steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Gift Ideas for Book Lovers

I like the idea of a map of literary Britain to hang on the wall, though this one may have the potential to start fights as much as conversations.

Actually, I was going to nit-pick, but as I look at it more carefully, I appreciate the fact that the designer hasn't gone for the obvious in every case. Oliver Postgate squats over West Sussex, for example, shoving both Henry James and Lee Harwood west into the dockyards of east Hampshire, where I'm sure they'll find much to entertain them. I'm pleased there are so many writers from outside English Literature, too. It's interesting to see Alan Garner apotheosized as the god of Mersey, and Susan Cooper perched (if more modestly) on the Chilterns - very approximately. I'm not sure whether Margery Kempe quite deserves the whole coast of Norfolk, but I'm sure she'll make a very good flood defence (and if Kempe fails, why we still have Fanny Burney). Dorothy Richardson taking up the whole of north Cornwall, though? Twenty thousand Mary Butts fans (if there are in fact that many) will know the reason why! Oddly, Bram Stoker is offshore from Whitby, perhaps standing in for Dogger Bank, or maybe just the good ship Demeter.

London, in the map as in reality, is congested, meaning that some writers have had to be exported. John Keats in the Isle of Wight, for example? It's a bit of a stretch: as far as I know he only spent a few weeks there. Tennyson would have been the obvious candidate, but of course he's already been bagged by Lincoln.

As a child of Hampshire, I do feel that we've been a bit left out. Our own Jane Austen, for example, has been moved to Bath, while east Hampshire has been given over to James and Harwood, and the rest is taken up by Mary Wortley Montagu and Aphra Behn, neither of whom has any connection to the area that I'm aware of.
Tags: books
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