How could our varied and extensive landscape, ranging from the horizontal sweeps of the limestone White Peak to the brackish tan of Bleaklow’s moorland not inspire generations of writers and poets? The connections between landscape and writing was explored in a recent talk by Ann Beedham as part of the Sheffield Library Festival. Readers familiar with the Peak District will know of Charlotte Bronte’s visit to her friend Ellen Nussey in Hathersage and the probable inspiration of nearby North Lees Hall for Thornfield Hall ( North- reformulation of Thorn, Lea meaning field). Probably less well known is the Romantic poet Anna Seward, known as ‘The Swan of Litchfield’ or the early 20th century novelist Edith Hull, whose novel ‘The Sheik’ was filmed, guaranteeing lifelong heartthrob status for Rudolph Valentino. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired by the Castleton caverns to write ‘The Terror of Blue John Cavern’, while Edward Carpenter’s home at Millthorpe, near Holmesfield, was visited by many writers of his day, including E.M. Forster, whose visit to Carpenter and his partner George Merrill touched a ‘creative spring’ within him which led to the writing of ‘Maurice’. These and other literary characters and their works were brought to us by Ann with wit, humour and selected readings, many thanks.
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