“Human beings, when they became upright, aspired to two conditions: becoming birds or becoming trees, wanderers or settlers, oscillating between their roots and their wings, exiled whichever way they turned”. (Solnit R.: As Eve said to the Serpent: 142)


Stenz – detail (image Colin Glen)

Stenz (Stock. Wanderstock. Walking stick) From the Rotwelsch (argot) the language of the German wanderer or traveling craftsmen.

The image of the wanderer in German literature offered themes of melancholia, suffering and healing, reflecting a desire to make a fresh start unburdened by memories. Wandering was a way to escape one’s family, literally broaden one’s horizons and most significantly of all discover or change one’s self. This type of romantic wandering as an alternative to the travelling necessary for handwerksburschen (apprentice craftsmen) reflected “a new understanding of the self as the object of knowledge and of ameliorative action”. (The Wanderer… Kusack A: 4)

The romantic journey is defined by two tendencies: 1. a tendency to circularity (an attempt to return to origin). 2. a tendency to infinity (toward distant horizons and transcendence). (ibid:64)

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