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Distributed for Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Writing the Thames

From Arthur Conan Doyle to Charles Dickens, Colin Dexter to Kenneth Grahame, writers and artists have often taken inspiration from the Thames. Gathering poetry, artwork, and short excerpts from longer prose, Writing the Thames includes chapters on topics that dominate in literary and artistic depictions of the Thames, from historical events like Julius Caeser’s crossing in 55 BCE and Elizabeth I’s stand against the Spanish at Tilbury to the explorations of the topographers who mapped and drew the river to the many authors, including Thomas More, Francis Bacon, William Morris, and Henry James, who enjoyed riverside retreats. A chapter on boats features the frenetic rowers from Zuleika Dobson, a camping tale from Three Men in a Boat, and the story of William Hogarth’s impulsive five-day trip down the river with four inebriated friends. Some of the best-loved children’s literature has also been inspired by the Thames, including The Wind in the Willows.

Beautifully illustrated with seventy full-color illustrations, this book tells the river’s remarkable story through art, poetry, and prose, while celebrating the writers who helped form its enduring legacy.

288 pages | 70 color plates | 6 x 9 | © 2016

Literature and Literary Criticism: British and Irish Literature


Reviews

"From source to sea, [Hardyment's] tour navigates the literature inspired by the river: topographical books, natural histories, books by boatmen, guides for tourists, pastoral celebrations, and a survey of literary drownings.'"
 

Sunday Telegraph

"Hardyment has cast her net wide. Writing the Thames, [is] a zestful compilation with commentary. . . . Hardyment’s last word is a generous tribute to Peter Ackroyd’s vast survey, Thames: Sacred River. More manageable and less mystical, Writing the Thames lies far upstream of that swollen torrent of a book, in calm and sparkling waters."
 

Financial Times

"An attractive book on an attractive subject."

Country Life

Table of Contents

Introduction
One
Liquid History
Two
                Topographers and Tourists
Three
                Writer’s Retreats
Four
                Messing about in Boats
Five
                Naturalists on the Thames
Six
                Dead in the Water
Seven
                Rhyming the River
Eight
                Writing the Thames Today
Notes
Further Reading
Acknowledgements
Index
 
 

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