This is a book about the literary and cultural meanings, force and significance of the English Channel, from the time of the French Revolution to the beginning of the Third Millennium CE. I use the words ‘the English Channel’ because I am writing in English, and that is the name that has been standard in this language, since the eighteenth century, for this particular water-filled incision in the surface of the globe.1 From now on, I shall usually refer simply to ‘the Channel’ – a term that is meant to be neutral in its geopolitical implications. My aim, in fact, is to pay as much attention to la Manche as to its English-language equivalent.


Cultural Meaning Literary Text Real Place Travel Narrative Recreational Travel 
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  1. Franco Moretti, Atlas of the European Novel 1800-1900 (first published in Italian, 1997; London: Verso, 1998), p. 3.Google Scholar
  2. Bernard Crick, foreword to The Idea of Europe in Literature, ed. by Susanne Fendler and Ruth Wittlinger (Basingstoke: Macmillan; New York: St Martin’s -now Palgrave; in association with the University of Durham, 1999), pp. ix-xiv (p. xii).Google Scholar
  3. Aubrey de Selincourt, The Channel Shore, The Regional Books Series (London: Hale, 1953), p. 2.Google Scholar
  4. Christophe Campos, The View of France: From Arnold to Bloomsbury (London: Oxford University Press, 1965), pp. 170–1.Google Scholar

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© Dominic Rainsford 2002

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