Arts & Culture
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Historical Somerset authors
With its stunning scenary, the county has inspired many authors over the years. Here's just a few of them.
Arthur C Clarke
Born in Minehead in 1917 and educated at Huish's Grammar School in Taunton, author and inventor Arthur C Clarke is most famous for his science fiction novel 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Born in Wells in 1900, Elizabeth is most known for The Little White Horse, a book Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has said was one of her favourites growing up.
The television series Moonacre was based on this story, and in 1948, the film based on her book Green Dolphin County won an Oscar for Special Effects.
Born in 1903, novelist Evelyn Waugh lived in Combe Florey towards the latter part of his life. Best known for satirical novels such as Decline and Fall, Scoop and A Handful of Dust, as well as his more serious works of Brideshead Revisited and the Sword of Honour Trilogy. Vile Bodies was adapted into the film Bright Young Things by Stephen Fry in 2003.
Fay Weldon CBE (born 22 September 1931) has written works associated with feminism. Fay lived in Pilton for numerous years with her ex-husband Ron. Although she preferred London (she called the area "airhead county"), Somerset, in particular Glastonbury with all its tales of UFOs, key lines and new age therapy, fascinated her. In fact, the county featured in Puffball (1980), The Heart of the Country (1987), and Big Women (1997) books.
Born in Sharpham Park near Walton in 1707, the author Henry Fielding's best-known work is the novel Tom Jones.
Aside from his literary achievements, he is believed to have founded what some have said was London's first police force, the Bow Street Runners.
Author of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park and many other novels, Jane Austen's work is considered to be part of the Western canon. She lived in Bath from 1801 to 1806, and two of her novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, are largely set in Bath.
Sir Michael Holroyd
Sir Michael is a biographer who lives with his wife Dame Margaret Drabble in Somerset.
As well as writing several books, he acted as the chairman of The Society of Authors from 1973-73 and was President of English PEN from 1985 to 1988. He is the current President of the Royal Society of Literature.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
One of the country's most respected poets, Samuel lived in Nether Stowey from 1797 to 1799 where he wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and - together with William Wordsworth who in 1798 took up residence nearby at Alfoxden House near Holford - the Lyrical Ballads.
St Michael's Church in East Coker
The poet was buried in East Coker after his death in 1965. Although he was American and did not live in the county, he chose to have his ashes taken to St Michael's Church as this was the village his ancestors emigrated from. There is a simple plaque there commemorating him with the lines of his poem 'East Coker': "In my beginning is my end. In my end is my beginning."
last updated: 11/03/2009 at 12:44
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