You see your town, your country, differently when great artists have written about it. It “thickens” the landscape with reference and insight. A new British TV series sounds rich with possibility: Travels in Written Britain — “the most scrawled over, word-worked, scribbled and scripted on” country in the world, according to host Melvyn Bragg. But it won’t be just Wordsworth on the Lake District and Dickens in London — not just “nostalgic heritage Britain,” as Bragg says, not just the testimony of great artists:
“I have worked in the pits since I was six years old, I have four children, two of them were born while I worked in the pit. I worked in the pits when I was in the family way. I had a child born in the pits, and I brought it up the pit shaft in my skirt.”
Betty Wandle (Miner), 1841 “
In case the show never makes the trans-Atlantic crossing, you can see the preview for it here.