Thursday, 20 October 2011

Book review: A Writer's Britain

By Margaret Drabble
Published by Thames & Hudson

Having visited most of the Bloomsbury-related sites in Sussex, I have been left with a thirst for ‘literary tourism’ that the updated edition of Margaret Drabble’s A Writer’s Britain seems perfectly able to quench.

Focussing on different areas of interest - such as the description of sacred places, the Romantic movement and the portrayal of rural and industrial landscapes - Margaret Drabble sets out to investigate the relationship between writers and place and to understand how this has changed over the years.

Painters are not the only artists capable of depicting landscapes. As the plentiful quotations and excerpts remind us, writers are equally able to give a sense of place through evocative poems and detailed descriptions alike.

Functioning as a mere background at times, landscapes can also be as important as the main characters of a book. Think of Jane Austen’s Yorkshire moors, Wordsworth’s Lake District, Virginia Woolf’s London. And they are only a few of the places explored in A Writer’s Britain, many of which will be pleasantly unknown and ready to be discovered.

A celebration of Britain and literature, this volume is a wonderful source of knowledge and food for thought.

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