities
  • walking
  • social spaces


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