'Vision isolated in eternity': Nostalgia catches the train

Randall Stevenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nostalgia for steam trains in the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries offers a further example of the varying responses to railways evident ever since their first development in the nineteenth century. Several of these responses contributed to, and illustrate, the changing roles of temporality, memory and nostalgia in the literature of the modern period. In particular, though modernist literature is often critical of the contribution railways and their timetabling made to the mechanisation of the modern age, the writers concerned also develop affirmatively the new possibilities of momentary, memorable vision which rapid travel offered to the imagination. The development of this kind of vision in modernist writing allows certain forms of intense memory to be recognized as historically specific, though also, as always, shaped by nostalgia’s idiosyncratic, personal aspects.
Original languageEnglish
Article number95
Pages (from-to)1-7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2018


  • nostalgia
  • railways
  • modernity
  • modernism


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