Ever been a bit short of cash? If so, consider getting together with a close friend and revolutionising poetry. It worked for Wordsworth and Coleridge.
The Lyrical Ballads were knocked up to fund a holiday in Germany. Poets have never been known for their financial prowess, but this pair seem to have hit on a winning formula. They were unknown at the time but pretty savy in the growing romantic movement. The financial partnership was just a means to an end and when they got to Germany they split up. Creative differences led to Coleridge staying on to soak up German philosophy, while Wordsworth came to a deeper appreciation of the English countryside and returned home to write poems about it. Continue reading →
During the 2017 General Election I happened to be driving through Hastings, a town I know well and lived in for a few years. I was surprised to see a large group of Labour canvassers out in a fairly Tory part of the town. Hastings has gone Labour in the past but it was far from being an obvious target. I concluded that the folk I saw were enthusiastic but perhaps a little too optimistic. After all the media was assuring us that far from picking up places like Hastings Labour was on course to lose out badly. In fact one union leader set the bar pretty low by saying that if Labour only lost 20 seats it would be an acceptable result. Continue reading →
Thurston Hopkins became famous in the forties and fifties as a photographer on the Picture Post. But I can confirm that before this in 1928 he was the author of a small guide book to Sussex. It has to be said that he was better at taking pictures than writing.
But he is good if slightly irritating company in this book describing his travels around Sussex. The nineteen twenties were the only time a book like this could have been written. The car and the railways enabled him to get to most of the county easily enough but they weren’t yet advanced enough for Sussex to become London’s backyard. Sussex would soon become first an extension of Bloomsbury and then a dormitory which it is still today. But it was still a largely rural environment at the time this book was written. Continue reading →
Although Roman influence in Britain ended before it did in Gaul, Gibbon chooses to place it in the narrative afterwards. You can see why. The situation in Gaul steadily evolved and are developed. It’s very much part of the story of the fall of the Western Empire. What happened in Britain seems to be a very different story indeed, it does feel very much like a footnote to the rest of the book. Continue reading →
The country the Pilgrim Fathers left for America from in 1620 was England. Britain was purely a geographical expression, and not a particularly widely used one. The United Kingdom of Great Britain came into existence in 1707 when the two states officially united. Americans have continued to call the result England to this day. Continue reading →