Module 01: Can Humans Control the Natural World? Urban Landscapes and Perceptions of Nature


(click to print)

Urban Growth Literature
and Cartoons
The Horse
and the Automobile

The first section below links to maps illustrating the spread of large cities from 1870 to 1914, during the period of rapid industrialization and urbanization. The four written accounts and four cartoons in the second section describe different perceptions of nature in the context of industrialization. In each case, consider how the author or artist uses nature as a means of depicting the relationship between humans and their environment. Finally, the cartoons in the last section use humor to explore how the coming of mechanized transportation shaped human attitudes toward a favorite animal, the horse. As you examine the cartoons, think about their intended meaning, the range of possible responses, and how they represent the changing relationship between humans and the natural environment.

Urban Growth

1. Urbanization Map, 1870
Relative growth of cities by 1870

2. Urbanization Map, 1914
Relative growth of cities by 1914

Nature in Literature and Cartoons

3. Nature as Presence
William Wordsworth, Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, 1798

4. Control of Nature
Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son, 1848

5. Description of Manchester
Alexis de Tocqueville, Journey to England, 1835

6. City and Countryside in Fiction
Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton, 1849

7. "The Smells"
Punch, November 1, 1890

8. "The Momentous Question"
Punch, September 2, 1871

9. "Back to the Land"
Punch, January 4, 1905

10. "Logical"
Punch, January 6, 1904

The Horse and the Automobile

11. "Unwilling to Give up Horses"
Punch, April 18, 1896

12. "Old Farmer Jones"
Punch, February 5, 1898

13. "Mems for Motorists"
Punch, June 20, 1900

14. "Rival Forces"
Punch, August 22, 1900

15. "Retort Courteous"
Punch, September 14, 1904

16. "Passing of the Horse"
Punch, May 17, 1905

17. "Breaking It Gently"
Punch, December 20, 1905

18. "Protect the Poor Motorist"
Punch, September 13, 1913