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Exploring England’s Literary Heritage Skip intro.

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1 Exploring England’s Literary Heritage Skip intro

2 Skip intro England has a longstanding literary
tradition, beginning in the early Middle Ages (with works such as Beowulf and Caedmon’s Hymn) and spanning the subsequent centuries. As a comparatively small island nation, England has given the world countless authors, poets, and well-loved literary works that are revered as classics and continue to inspire people the world over. Most notably, English writers left their mark on such artistic movements as romanticism and social realism during the Victorian era (named after the reigning English monarch, Queen Victoria). The literary movement has not stagnated since, but has moved fluidly into the modernism that grew out of Victorian romanticism and beyond, surviving two world wars and continuing to the present, as strong as ever. Skip intro

3 While English literature technically
includes all literary works written in the English language, regardless of the author’s nationality or native language, this study will focus only on authors who were born in England and who helped foster and encourage the glorious literary heritage of their homeland. Though it is nearly an impossible task to highlight a mere handful out of the many talented and noteworthy writers, special emphasis will be given to the Elizabethan era, the Regency era, and the Victorian era. Authors whose lives and works embody the ideals and notions of their respective eras will be examined, and locations of literary importance that can still be visited today will be included. To continue exploring England’s literary heritage, please read on.

4 Main Menu William Shakespeare Geoffrey Chaucer Jane Austen The Brontës
Quit Main Menu Site Map Resources William Shakespeare Geoffrey Chaucer Jane Austen The Brontës

5 Jane Austen Main Menu Quit The youngest of eight children, Jane Austen
was born on December 16, 1775, at Steventon Rectory, in Hampshire, England. After a bout of typhus, which nearly killed young Jane, she was educated at home. She expanded her horizons with books from the library of her father, a rector who served Anglican parishes. As a child, she wrote chiefly to amuse her family; but in 1811, she became a published author when Sense and Sensibility was released in October. It was a success, and she went on to publish Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey. Jane is a highly skilled satirist whose novels paint vivid portraits of the lives of the landed gentry of her time. By using subtlety and wit, she examines the motives that urge people to act, making each of her novels highly clever social commentaries. Though her delightful, wicked sense of humor shines through, her novels remain optimistic in tone, and each one boasts a well-deserved happy ending. Though she penned six of the most beloved romances in English literature, Jane herself never married. Main Menu

6 Chawton House Main Menu Quit Chawton House was offered to Jane,
her sister Cassandra, and their mother by Jane’s older brother, Edward, who owned the surrounding property. It was a welcome turn of events for the Austen women, who were then able to live quietly and within their means. Jane was able to devote the bulk of her time to writing, and her mature writing was completed here. Today it is a museum, and visitors are encouraged to stop by during normal hours of operation (which vary according to season and are listed on their website). The museum contains many items of interest, such as the Austen family’s furniture, Jane’s writing table and jewelry, her manuscript letters, and many of her music books (Jane was an avid pianist, and many of the books contain her handwriting). Main Menu

7 Chatsworth House Main Menu Quit Chatsworth House is an estate in
Derbyshire, England, long thought to be the inspiration for Mr. Darcy’s ancestral seat in Pride and Prejudice, Pemberley. In the novel, the heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, says she believes her feelings toward Mr. Darcy began to change when she visited his home, and it’s not hard to understand why. The estate is beautifully preserved. In actuality, Chatsworth House is the seat of the Duke of Devonshire, and has belonged to his family (the Cavendish family), since Visitors are welcome during normal operational hours, which are listed on the website. Main Menu

8 The Brontës Main Menu Quit Of the six children born to Rev. Patrick
Brontë and his wife, only four survived to adulthood. Of the four (who were all artists), two are best known in the literary world – Charlotte, who wrote Jane Eyre, and Emily, who wrote Wuthering Heights. Both novels were published in 1847, and although they each shocked Victorian society for different reasons, they were largely successful and have earned a well-deserved place among England’s finest literary works. Both sisters weaved social realism and gorgeous elements of poetry into their prose, creating a writing style uniquely their own. The sisters lived a quiet life on the Yorkshire moors, a wild, tempestuous place in northern England. They were highly educated and had each served as governesses in addition to publishing poetry and their novels. Emily, whose health had always been delicate, never married and died at the age of thirty. Charlotte outlived all her siblings, and entered a happy marriage in 1854, but died one year later, at age thirty-nine. Main Menu

9 Haworth Parsonage Main Menu Quit Haworth Parsonage in West
Yorkshire is where the Brontë family lived. No English literary journey would be complete without visiting this house, where the sisters lived and worked on their legendary classics. The parsonage is surrounded by rich, lush, expansive moorland. This atmosphere is essential to understanding the Brontë siblings’ wild, vivid imaginations, and the strong sense of nature that always found its way into their novels. How beautiful the moors are…and how vast. How exquisite it is…and how lonely. This sense of beauty and solitude had a profound impact on the Brontës’ art. The parsonage is open to the public and contains many artifacts, including the family’s original furniture. Main Menu

10 Top Withens Main Menu Quit Top Withens is a ruined
farmhouse near the Brontë Parsonage, within walking distance. It is said to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights, the home of the Earnshaw family in Emily’s novel of the same name. The Brontë Society has placed a plaque outside the farmhouse walls, and the path to Top Withens contains footpath signs, some of which are in Japanese as well as English. Main Menu

11 William Shakespeare Main Menu Quit
Although his birthdate is unknown, William Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564. He was the third child of eight and the eldest surviving son. He was educated in the classics and Latin grammar. It is not known when exactly he began to write, but by 1592, his plays were on the London stage, and he had received acclaim as a playwright. The very name of Shakespeare is synonymous with literary genius. It is hard to think of the man without immediately thinking of his plays – the comedies, such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, and Twelfth Night; and the tragedies, such as Hamlet, Othello, and Macbeth. In addition to being a playwright, Shakespeare was a highly talented poet, and his Sonnets (published in 1609) – all 154 of them – set the bar for all subsequent sonnets. It was in his sonnets, which were the last of his published works, that Wordsworth believed “Shakespeare unlocked his heart.” Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, and was survived by his wife and their two daughters. Main Menu

12 Globe Theatre Main Menu Quit
Built in 1599 by Shakespeare’s theatre company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the Globe Theatre in London has always been associated with Shakespeare’s work. Although a fire destroyed it on June 29, 1613, it was restored. In 1997, a modern reconstruction of the theatre was built very near the original theatre, and it is still functional to this day. Audiences may gather for a historic literary experience like no other – watching the plays as Shakespeare himself would have seen them! Special events – including educational and cultural events – are hosted by the Globe Theatre, in addition to their productions of Shakespeare’s plays. Details can be found at their website. Main Menu

13 Shakespeare’s Birthplace
Quit Shakespeare’s Birthplace On Henley Street, in the town of Stratford-Upon-Avon, in Warwickshire, England, one can visit the sixteenth century half-timbered house in which William Shakespeare was born. Shakespeare’s father, John Shakespeare, was a glove maker and wool dealer, and the house would have been considered substantial by sixteenth century standards, as it was designed to allow the elder Shakespeare to both live and work in the same dwelling. Today is it a museum available to visitors and literature lovers around the world who wish to see out the home of one who was not only a brilliant playwright but an inspired poet. To learn more about some of England’s other poets, please click on the names below. Lord Byron John Keats William Wordsworth Main Menu

14 John Keats Main Menu Poetry Sub-Menu Quit
Born on October 31, 1795, John Keats is one of England’s best-loved and most tragic poets. He was just twenty-five when he died of tuberculosis, leaving behind his fiancee, Fanny Brawne, and friends who mourned him deeply. Despite the fact that he became a published author only four years before his death, Keats was an influential figure in England’s second movement of Romanticism. His poetry is exceptionally beautiful, as Keats painted vivid images with his words. He is buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome – at his request, in an unnamed grave which bears the inscription, “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.” Main Menu Poetry Sub-Menu

15 Keats House Main Menu Poetry Sub-Menu Quit
Located in Keats Grove, Hampstead, north London, the Keats House underwent restoration and re-opened on July 24, Keats’ immortal poem, “Ode to a Nightingale,” was written underneath a plum tree in this garden. Main Menu Poetry Sub-Menu

16 Brompton Cemetery Main Menu Poetry Sub-Menu Quit
Many noteworthy Keats locations are not, in fact, in England. Keats himself is buried in Italy; the house where he spent his last days is in Rome; the Keats-Shelley Museum is likewise in Rome. The largest collections of his letters, manuscripts, and papers is at Harvard University. But his beloved Fanny is buried at Brompton Cemetery, near Earl’s Court, in southwest London, and one feels certain that this is an important place for any Keats scholar. If Keats is buried in Italy, surely his heart is buried here. Main Menu Poetry Sub-Menu

17 William Wordsworth Main Menu Poetry Sub-Menu Quit
The second of five children, William Wordsworth was born on April 7, He served as England’s Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in He helped initiate Romanticism in England with the 1798 publication of Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth was hugely influenced by nature (as is evident in one of his most famous poems, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”) and spent many years living in England’s beautiful Lake District. Wordsworth married his childhood friend Mary Hutchinson, and the two had five children. He also had a daughter, Caroline, from an earlier liaison with Annette Vallon, a woman he met whilst visiting France during the Revolution. A case of pleurisy claimed his life on April 23, 1850, and Wordsworth is buried at St. Oswald’s church in Grasmere. Main Menu Poetry Sub-Menu

18 Wordsworth House Main Menu Poetry Sub-Menu Quit
Wordsworth House is a Georgian townhome located in Cockermouth, Cumbria, England. It is the home wherein Wordsworth was born. Cumbria was affected by flooding in November 2009, and Wordsworth House was one of the many historic houses in the area that were hit. Fortunately, many of the historical artifacts were moved to dry areas. The house is open to the public from March to October. Main Menu Poetry Sub-Menu

19 Dove Cottage Main Menu Poetry Sub-Menu Quit
Nestled in the heart of England’s picturesque Lake District is Dove Cottage, the house where Wordsworth lived with his sister, Dorothy, and his wife, Mary. The extensive, beautiful gardens surrounding the house were designed by Wordsworth himself. The house is still owned by Wordsworth’s family, but certain rooms are open to the public, and all visitors are offered a guided tour. Main Menu Poetry Sub-Menu

20 Resources Main Menu Quit Wordsworth Trust Keats House
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Brontë Society Globe Theatre Chawton House Chatsworth House Jane Austen Society Wordsworth House London Library British Museum Main Menu

21 Main Menu Quit Exploring England’s Literary Heritage Intro Page One
Intro Page Two Main Menu Jane Austen Biography Chawton House Chatsworth House The Brontës BrontëParsonage Top Withens William Shakespeare Globe Theatre Shakespeare Birthplace Poetry Submenu John Keats Keats House Brompton Cemetery William Wordsworth Wordsworth House Dove Cottage Lord Byron Geoffrey Chaucer Resources Quit Main Menu

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