This book celebrates some of the most dazzling treasures of English literature to show how Britain’s greatest authors have been inspired by, and even redefined, their country.
From Chaucer’s pilgrims journeying from Southwark to Canterbury, to the 21st century suburban hinterlands of J.G. Ballard, this book will explore how the places and landscapes of Britain permeate the nation’s great literary works and how these works have, in turn, helped shape our perception and understanding of landscape and place, both real and imagined. As well as celebrating the traditional British landscape the book will also examine the literary construction of the city, following the mysterious fog-filled streets that stretch from the London of Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to the urban underworlds revealed by contemporary writers such as Neil Gaiman and Iain Sinclair. Featuring such diverse landscapes as Emily Bronte’s wild and windy Yorkshire Moors, Wordsworth’s Lake District, Elizabeth Gaskell’s industrial northern towns, the seaside turned nightmare of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Graham Greene’s seedy and menacing Brighton, Virginia Woolf’s Bond Street and Hanif Kureishi’s suburbia, this book will describe and illustrate the work of over 100 of the greatest British writers who have been inspired by place, spanning the Middle Ages to the 21st century.
Christina Hardyment is a writer and journalist. She is the author of over ten other books on literature and social history including Literary Trails: Writers in their Landscapes (National Trust), Malory: The Life and Times of King Arthur’s Chronicler (Harper Perennial) and On the Writer’s Trail: 20 Great Literary Journeys (National Trust). She writes regularly for the Times and the Telegraph.