Shropshire's literary connections
Living in a county as scenic as Shropshire, you will not be surprised to find that our beautiful patch of England has been the inspiration to many great writers and has a remarkably rich literary heritage.
Some of nation's greatest writers, such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, have used Shropshire to symbolise rural isolation and tranquillity.
Novelists, poets and dramatists, religious writers, travel writers and folklorists have all been inspired by Shropshire. From A.E.Housman to D.H Lawrence, you will find places in Shropshire cropping up in many famous author's work.
A.E. Housman (1859 - 1936)
Housman's evocation of the county is romantic and idealised and he makes great play on the sounds of place-names,
"Clunbury, Clunton, Clungunford and Clun,
He name-drops with little regard for topographical accuracy. Literary pilgrims will never find "the vane on Hughley steeple" it has a tower, and Housman was describing a different church anyway!
But somehow this does not seem to matter. Housman's idyllic world lives on in our hearts. He is buried in the graveyard of St Lawrence's Church in Ludlow.
Daniel Defoe (1660-1731)
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
George Farquhar (1678-1707)
George Farquhar was an army officer, Farquhar made many trips to the county to enlist new men for the regiments and immortalised his experiences in "The Recruiting Officer", which he dedicated to "all friends round the Wrekin".
Randolph Caldecott Malcolm Saville (1901-1982)
Author of the much-loved "Lone Pine" series is amongst many contemporary children's writers from this area including Ivan Jones, Dorothy McNeith, Anne Turnbull, Pauline Fik and Sheena Porter, whose "Nordy Band" won the Carnegie medal in 1964.
As for novelists, Stanley Weyman, Mary Cholmondeley, Stella Benson and Barbara Pym are, perhaps, all overshadowed by Mary Webb (1881-1927), who was born at Leighton. During her lifetime she achieved some reputation, but only became a best-seller after her death. Her novels, all founded in the reality of a life-long acquaintance with Shropshire, will strike a chord with anyone who knows and loves the county.
Born in Dawley, Edith Pargeter, writing as Ellis Peters, has become world-renowned for her creation "Brother Cadfael", the medieval sleuth. The books have initiated tours, tourist attractions and a television series.
Wilfred Owen (1893-1918),
Wilfred Owen who was born at Plas Wilmot, Oswestry, Shropshire can boast the finest war poet of his generation. He spent his teenage years in Shrewsbury, joining the Artist's Rifles in 1915. The horrors of trench warfare, which he experience in the Somme offensive of 1916 produced poems of the highest quality, "Dulce et Decorum Est", "Strange Meeting" and "Anthem for Doomed Youth". Owen was killed in action, just one week before the Armistice.
last updated: 15/05/2008 at 12:35
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites