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New Book | Writing Britain’s Ruins

Posted in books by Editor on November 12, 2017

Michael Carter,‎ Peter Lindfield, and Dale Townshend, eds., Writing Britain’s Ruins (London: British Library Publishing, 2017), 240 pages, ISBN: 978 07123 09783, £30.

Over the course of the long eighteenth century, Britain’s ruined medieval or ‘Gothic’ abbeys, castles, and towers became the objects of intense cultural interest. Turning their attention away from Classical to local and national sites of architectural ruin, antiquaries and topographers began to scrutinise and sketch, record, and describe the material remains of the British past, an expression of interest in domestic antiquity that was shared by many contemporary painters, poets, writers, politicians, and tourists. This book traces the ways in which a selection of English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish ruins served as the objects of continuous cultural reflection between 1700 and 1850, drawing together essays on the antiquarian, poetic, visual, oral, fictional, dramatic, political, legal, and touristic responses that they engendered. Writing Britain’s Ruins provides an accessible and engaging interdisciplinary account of the ways in which Britain’s ruins inspired writers, artists, and thinkers during a period of extraordinary cultural richness.

Michael Carter is Senior Properties Historian at English Heritage. Peter N. Lindfield is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow based at the University of Stirling. Dale Townshend is Professor of Gothic Literature in the Centre for Gothic Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University.

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