Futures Forum: Literature and Landscape in East Devon: book launch: Friday 12th December ... The West Country is 'the third best place to visit in Europe'
Last week's Times Literary Supplement reviewed the book:
TLS REVIEW OF PETER NASMYTH’S BOOK
LITERATURE AND LANDSCAPE IN EAST DEVON
160pp. MTA Publications. Paperback, £15.99
Visiting Sidmouth for the BBC in 1949 John Betjeman remarked, “A silver mist hung over Sidmouth when I came into it. A silver mist was over it when I went away”. Peter Nasmyth’s Literature and Landscape in East Devon is thick with Devon’s silver mist. Produced in association with East Devon Alliance, the book, as befits its subject, is large, eccentric, utterly beautiful… It’s as though the pages are alive with Devon pixies, dashing among the shadows and flashing their eyes.
Nasmyth writes the kind of delightful, delighting prose that one associates with another era – glad and gleeful prose which occasionally throws up the most extraordinary insights. Writing about Coleridge’s childhood in Devon, for example, Nasmyth writes about the ways in which the River Otter “cut a profound psychological mark into his character”. The cutting of the river into Coleridge’s consciousness captures exactly the outrageous edge of his vast Devonian imagination. “Looking out across East Devon’s undulating green hills and open fields that lead to a sparkling expanse of sea”, Nasmyth writes, “is a feeling in itself” – and indeed it is.
The book is a treasury of just such remarks and information…We see, too, how Sidmouth is paraded and disguised in literature: it is, variously, apparently, Thackeray’s Baymouth, Beatrix Potter’s Stymouth, William Trevor’s Dynmouth, Thomas Hardy’s Idmouth, and Jane Austen’s Sanditon.
Nasmyth’s most unexpected discovery in the book, however, is John Fowles’s home on the Undercliff, that strange area of landslip on the Dorset-Devon border, where Fowles famously wrote The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Peering inside his writing shed, Nasmyth discovers fresh signs of slippage and subsidence: “the large, plate-glass window had just, a couple of days earlier, received a long crack, from one side to the other”. Even Jurassic East Devon, it seems, is always in the process of change… Visit now, before it is too late.
IAN SAMSON , The Times Literary Supplement 27 May 2015
TLS review of Peter Nasmyth’s book | East Devon Watch
The Times Literary Supplement | TLS
And here is more from the EDA:
Literature and Landscape in East Devon | East Devon Alliance