Walking into Words: Jane Austen and Other Writers – 1 Feb 2014

 ‘Walking into Words: Jane Austen and Other Writers’

Talk given to The Society of Bibliophiles in Cape Town on 1 February 2014 at Constantia Place.  Here are references to some of the authors and books referred to in the talk.


Jean Moorcroft Wilson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dr Jean Moorcroft Wilson (born 3 October 1941) is a British academic and writer, best known as a biographer and critic of First World War poets and poetry.[1]

A lecturer in English at Birkbeck, University of London, she has written a two-volume biography of Siegfried Sassoon,[2] as well as works on Virginia WoolfCharles SorleyIsaac Rosenberg[3] and William Watson. Her husband is the publisher Cecil Woolf.[4]


  • I Was an English Poet: Biography of Sir William Watson (1982)
  • Virginia Woolf, Life and London: A Biography of Place (1988)
  • Leonard Woolf: Pivot or outsider of Bloomsbury (1994)
  • Virginia Woolf’s London (2000)
  • The Selected Poems of Isaac Rosenberg (editor) (2003)
  • Siegfried Sassoon: The Making of a War Poet, A Biography (1886-1918) (1999)
  • Siegfried Sassoon: The Journey from the Trenches 1918-1967 (2004)
  • Isaac Rosenberg (2008)


  1. Jump up^ Guardian Books
  2. Jump up^ BBC – In Our Time
  3. Jump up^ Mail Online
  4. Jump up^ Camden New Journal, 17 April 2008

External links[edit]


This British biographical article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.


Thomas Coryat


Thomas Coryat (also Coryate) (c. 1577 – 1617) was an English traveller and writer of the late Elizabethan and early Jacobean age.   He is principally remembered for two volumes of writings he left regarding his travels, often on foot, through Europe and parts of Asia.   He is often credited with introducing the table fork to England, with “Furcifer” (Latin: fork-bearer, rascal) becoming one of his nicknames.[1] His description of how the Italians shielded themselves from the sun resulted in the word “umbrella” being introduced into English.[1]

He was born in Crewkerne, Somerset,[2] and lived most of his life in the Somerset village of Odcombe.   He was educated at Winchester College and Gloucester Hall, Oxford, and later was employed by Prince Henry, eldest son of James I as a sort of “court jester”.   In 1608 he undertook a tour of Europe, somewhat less than half of which he walked, and published his memoirs of the events in a volume entitled Coryat’s Crudities hastily gobbled up in Five Months Travels in France, Italy, &c’ (1611).   This volume gives a vivid picture of life in Europe during the time; it is particularly important to music historians for giving extraordinary details of the activities of the Venetian School, one of the most famous and progressive contemporary musical movements in Europe, including an elaborate description of the festivities at the church of San Rocco in Venice, with polychoral and instrumental music by Giovanni GabrieliBartolomeo Barbarino, and others.

Later in 1611 he published a second volume of travel writings, this one entitled Coryats Crambe, or his Coleworte twice Sodden.

Ever restless, he set out once again in 1612, this time on a journey that would ultimately lead to Asia, visiting Greece, the eastern Mediterranean area, Persia, and eventually India.   From Agra and elsewhere he sent letters describing his experiences; his Greetings from the Court of the Great Mogul was published in London in 1616, and a similar volume of his letters home appeared in 1618.   Coryat died of dysentery while traveling in Surat in 1617.   Though his planned account of the journey would never be, some of his unorganized travel notes have survived and found their way back to England.   These were published in the 1625 edition of Samuel Purchas‘s Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas his Pilgrimes, contayning a History of the World in Sea Voyages and Lande Travells, by Englishmen and others.

Coryat’s writings were hugely popular at the time.   His accounts of inscriptions, many of which are now lost, were valuable; and his accounts of Italian customs and manners—including the use of the table fork—were influential in England at a time when other aspects of Italian culture, such as the madrigal, had already been in vogue for more than twenty years.

Coryat is considered by many to have been the first Briton to do a Grand Tour of Europe; a practice which became a mainstay of the education of British upper class men in the 18th century.

British travel writer and humorist Tim Moore retraced the steps of Coryat’s tour of Europe, as recounted in his book Continental Drifter (2000).   In 2008 Daniel Allen published an account of his nine-month cycle trip following Coryate’s journey to the East, entitled The Sky Above, The Kingdom Below.


Major events in Coryat’s life.[1]

  • 1591–1596 – attended Winchester College
  • 1596–1599 – attended Gloucester Hall, Oxford
  • 1603–1607 – played unofficial ‘court jester’ for Henry, Prince of Wales, son of James I.   Members of Henry’s court included Ben JonsonJohn Donne and Inigo Jones, among others
  • May–Oct 1608 – travelled through France and Italy to Venice; returned via Switzerland, Germany and Netherlands
  • 1611 – published Coryates Crudities.
  • 1612–1614 – travelled to Constantinople and the Holy Lands
  • 1615–1616 – walked through Turkey, Persia, and Moghul India to Emperor Jahangir‘s court in Ajmer, Gujarat
  • Sept.   1617 – at invitation of Sir Thomas Roe, visited imperial court at ManduMalwa
  • Nov.   1617 – leaves for Surat in Gujarat
  • Dec.   1617 – died of dysentery in Surat



Continental Drifter

by Tim Moore

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·   rating details  ·  185 ratings  ·  18 reviews

Tim Moore’s first book, Frost on My Moustache had one reviewer setting him up as a “contender for Bill Bryson’s crown as king of comic travels”.   That successful debut is now followed with this offering–a journey in the style of Byronesque “grand tours” of Europe.   Travelling in a clapped-out Rolls Royce, Moore follows the trail of the first recognised British tourist of Europe, a 17th-century pastor’s son called Thomas Coryate.

There is certainly something of Bill Bryson in Moore’s style, and this book is reminiscent of Neither Here Nor There.   He cracks similar slapstick quips and travels with a liberal dose of self-irony.   Frequently, his jokes are brilliantly judged and have you laughing out loud.   But unlike Bryson, Moore can make gaffes of taste, and some readers may find the gags about car crash victims and murdered Kosovan families beyond the pale.

This is a very funny book in places, and Moore writes moving passages about Coryate and his ultimately tragic story.   Yet, in spite of its undoubted merits, Continental Drifter turns into something of a disappointment.   By the end–perhaps because the first 100 pages are so good–it feels as though Moore could have done with a more severe editor.   The book is a good 60 pages too long and begins to drag in the second half, when Moore’s comic timing diminishes along with his enthusiasm for the journey–and I’m not just saying that because he coins “toby” as a new word for sewage.   —Toby Green

Rare Adventures & Painful Peregrinations

by William Lithgow  (Author)

An exciting and unusual book first published in 1632, Rare Adventures and Painful Peregrinations has been a much-ignored masterpiece of global literature, though it is one of the world’s great travel tales.   Beginning his travels in the Orkney and Shetland Islands of Scotland, Lithgow soon went off to explore the Netherlands, Germany, Bohemia, France, and Italy.   He then traveled throughout Greece, Egypt, and Malta before having a spin through Western Europe again and finally returning to Great Britain.   Most notably, Lithgow survived torture by the Inquisition in Spain and later traveled throughout his native Scotland.   AUTHOR BIO: One of the earliest world explorers and great men of literature, William Lithgow (1582-1645) completed his major work, The Total Discourse of the Rare Adventures and Painful Peregrinations of Long Nineteen Years Travayles in 1632.   It was reprinted in 1906.

Rare Adventures and Painful Peregrinations: William Lithgow


Scottish writer-traveller-explorer William Lithgow (1582-1645) travelled extensively throughout the Levant in three substantial journeys between 1610 and 1622.   He completed his major work, The Total Discourse of the Rare Adventures and Painful Peregrinations of Long Nineteen Years Travails from Scotland, to the Most Famous Kingdoms in Europe, Asia and Africa in 1632.   When the book appeared, it must have surprised and delighted readers, especially readers who had never travelled outside their own town.

Shapero Rare Books, who auctioned Rare Adventures and Painful Peregrinations in 2012, wrote: This book is probably the earliest authority for coffee-drinking in Europe, Turkish Baths, a pigeon post between Aleppo and Baghdad, Turkish tobacco-pipes, artificial incubation and the importation of currants from Zante to England.   This classic account first appeared in 1614 and went through numerous additions, being constantly added to as Lithgow made more travels.   He visited Italy, the Ionian Islands, Athens, Crete and the Aegean Archipelago in 1609 and stayed for a time on Chios, where he met two French merchants whom he joined to visit Greek monuments and antiquities.   Lithgow travelled some 36,000 miles as described in this work.

Particular note was made about how Lithgow suffered torture by the Inquisition in Malaga in Spain (as a spy, not a religious heretic).   He was released at the intervention of King James I, and was later imprisoned in London for assaulting the Spanish Ambassador.

There were many lovely woodcut illustrations in the book, including the woodcut frontispiece portrait of Lithgow in Ottoman dress.   Estimated value of the book at auction was £6,500 or Aus $10,000 or USA $10,550.

Why did William Lithgow have an irresistible desire to visit strange lands and how did he fund these extensive trips?

Significant Scots believed that wanderlust was the ruling passion of his life.   Together with a roving, unsettled and restless disposition, wanderlust was the principal agent in compelling him to undertake the formidable journeys which he accomplished, and enabled him to bear up with such a series of hardships and bodily sufferings, as perhaps no man ever before or since has endured.   He made it a strict rule, but probably not for financial reasons, to not use any conveyance during a journey when he could accomplish it on foot, except for crossing water.   During all his travels he never mounted a horse, or put his foot into a carriage, or used any type of vehicle whatever.

Only late in his career did a financial windfall occur to Mr Lithgow.   He had the good fortune to join up with three Dutchmen at Jerusalem, who were journeying with a caravan in the same direction.   These he joined, and kept by them until they reached the Egyptian capital.   Here his three companions speedily killed themselves by drinking local alcohol.   As each man died, he left the survivors all his money and jewellery, and the last bequeathed the whole accumulated amount to Lithgow! Thanking God for his good fortune, Lithgow now proceeded, quite at his ease as to money matters, to inspect every thing that was curious in the city.

After I’d written up the Shapera auction, I found that Bloomsbury Auctions had had a very similar book in their sales back in May 2011.   William Lithgow’s book Nineteen Years Travels through the most Eminent Places in the Habitable World, had originally been published under the title The Total Discourse of the Rare Adventures in 1632.   Here the publishers wrote “Lithgow travelled extensively throughout the Levant in three journeys between 1610-22: Greece, Constantinople and the Eastern Mediterranean from 1610-13; North Africa and Italy from 1614-19; and Spain from 1619-21.   He travelled mostly on foot and had a greater knowledge of the interior of the countries he visited than most travellers of this period.   He provides interesting details of the society, men and manners he observed”.

I don’t know if Lithgow really was the earliest authority for coffee-drinking in Europe, Turkish Baths, a pigeon post between Aleppo and Baghdad, Turkish tobacco-pipes, artificial incubation and the importation of currants from Zante to England.   But he was a very impressive, intrepid and curious traveller.   And a fascinating writer.


About the project

In July 1618, Ben Jonson set out to walk the 400 miles from London to Edinburgh.

His ‘foot voyage’ has long been thought one of the more striking episodes in a sumptuously colourful life, and Jonson wrote his own account of the journey shortly after his return in 1619.   This work was subsequently destroyed in a fire before it could be circulated or printed, and the particulars of the expedition – his route, how long it took him, whom he met with along the way – have been lost ever since.

In 2009, however, James Loxley discovered a narrative of the voyage in the Aldersey collection of family papers at Cheshire Archives and Local Studies, apparently penned by Jonson’s hitherto unsuspected, and still anonymous, travelling companion.   This account is a treasure trove of detail not only for students of Jonson but also for anyone with an interest in the cultural history of early Stuart Britain.

This project, generously supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, will bring an edited and fully annotated text of the account into public view for the first time.


I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud


I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.


Guide to the Lakes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Many important figures in the Romantic movement were influenced by Wordsworth’s praise of the Lake District.   J.   M.   W.   Turner‘s 1835 painting of Ullswater in Cumbria was rendered into this line engraving for publication in a book of scenic views.

Guide to the LakesWilliam Wordsworth‘s travellers’ guidebook to England’s Lake District, has been studied by scholars both for its relationship to his Romantic poetry and as an early influence on 19th-century geography.   Originally written because Wordsworth needed money, the first version was published in 1810 as anonymous text in a collection of engravings.   The work is now best known from its expanded and updated 1835 fifth edition.

According to Wordsworth biographer Stephen Gill:[1]

The Guide is multi-faceted.   It is a guide, but it is also a prose-poem about light, shapes, and textures, about movement and stillness …   It is a paean to a way of life, but also a lament for the inevitability of its passing …   What holds this diversity together is the voice of complete authority, compounded from experience, intense observation, thought, and love.



Relation to Wordsworth’s life and thought[edit]

Wordsworth was born in the Lake District and spent much of his life living there.   Wordsworth and his friends Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge became known as Lake Poets not only because they lived in this area but also because its landscapes and people inspired their work.

By 1810, Wordsworth was living near Grasmere with his sister and collaborator Dorothy Wordsworth, his sister-in-law, his wife, and their four small children.   A fifth child was born to them in 1810.   Several commentators have suggested that Wordsworth agreed to write text for a new book of engravings because he needed money,[2][3] a suggestion supported by Wordsworth’s scathing description of the engravings in an 1810 letter to Lady Beaumont:[4] “The drawings, or etchings, or whatever they may be called are …   intolerable.   You will receive from them that sort of disgust which I do from bad poetry …   They will please many who in all the arts are most taken by what is worthless.”

Publishing history[edit]

The beauty of the Lake District was already well known in 1810, the year Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes was first published, as an anonymous introduction to a book of engravings of the Lake District by the Reverend Joseph Wilkinson.[3] For example, in 1775 the poet Thomas Graypublished a journal of his visit to the area, describing the vale of Grasmere as “an unsuspected paradise.”[5] The first Lakeland visitors’ guide (as opposed to a traveller’s journal) appeared in 1778, when Thomas West published a route for travellers that included advice on viewing the landscape.[5]

Wordsworth explained his goal to a reader in May 1810, saying, “What I wished to accomplish was to give a model of the manner in which topographical descriptions ought to be executed, in order to their being either useful or intelligible, by evolving truly and distinctly one appearance from another.”[6]

In 1820, Wordsworth published a second, longer version of the Guide attached to a book of sonnets he had written about the River Duddon.   He explained his reasoning as follows:[7]

This Essay, which was published several years ago as an Introduction to some Views of the Lakes, by the Rev.   Joseph Wilkinson, (an expensive work, and necessarily of limited circulation,) is now, with emendations and additions, attached to these volumes; from a consciousness of its having been written in the same spirit which dictated several of the poems, and from a belief that it will tend materially to illustrate them.   (page 214)

In 1822, Wordsworth’s text was first published as a separate volume.[5] Fourth and fifth revised editions followed in 1823 and 1835; the last of these is generally considered definitive.[8]

Modern editions are based on the expanded fifth edition, published in 1835.[3]


Directions and information for the tourist[edit]

Wordsworth begins this section as follows:

“In preparing this Manual, it was the Author’s principal wish to furnish a Guide or Companion for the Minds of Persons of taste, and feeling for Landscape, who might be inclined to explore the District of the Lakes with that degree of attention to which its beauty may fairly lay claim.   For the more sure attainment, however, of this primary object, he will begin by undertaking the humble and tedious task of supplying the Tourist with directions how to approach the several scenes in their best, or most convenient, order.”

Wordsworth’s emphasis on the word “Minds” reflects (says the Norton Anthology) “his constant interest in subject-object interactions,” evident throughout the book and in his poetry in general.[2]

Description of the scenery of the Lakes[edit]

What the Norton Anthology calls Wordsworth’s “Lake District chauvinism” is evident in his comparisons of its lakes and mountains to those of Scotland, Wales, and Switzerland.[2] He finds much to praise even in the region’s climate, which is marked by changeability, with frequent clouds, rain, or even gales:[4]

Such clouds, cleaving to their stations, or lifting up suddenly their glittering heads from behind rocky barriers, or hurrying out of sight with speed of the sharpest edge, will often tempt an inhabitant to congratulate himself on belonging to a country of mists and clouds and storms, and make him think of the blank sky of Egypt, and of the cerulean vacancy of Italy, as an unanimated and even a sad spectacle.   (page 58)

Miscellaneous observations[edit]

Wordsworth begins by discussing the relative advantages of different seasons for a visit to the Lakes.

Next he embarks on a long comparison of Lake District scenery to the much-praised landscapes of Switzerland, although with this initial disclaimer (page 98):[4]

Nothing is more injurious to genuine feeling than the practice of hastily and ungraciously deprecating the face of one country by comparing it with that of another …   fastidiousness is a wretched travelling companion; and the best guide to which in matters of taste we can entrust ourselves, is a disposition to be pleased.


Born: April 7, 1770
Cookermouth, Cumberland, England
Died: April 23, 1850
Rydal Mount, Westmorland, England 

English poet

Read more: http://www.notablebiographies.com/We-Z/Wordsworth-William.html#ixzz2s6Nj8cy1

William Wordsworth was an early leader of romanticism (a literary movement that celebrated nature and concentrated on human emotions) in English poetry and ranks as one of the greatest lyric poets in the history of English literature.

His early years

William Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770, in Cookermouth, Cumberland, England, the second child of an attorney.   Unlike the other major English romantic poets, he enjoyed a happy childhood under the loving care of his mother and was very close to his sister Dorothy.   As a child he wandered happily through the lovely natural scenery of Cumberland.   In grammar school, Wordsworth showed a keen interest in poetry.   He was fascinated by the epic poet John Milton (1608–1674).

From 1787 to 1790 Wordsworth attended St.   John’s College at Cambridge University.   He always returned to his home and to nature during his summer vacations.   Before graduating from Cambridge, he took a walking tour through France, Switzerland, and Italy in 1790.   The Alps made an impression on him that he did not recognize until fourteen years later.

Stay in France

Revolutionary passion in France made a powerful impact on Wordsworth, who returned there in November 1791. He wanted to improve his knowledge of the French language.   His experience in France just after the French Revolution (1789; the French overthrew the ruling monarchy) reinforced his sympathy for common people and his belief in political freedom.

Wordsworth fell passionately in love with a French girl, Annette Vallon.   She gave birth to their daughter in December 1792.   However, Wordsworth had spent his limited funds and was forced to return home.   The separation left him with a sense of guilt that deepened his poetic inspiration and resulted in an important theme in his work of abandoned women.

Publication of first poems

Wordsworth’s first poems, Descriptive Sketches and An Evening Walk, were printed in 1793.   He wrote several pieces over the next several years.   The year 1797 marked the beginning of Wordsworth’s long friendship with Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834).   Together they published Lyrical Ballads in 1798.   Wordsworth wanted to challenge “the gaudiness [unnecessarily flashy] and inane [foolish] phraseology [wording] of many modern writers.” Most of his poems in this collection centered on the simple yet deeply human feelings of ordinary people, phrased in their own language.   His views on this new kind of poetry were more fully described in the important “Preface” that he wrote for the second edition (1800).

“Tintern Abbey”

Wordsworth’s most memorable contribution to this volume was “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey,” which he wrote just in time to include it.   This poem is the first major piece to illustrate his original talent at its best.   It skillfully combines matter-of-factness in natural description with a genuinely mystical (magical) sense of infinity, joining self-exploration to philosophical speculation (questioning).   The poem closes on a subdued but confident reassertion of nature’s healing power, even though mystical insight may be obtained from the poet.

In its successful blending of inner and outer experience, of sense perception, feeling, and thought, “Tintern Abbey” is a poem in which the writer becomes a symbol of mankind.   The poem leads to imaginative thoughts about man and the universe.   This cosmic outlook rooted in the self is a central feature of romanticism.   Wordsworth’s poetry is undoubtedly the most impressive example of this view in English literature.

Poems of the middle period

Wordsworth, even while writing his contributions to the Lyrical Ballads, had been feeling his way toward more ambitious schemes.   He had embarked on a long poem in unrhymed verse, “The Ruined Cottage,” later referred to as “The Peddlar.” It was intended to form part of a vast philosophical poem with the title “The Recluse, or Views of Man, Nature and Society.” This grand project never materialized as originally planned.

Abstract, impersonal speculation was not comfortable for Wordsworth.   He could handle experiences in the philosophical-lyrical manner only if they were closely related to himself and could arouse his creative feelings and imagination.   During the winter months he spent in Germany, he started work on his magnum opus (greatest work), The Prelude, or Growth of a Poet’s Mind.   It was published after his death.

However, such a large achievement was still beyond Wordsworth’s scope (area of capabilities) at this time.   It was back to the shorter poetic forms that he turned during the most productive season of his long literary life, the spring of 1802.   The output of these fertile (creative) months mostly came from his earlier inspirations: nature and the common people.   During this time he wrote “To a Butterfly,” “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” “To the Cuckoo,” “The Rainbow,” and other poems.

Changes in philosophy

The crucial event of this period was Wordsworth’s loss of the sense of mystical oneness, which had sustained (lasted throughout) his highest imaginative flights.   Indeed, a mood of despondency (depression) descended over Wordsworth, who was then thirty-two years old.

In the summer of 1802 Wordsworth spent a few weeks in Calais, France, with his sister Dorothy.   Wordsworth’s renewed contact with France only confirmed his disillusionment (disappointment) with the French Revolution and its aftermath.

During this period Wordsworth had become increasingly concerned with Coleridge, who by now was almost totally dependent upon opium (a highly addictive drug) for relief from his physical sufferings.   Both friends came to believe that the realities of life were in stark contradiction (disagreement) to the visionary expectations of their youth.   Wordsworth characteristically sought to redefine his own identity in ways that would allow him a measure of meaning.   The new turn his life took in 1802 resulted in an inner change that set the new course his poetry followed from then on.

Poems about England and Scotland began pouring forth from Wordsworth’s pen, while France and Napoleon (1769–1821) soon became Wordsworth’s favorite symbols of cruelty and oppression.   His nationalistic (intense pride in one’s own country) inspiration led him to produce the two “Memorials of a Tour in Scotland” (1803, 1814) and the group entitled “Poems Dedicated to National Independence and Liberty.”

Poems of 1802

The best poems of 1802, however, deal with a deeper level of inner change.   In Wordsworth’s poem “Intimations of Immortality” (March–April), he plainly recognized that “The things which I have seen I now can see no more”; yet he emphasized that although the “visionary gleam” had fled, the memory remained, and although the “celestial light” had vanished, the “common sight” of “meadow, grove and stream” was still a potent (strong) source of delight and solace (comfort).

Thus Wordsworth shed his earlier tendency to idealize nature and turned to a more sedate (calm) doctrine (set of beliefs) of orthodox Christianity.   Younger poets and critics soon blamed him for this “recantation” (renouncing), which they equated with his change of mind about the French Revolution.   His Ecclesiastical Sonnets (1822) are clear evidence of the way in which love of freedom, nature, and the Church came to coincide (come together at the same time) in his mind.

The Prelude

Nevertheless, it was the direction suggested in “Intimations of Immortality” that, in the view of later criticism, enabled Wordsworth to produce perhaps the most outstanding achievement of English romanticism: The Prelude.   He worked on it, on and off, for several years and completed the first version in May 1805.   The Prelude can claim to be the only true romantic epic (long, often heroic work) because it deals in narrative terms with the spiritual growth of the only true romantic hero, the poet.   The inward odyssey (journey) of the poet was described not for its own sake but as a sample and as an adequate image of man at his most sensitive.

Wordsworth shared the general romantic notion that personal experience is the only way to gain living knowledge.   The purpose of The Prelude was to recapture and interpret, with detailed thoroughness, the whole range of experiences that had contributed to the shaping of his own mind.   Wordsworth refrained from publishing the poem in his lifetime, revising it continuously.   Most important and, perhaps, most to be regretted, the poet also tried to give a more orthodox tinge to his early mystical faith in nature.

Later years

Wordsworth’s estrangement (growing apart) from Coleridge in 1810 deprived him of a powerful incentive to imaginative and intellectual alertness.   Wordsworth’s appointment to a government position in 1813 relieved him of financial care.

Wordsworth’s undiminished love for nature made him view the emergent (just appearing) industrial society with undisguised reserve.   He opposed the Reform Bill of 1832, which, in his view, merely transferred political power from the land owners to the manufacturing class, but he never stopped pleading in favor of the victims of the factory system.

In 1843 Wordsworth was appointed poet laureate (official poet of a country).   He died on April 23, 1850.

For More Information

Davies, Hunter.   William Wordsworth: A Biography.   New York: Atheneum, 1980.

Gill, Stephen.   William Wordsworth: A Life.   New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Johnston, Kenneth R.   The Hidden Wordsworth: Poet, Lover, Rebel, Spy.   New York: W.   W.   Norton, 1998.

Negrotta, Rosanna.   William Wordsworth: A Biography with Selected Poems.   London: Brockhampton, 1999.


Jean-Jacques Rousseau

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Rousseau” redirects here.   For other uses, see Rousseau (disambiguation).

This article is about the philosopher.   For the author-filmmaker, see Jean-Jacques Rousseau (author-filmmaker).


Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Rousseau in 1753, by Maurice Quentin de La Tour

Born 28 June 1712
GenevaRepublic of Geneva
Died 2 July 1778 (aged 66)
Era 18th-century philosophy
(Modern philosophy)
Region Western Philosophy
School Social contract theory
Main interests Political philosophy, music, education, literature, autobiography
Notable ideas General willamour-propre,moral simplicity of humanity,child-centered learningcivil religionpopular sovereignty,positive liberty
Influenced by[show]

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (French: [ʒɑ̃ʒak ʁuso]; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of the 18th century.   His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological, and educational thought.   He argued that private property was the start of civilization, inequality, murders and wars.

Rousseau’s novel Émile, or On Education is a treatise on the education of the whole person for citizenship.   His sentimental novel Julie, or the New Heloise was of importance to the development of pre-romanticism[1] and romanticism in fiction.[2]Rousseau’s autobiographical writings—his Confessions, which initiated the modern autobiography, and his Reveries of a Solitary Walker—exemplified the late 18th-century movement known as the Age of Sensibility, and featured an increased focus on subjectivity and introspection that later characterized modern writing.   His Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and his On the Social Contract are cornerstones in modern political and social thought.

Rousseau was a successful composer of music, who wrote seven operas as well as music in other forms, and made contributions to music as a theorist.   During the period of the French Revolution, Rousseau was the most popular of thephilosophes among members of the Jacobin Club.   Rousseau was interred as a national hero in the Panthéon in Paris, in 1794, 16 years after his death.

Reveries of a Solitary Walker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article does not cite any references or sources.   Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.   Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.   (December 2011)


Reveries of a Solitary Walker

First edition title page of Rousseau’sReveries of a Solitary Walker

Published in 1782.

Author Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Reveries of a Solitary Walker (or Reveries of the Solitary Walker, French title: Les Rêveries du promeneur solitaire) is an unfinished book by Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, written between 1776 and 1778.   It was the last of a number of works composed toward the end of his life which were deeply autobiographical in nature.   Previous elements in this group included The Confessions and Dialogues: Rousseau, Judge of Jean-Jacques.   The book is divided into ten chapters called “Walks”.   The Eighth and Ninth Walks were completed, but not revised by Rousseau, and the Tenth Walk was incomplete at Rousseau’s death.   The first publication was in 1782.

The content of the book is a mix of autobiographical anecdote, descriptions of the sights, especially plants, that Rousseau saw in his walks around Paris, and elaborations and extensions of arguments previously made by Rousseau in fields likeeducation and political philosophy.


Virginia Woolf

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the British modernist author.   For the American children’s author, see Virginia Euwer Wolff.   For the British rock band, see Virginia Wolf.

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf at age 20

Born Adeline Virginia Stephen
25 January 1882
Kensington, London, England
Died 28 March 1941 (aged 59)
River Ouse, near LewesEast Sussex, England
Occupation Novelist, essayist, publisher, critic
Nationality British
Alma mater King’s College London
Notable work(s) To the Lighthouse
Mrs Dalloway
Orlando: A Biography
A Room of One’s Own
Spouse(s) Leonard Woolf
(m.   1912–1941; her death)

Adeline Virginia Woolf (/ˈwʊlf/; 25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English writer, and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century.

During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a central figure in the influential Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals.   Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One’s Own (1929), with its famous dictum, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

Early life[edit]

Photographic portrait of Woolf’s mother, Julia Stephen, taken by Julia Margaret Cameron, Julia’s aunt

Virginia Woolf was born Adeline Virginia Stephen at 22 Hyde Park Gate in London.[1] Her parents were Sir Leslie Stephen (1832–1904) and Julia Prinsep Duckworth (née Jackson) (1846–1895).[1] Leslie Stephen was a notable historian, author, critic and mountaineer.[2] He was a founding editor of the Dictionary of National Biography, a work which would influence Woolf’s later experimental biographies.   Julia Stephen was a renowned beauty, born in British India to Dr.   John and Maria Pattle Jackson.   She was also the niece of the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron and first cousin of the temperance leader Lady Henry Somerset.   Julia moved to England with her mother, where she served as a model for Pre-Raphaelite painters such as Edward Burne-Jones.[3]

Woolf was educated by her parents in their literate and well-connected household at 22 Hyde Park GateKensington.   Her parents had each been married previously and been widowed, and, consequently, the household contained the children of three marriages.   Julia had three children by her first husband, Herbert Duckworth: George, Stella, and Gerald Duckworth.   Leslie first married Harriet Marian (Minny) Thackeray (1840–1875), the daughter of William Thackeray, and they had one daughter: Laura Makepeace Stephen, who was declared mentally disabled and lived with the family until she was institutionalised in 1891.[4] Leslie and Julia had four children together: Vanessa Stephen (1879), Thoby Stephen (1880), Virginia (1882), and Adrian Stephen (1883).

Sir Leslie Stephen’s eminence as an editor, critic, and biographer, and his connection to William Thackeray, meant that his children were raised in an environment filled with the influences of Victorian literary society.   Henry JamesGeorge Henry Lewes, and Virginia’s honorary godfather, James Russell Lowell, were among the visitors to the house.   Julia Stephen was equally well connected.   Descended from an attendant of Marie Antoinette,[citation needed] she came from a family of beauties who left their mark on Victorian society as models for Pre-Raphaelite artists and early photographers, including her aunt Julia Margaret Cameron who was also a visitor to the Stephen household.   Supplementing these influences was the immense library at the Stephens’ house, from which Virginia and Vanessa were taught the classics and English literature.   Unlike the girls, their brothers Adrian and Julian (Thoby) were formally educated and sent to Cambridge, a difference which Virginia would resent.   The sisters did, however, benefit indirectly from their brothers’ Cambridge contacts, as the boys brought their new intellectual friends home to the Stephens’ drawing room.[citation needed]

Julia Prinsep Stephen portrayed byEdward Burne-Jones, 1866

According to Woolf’s memoirs, her most vivid childhood memories were not of London but of St.   Ives in Cornwall, where the family spent every summer until 1895.   The Stephens’ summer home, Talland House, looked out over Porthminster Bay, and is still standing today, though somewhat altered.   Memories of these family holidays and impressions of the landscape, especially the Godrevy Lighthouse, informed the fiction Woolf wrote in later years, most notably To the Lighthouse.

The sudden death of her mother in 1895, when Virginia was 13, and that of her half-sister Stella two years later, led to the first of Virginia’s several nervous breakdowns.   She was, however, able to take courses of study (some at degree level) in Greek, Latin, German and history at the Ladies’ Department of King’s College London between 1897 and 1901, and this brought her into contact with some of the early reformers of women’s higher education such as Clara Pater, George Warr and Lilian Faithfull (Principal of the King’s Ladies’ Department and noted as one of the Steamboat ladies).[5] Her sister Vanessa also studied Latin, Italian, art and architecture at King’s Ladies’ Department.   On 2 May 2013, it was announced that Woolf was to be honoured by her alma mater when, in Autumn 2013, the Virginia Woolf Building of King’s College London would open on Kingsway, London.[6]

The death of her father in 1904 provoked her most alarming collapse and she was briefly institutionalised.[4] Modern scholars (including her nephew and biographer, Quentin Bell) have suggested[7] her breakdowns and subsequent recurringdepressive periods were also influenced by the sexual abuse to which she and her sister Vanessa were subjected by their half-brothers George and Gerald Duckworth (which Woolf recalls in her autobiographical essays A Sketch of the Past and 22 Hyde Park Gate).

Throughout her life, Woolf was plagued by periodic mood swings and associated illnesses.   She spent three short periods in 1910, 1912 and 1913 at Burley House, 15 Cambridge Park, Twickenham, described as “a private nursing home for women with nervous disorder”.[8] Though this instability often affected her social life, her literary productivity continued with few breaks throughout her life.


The Dreadnought Hoaxers in Abyssinian regalia; Virginia Woolf is the bearded figure on the far left.

After the death of their father and Virginia’s second nervous breakdown, Vanessa and Adrian sold 22 Hyde Park Gate and bought a house at 46 Gordon Square in Bloomsbury.

Woolf came to know Lytton StracheyClive BellRupert BrookeSaxon Sydney-TurnerDuncan GrantLeonard WoolfJohn Maynard KeynesDavid Garnett, and Roger Fry, who together formed the nucleus of the intellectual circle of writers and artists known as the Bloomsbury Group.   Several members of the group attained notoriety in 1910 with the Dreadnought hoax, which Virginia participated in disguised as a male Abyssinian royal.   Her complete 1940 talk on the Hoax was discovered and is published in the memoirs collected in the expanded edition of The Platform of Time (2008).   In 1907 Vanessa married Clive Bell, and the couple’s interest in avant garde art would have an important influence on Woolf’s development as an author.[9]

Virginia Stephen married writer Leonard Woolf on 10 August 1912.[10] Despite his low material status (Woolf referring to Leonard during their engagement as a “penniless Jew”) the couple shared a close bond.   Indeed, in 1937, Woolf wrote in her diary: “Love-making—after 25 years can’t bear to be separate …   you see it is enormous pleasure being wanted: a wife.   And our marriage so complete.” The two also collaborated professionally, in 1917 founding the Hogarth Press, which subsequently published Virginia’s novels along with works by T.S.   EliotLaurens van der Post, and others.[11] The Press also commissioned works by contemporary artists, including Dora Carrington and Vanessa Bell.

A portrait of Woolf by Roger Fry c.   1917

The ethos of the Bloomsbury group encouraged a liberal approach to sexuality, and in 1922 she met the writer and gardener Vita Sackville-West, wife of Harold Nicolson.   After a tentative start, they began a sexual relationship, which, according to Sackville-West, was only twice consummated.[12] In 1928, Woolf presented Sackville-West with Orlando, a fantastical biography in which the eponymous hero’s life spans three centuries and both sexes.   Nigel Nicolson, Vita Sackville-West’s son, wrote “The effect of Vita on Virginia is all contained in Orlando, the longest and most charming love letter in literature, in which she explores Vita, weaves her in and out of the centuries, tosses her from one sex to the other, plays with her, dresses her in furs, lace and emeralds, teases her, flirts with her, drops a veil of mist around her”.[13] After their affair ended, the two women remained friends until Woolf’s death in 1941.   Virginia Woolf also remained close to her surviving siblings, Adrian and Vanessa; Thoby had died of an illness at the age of 26.


Woolf began writing professionally in 1900, initially for the Times Literary Supplement with a journalistic piece about Haworth, home of the Brontë family.[14] Her first novel, The Voyage Out, was published in 1915 by her half-brother’s imprint, Gerald Duckworth and Company Ltd.   This novel was originally titled Melymbrosia, but Woolf repeatedly changed the draft.   An earlier version of The Voyage Out has been reconstructed by Woolf scholar Louise DeSalvo and is now available to the public under the intended title.   DeSalvo argues that many of the changes Woolf made in the text were in response to changes in her own life.[15]

Lytton Strachey and Woolf atGarsington, 1923[16]

Woolf went on to publish novels and essays as a public intellectual to both critical and popular success.   Much of her work was self-published through the Hogarth Press.   She is seen as a major twentieth century novelist and one of the foremost modernists.[17]

Woolf is considered a major innovator in the English language.   In her works she experimented with stream-of-consciousness and the underlying psychological as well as emotional motives of characters.   Woolf’s reputation declined sharply after World War II, but her importance was re-established with the growth of feminist criticism in the 1970s.[18]

Virginia Woolf’s peculiarities as a fiction writer have tended to obscure her central strength: Woolf is arguably the major lyrical novelist in the English language.   Her novels are highly experimental: a narrative, frequently uneventful and commonplace, is refracted—and sometimes almost dissolved—in the characters’ receptive consciousness.   Intense lyricism and stylistic virtuosity fuse to create a world overabundant with auditory and visual impressions.[19]

The intensity of Virginia Woolf’s poetic vision elevates the ordinary, sometimes banal settings—often wartime environments—of most of her novels.   For example, Mrs Dalloway (1925) centres on the efforts of Clarissa Dalloway, a middle-aged society woman, to organise a party, even as her life is paralleled with that of Septimus Warren Smith, a working-class veteran who has returned from the First World War bearing deep psychological scars.[20]

To the Lighthouse (1927) is set on two days ten years apart.   The plot centres on the Ramsay family’s anticipation of and reflection upon a visit to a lighthouse and the connected familial tensions.   One of the primary themes of the novel is the struggle in the creative process that beset painter Lily Briscoe while she struggles to paint in the midst of the family drama.   The novel is also a meditation upon the lives of a nation’s inhabitants in the midst of war, and of the people left behind.   It also explores the passage of time, and how women are forced by society to allow men to take emotional strength from them.[21]

Orlando (1928) is one of Virginia Woolf’s lightest novels.   A parodic biography of a young nobleman who lives for three centuries without ageing much past thirty (but who does abruptly turn into a woman), the book is in part a portrait of Woolf’s loverVita Sackville-West.   It was meant to console Vita for the loss of her ancestral home, though it is also a satirical treatment of Vita and her work.   In Orlando, the techniques of historical biographers are being ridiculed; the character of a pompous biographer is being assumed in order for it to be mocked.[22]

The Waves (1931) presents a group of six friends whose reflections, which are closer to recitatives than to interior monologues proper, create a wave-like atmosphere that is more akin to a prose poem than to a plot-centred novel.[23]

Flush: A Biography (1933) is a part-fiction, part-biography of the cocker spaniel owned by Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.   The book is written from the dog’s point of view.   Woolf was inspired to write this book from the success of theRudolf Besier play, The Barretts of Wimpole Street.   In the play, Flush is on stage for much of the action.   The play was produced for the first time in 1932 by actress Katharine Cornell.

Her last work, Between the Acts (1941), sums up and magnifies Woolf’s chief preoccupations: the transformation of life through art, sexual ambivalence, and meditation on the themes of flux of time and life, presented simultaneously as corrosion and rejuvenation—all set in a highly imaginative and symbolic narrative encompassing almost all of English history.   This book is the most lyrical of all her works, not only in feeling but in style, being chiefly written in verse.[24] While Woolf’s work can be understood as consistently in dialogue with Bloomsbury, particularly its tendency (informed by G.   E.   Moore, among others) towards doctrinaire rationalism, it is not a simple recapitulation of the coterie’s ideals.[25]

Woolf’s works have been translated into over 50 languages, by writers such as Jorge Luis Borges and Marguerite Yourcenar.

Attitudes toward Judaism, Christianity and fascism[edit]

Woolf was criticised by some as an antisemite, despite her being happily married to a Jewish man.   This antisemitism is drawn from the fact that she often wrote of Jewish characters in stereotypical archetypes and generalisations, including describing some of her Jewish characters as physically repulsive and dirty.[26] The overwhelming[citation needed] and rising 1920s and 1930s antisemitism possibly influenced Virginia Woolf.   She wrote in her diary: “I do not like the Jewish voice; I do not like the Jewish laugh.” However, in a 1930 letter to the composer Ethel Smyth, quoted in Nigel Nicolson’s biography Virginia Woolf, she recollects her boasts of Leonard’s Jewishness confirming her snobbish tendencies, “How I hated marrying a Jew- What a snob I was, for they have immense vitality.”[27]

In another letter to Smyth, Woolf gives a scathing denunciation of Christianity, seeing it as self-righteous “egotism” and stating “my Jew has more religion in one toe nail—more human love, in one hair.”[28]

Woolf and her husband Leonard hated and feared 1930s fascism with its antisemitism even before knowing they were on Hitler‘s blacklist.   Her 1938 book Three Guineas was an indictment of fascism.[19]


After completing the manuscript of her last (posthumously published) novel, Between the Acts, Woolf fell into a depression similar to that which she had earlier experienced.   The onset of World War II, the destruction of her London home during the Blitz, and the cool reception given to her biography of her late friend Roger Fry all worsened her condition until she was unable to work.[16] On 28 March 1941, Woolf put on her overcoat, filled its pockets with stones, walked into the River Ouse near her home, and drowned herself.   Woolf’s body was not found until 18 April 1941.[29]Her husband buried her cremated remains under an elm in the garden of Monk’s House, their home in Rodmell, Sussex.

In her last note to her husband she wrote:

Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again.   I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times.   And I shan’t recover this time.   I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate.   So I am doing what seems the best thing to do.   You have given me the greatest possible happiness.   You have been in every way all that anyone could be.   I don’t think two people could have been happier ’til this terrible disease came.   I can’t fight any longer.   I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work.   And you will I know.   You see I can’t even write this properly.   I can’t read.   What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you.   You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good.   I want to say that—everybody knows it.   If anybody could have saved me it would have been you.   Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness.   I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer.   I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.   V.[30][31]

Modern scholarship and interpretations[edit]

Virginia Woolf 1882–1941.   Stamp of Romania, 2007.

Though at least one biography of Virginia Woolf appeared in her lifetime, the first authoritative study of her life was published in 1972 by her nephew Quentin Bell.

Hermione Lee‘s 1996 biography Virginia Woolf provides a thorough and authoritative examination of Woolf’s life and work.

In 2001 Louise DeSalvo and Mitchell A.   Leaska edited The Letters of Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf.   Julia Briggs’s Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life, published in 2005, is the most recent examination of Woolf’s life.   It focuses on Woolf’s writing, including her novels and her commentary on the creative process, to illuminate her life.   Thomas Szasz‘s book My Madness Saved Me: The Madness and Marriage of Virginia Woolf (ISBN 0-7658-0321-6) was published in 2006.


Recently, studies of Virginia Woolf have focused on feminist and lesbian themes in her work, such as in the 1997 collection of critical essays, Virginia Woolf: Lesbian Readings, edited by Eileen Barrett and Patricia Cramer.

Woolf’s best-known nonfiction works, A Room of One’s Own (1929) and Three Guineas (1938), examine the difficulties that female writers and intellectuals face because men hold disproportionate legal and economic power and the future of women in education and society.   In The Second Sex (1949), Simone de Beauvoir counts, of all women who ever lived, only three female writers—Emily Brontë, Woolf and “sometimes” Katherine Mansfield—who have explored “the given”.[32]

Mental illness[edit]

Much scholarship has been made of Woolf’s mental illness, described as a “manic-depressive illness” in Thomas Caramagno‘s 1992 book, The Flight of the Mind: Virginia Woolf’s Art and Manic-Depressive Illness, in which he also warns against the “neurotic-genius” way of looking at mental illness, where people rationalise that creativity is somehow born of mental illness.[33] In two books by Stephen Trombley, Woolf is described as having a confrontational relationship with her doctors, and possibly being a woman who is a “victim of male medicine”, referring to the contemporary relative lack of understanding about mental illness.[34]

Irene Coates’s book Who’s Afraid of Leonard Woolf: A Case for the Sanity of Virginia Woolf holds that Leonard Woolf’s treatment of his wife encouraged her ill health and ultimately was responsible for her death.   Though extensively researched, this view is not accepted by Leonard’s family.Victoria Glendinning‘s book Leonard Woolf: A Biography argues that Leonard Woolf was not only supportive of his wife but enabled her to live as long as she did by providing her with the life and atmosphere she needed to live and write.   Virginia’s own diaries support this view of the Woolfs’ marriage.[35]

Controversially, Louise A.   DeSalvo reads most of Woolf’s life and career through the lens of the incestuous sexual abuse Woolf suffered as a young woman in her 1989 book Virginia Woolf: The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on her Life and Work.

Woolf’s fiction is also studied for its insight into shell shock, war, class and modern British society.


Woolf’s bust in Tavistock Square, London erected in 2004

Michael Cunningham’s 1998 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Hours focused on three generations of women affected by Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway.   In 2002, a film version of the novel was released starring Nicole Kidman as Woolf, a role for which she won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Actress.   The film also starred Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep and featured an award-winning score by American composer Philip Glass.   Susan Sellers’ novel Vanessa and Virginia (2008) explores the close sibling relationship between Woolf and her sister, Vanessa Bell.   It was adapted for the stage by Elizabeth Wright in 2010 and first performed by Moving Stories Theatre Company.


See also: Bibliography of Virginia Woolf

Jane Austen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Not to be confused with Jane G.   Austin.


Jane Austen

Portrait of Jane Austen, drawn by her sisterCassandra (c.   1810)
Born 16 December 1775
Steventon Rectory, Hampshire,England
Died 18 July 1817 (aged 41)
Winchester, Hampshire, England
Resting place Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, England
Period 1787 to 1809–11
Genres Romance




Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature.   Her realism, biting irony and social commentary have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics.[1]

Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry.[2] She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading.   The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer.[3] Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years into her thirties.   During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth.[B] From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816), she achieved success as a published writer.   She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it.

Austen’s works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism.[4][C] Her plots, though fundamentally comic,[5] highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security.[6] Her works, though usually popular, were first published anonymously and brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew’s A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer.   The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.





From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article needs additional citations for verification.   Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.   Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.   (September 2010)

Pemberley is the fictional country estate owned by Fitzwilliam Darcy, the male protagonist in Jane Austen‘s novel Pride and Prejudice.   It is located near the fictional town of Lambton, and believed by some to be based on Chatsworth House,[1] near Bakewell in Derbyshire.

In describing the estate, Austen uses uncharacteristically explicit symbolism to represent the geographical home of the man at the centre of the novel.   On first visiting the estate, Elizabeth Bennet is charmed by the beauty of the surrounding countryside, as indeed she is by Mr.   Darcy himself.   Elizabeth had already rejected Mr.   Darcy’s first proposal by the time she visits Pemberley — it is his letter, the praise of his housekeeper, and his own courteous behaviour at Pemberley that bring about a change in her opinion of Mr.   Darcy.



In Pride and Prejudice[edit]

They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound.   It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills;—and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance.   Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned.   Elizabeth was delighted.   She had never seen a place where nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste.   They were all of them warm in her admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something![2] Jane Austen (1813).


A sequel to Pride and Prejudice entitled Pemberley was written by Emma Tennant and published in 1993.

In other media[edit]



LECTURE TITLES at the Summer School

1.         Walking into plot: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

2.         Walking in London and beyond: Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend

3.         Walking and thinking: Virginia Woolf’s Night and Day

4.         Walking into tradition: Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines

5.         Walking into the past: Robert MacFarlane’s The Old Ways

Recommended reading The books above, in any editions.

Holmes, R. 2005. Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer. London: Harper Collins.

Minshull, D. Ed. 2000. The Vintage Book of Walking. London: Vintage.

Wallace, A. 1993. Walking, Literature and English Culture: The Origins and Uses of Peripatetic in the Nineteenth Century. Oxford: Clarendon Press.   –





 Night and Day (Woolf novel)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see Night and Day (disambiguation).

Night and Day

First edition cover

Author Virginia Woolf
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Novel
Publisher Duckworth
Publication date 20 October 1919
Media type Print
Pages 442 pp

Night and Day is a novel by Virginia Woolf first published on 20 October 1919. Set in Edwardian London, Night and Day contrasts the daily lives and romantic attachments of two acquaintances, Katharine Hilbery and Mary Datchet. The novel examines the relationships between love, marriage, happiness, and success.

Dialogue and descriptions of thought and actions are used in equal amount, unlike in Woolf’s later book, To the Lighthouse. There are four major characters, Katharine Hilbery, Mary Datchet, Ralph Denham, and William Rodney. Night and Daydeals with issues concerning women’s suffrage, if love and marriage can coexist, and if marriage is necessary for happiness. Motifs throughout the book includes the stars and sky, the River Thames, and walks. Also, Woolf makes many references to the works of William Shakespeare, especially As You Like It.






The Songlines

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the aboriginal mythology, see Songline. For other uses, see Songlines (disambiguation).

[hide]This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.
This article is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject(July 2010)


This article needs additional citations for verification(July 2010)


The Songlines

1st edition

Author Bruce Chatwin
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Fiction & Non-fiction
Publisher Franklin Press
Publication date 1986[1]
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)

The Songlines is a 1986 book written by Bruce Chatwin, combining fiction and non-fiction. Chatwin describes a trip to Australia which he has taken for the express purpose of researching Aboriginal song and its connections to nomadic travel. Discussions with Australians, many of them Indigenous Australians, yield insights into Outback culture, Aboriginal culture and religion, and the Aboriginal land rights movement.




In the book Chatwin develops his thesis about the primordial nature of Aboriginal song. The writing does not shy away from the actual condition of life for present day indigenous Australians, it does not present the songlines as a new-age fad but from an appreciation of the art and culture of the people for whom they are the keystone of the Real. While the book’s first half chronicles the main character’s travels through Outback Australia and his various encounters, the second half is dedicated to his musings on the nature of man as nomad and city builder.


The basic idea that Chatwin posits is that language started as song, and the aboriginal Dreamtime sings the land into existence. A key concept of aboriginal culture is that the aboriginals and the land are one. By singing the land, the land itself exists; you see the tree, the rock, the path, the land. What are we if not defined by our environment? And in one of the harshest environments on Earth one of our oldest civilizations became literally as one with the country. This central concept then branches out from Aboriginal culture, as Chatwin combines evidence gained there with preconceived ideas on the early evolution of man, and argues that on the African Savannah we were a migratory species, moving solely on foot, hunted by a dominant brute predator in the form of a big cat: hence the spreading of “songlines” across the globe, eventually reaching Australia (Chatwin notes their trajectory generally moves from north-east to south-west) where they are now preserved in the world’s oldest living culture.


Sometimes defined as a travelogue, the text has been criticised for being masculist, colonialist, simplistic and unreliable as both a source on European Australians and Aboriginal culture. Other critics have praised it, and Chatwin in the book is vehemently opposed to the image of the inferiority of the Aboriginals; others also see the author as a proponent of postmodern writing, challenging traditional forms of linear narrative.[citation needed]




Robert Macfarlane (travel writer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Robert Macfarlane, (born Halam, Nottinghamshire,[1] 15 August 1976), is a British travel writer. He was educated at Nottingham High SchoolPembroke College, Cambridge, and Magdalen College, Oxford. He began his PhD at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 2000, and in 2001 was elected a Fellow of the College.




Macfarlane’s first book, Mountains of the Mind, was published in 2003 and won the Guardian First Book Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. It was shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. It is an account of the development of Western attitudes to mountains and precipitous landscapes, and takes its title from a line by the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. Macfarlane’s book combines history with first-person narrative. He considers why people are drawn to mountains despite their obvious dangers, and examines the powerful and sometimes fatal hold that mountains can come to have over the imagination. The book’s heroes include the mountaineer George Mallory, and its influences include the writing of Simon Schama and Francis Spufford[2]

Macfarlane’s second book was Original Copy: Plagiarism and Originality in Nineteenth-Century Literature, which was published in March 2007. Exploring the difference between creation and invention, the book surveys the “borrowedness” of much Victorian literature, focusing on the writings ofGeorge EliotWalter Pater and Oscar Wilde, among others.[3]

His third book The Wild Places was published in September 2007. In it he embarks on a series of journeys in search of the wildness that remains in Britain and Ireland .[4] The book explores wildness both geographically and intellectually, testing different ideas of the wild against different landscapes, and describes Macfarlane’s explorations of forests, moors, salt marshes, mudflats, islands, sea-caves and city fringes. A condensed version of the book was broadcast as Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4 in September 2007.[5] In November 2007, the book won the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature, and in June 2008 it won the Scottish Arts Council Non-Fiction Book Of The Year Award. In November 2008, it was joint winner of the Grand Prize at the Banff Mountain Festival, North America’s equivalent of the Boardman Tasker Prize.[6] It became a bestseller in Britain and The Netherlands, and went on to be shortlisted for six further prizes, including the Dolman Best Travel Book Award, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and North America’s Orion Book Award, a prize founded “to recognize books that deepen our connection to the natural world, present new ideas about our relationship with nature, and achieve excellence in writing.” [7]

The Old Ways: A Journey On Foot,

the third in the ‘loose trilogy of books about landscape and the human heart’ begun by Mountains of the Mind and The Wild Places, was published in June 2012 by Hamish Hamilton/Penguin UK, and in October 2012 by Viking/Penguin US. It was acclaimed as a ‘tour de force’ by William Dalrymple in the Observer.[8] The book describes the years Macfarlane spent following ‘old ways’ (pilgrimage paths, sea-roads, prehistoric trackways, ancient rights of way) in south-east England, north-west Scotland, Spain, Sichuan and Palestine. Its guiding spirit is the early twentieth century writer and poet, Edward Thomas, and its chief subject is the reciprocal shaping of people and place.

The Old Ways entered the Sunday Times Bestseller Chart for non-fiction at number three, and stayed in the top ten for 12 weeks. It was chosen 18 times as a Book of the Year for 2012, including by John Banville, [9] Philip Pullman,[10] Jan Morris, John Gray, Antony Beevor, and Dan Stevens. In the UK it was shortlisted for The Samuel Johnson Prize (the ‘non-fiction Booker’), [11] the Duff-Cooper Prize for Non-Fiction and the Waterstones Book of the Year Award.[12] In the US it was shortlisted for the Orion Book Award. An abridged version was broadcast as Book of the Week on Radio 4 in June 2012.

Macfarlane is presently writing Landmarks, a book of essays about language and place; and Underland, an exploration of subterranean worlds and cultures, which includes among its subjects limestone, claustrophobia, the baroque, cataphilia and urban exploration.


Macfarlane is seen as the inheritor of a tradition of nature writing which includes John MuirRichard Jefferies and Edward Thomas, as well as contemporary figures such as John McPheeBarry Lopez and Roger Deakin. He is generally grouped with a number of recent British writers who have provoked a new critical and popular interest in writing about landscape.[13]

Macfarlane’s interests in topography, ecology and the environment have been transmitted through his books but also through newspaper and magazine essays, notably his Common Ground series which was published in The Guardian in 2005.[14] He has also published many reportage and travel essays in magazines, especially Granta and Archipelago, as well as numerous introductory essays to re-issues of lost and neglected classics of landscape and nature writing from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

In 2004 Macfarlane sat on the panel of judges for the Man Booker Prize, which selected Alan Hollinghurst‘s The Line of Beauty as that year’s winner, and in 2005 he guest-edited and introduced The Mays anthology of new writing. In November 2012, he was named as chair of the judges for the 2013 Man Booker Prize.[15]

Macfarlane presented “The Wild Places of Essex”, an episode of the BBC Two Natural World series broadcast in February, 2010; the film later won a Wildscreen Award.[16] He is the patron of the Outdoor Swimming Society, the Outlandia Project and Gateway To Nature, a Lottery-funded mental-health initiative designed to improve access to nature for vulnerable groups and individuals. In 2011 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.


The paperback cover of The Old Ways was designed by the artist Stanley Donwood, known for his close association with the band Radiohead. Macfarlane also collaborated with Donwood and writer Dan Richards on Holloway, published in an edition of 277 by Quive-Smith Press in 2012,[17]and a trade edition by Faber & Faber in May 2013.

In June 2012, Macfarlane wrote the libretto to a ‘jazz opera’ called Untrue Island, composed by the double-bassist Arnie Somogyi, and performed in a former nuclear weapons storage site on Orford Ness in Suffolk. [18]

He also worked with the natural history sound-recordist Chris Watson to produce a performance of ‘Sea-Road’, released on vinyl by Rivertones/CBTR.[19]

The chapter of The Old Ways entitled ‘Silt’, describing a walk along the off-shore tidal path known as The Broomway, was in March 2013 published as a stand-alone micro e-book. It was also the subject of an exhibition of photographs by David Quentin, and two sound-works (‘Silt’ and ‘The Grey Sink’) by The Pale Horse, released on vinyl by Brainlove Records.[20]


Published by Graham Giles

Cape History and history of families of Louw, Muller, Bowker, Giles

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